The Employment Law Show

Employment Law Red Flags Part 2 | Employment Law Show TV – S6 E15

Episode Summary

EMPLOYMENT LAW RED FLAGS #2, fired for filing a harassment complaint, offered a promotion, and more on Season 6 Episode 15 of the Employment Law Show with employment lawyer Lior Samfiru, Partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Watch above to discover your workplace rights and learn everything you need to know about employment law in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, on the only employment law show on both TV and radio in Canada.

Episode Notes

An employee working remotely let go due to vaccination policy

I have been working from home even before the pandemic. Recently, my employer implemented a vaccination policy in the workplace. As I was unvaccinated I was let go. What are my rights?

  • Let go due to vaccination policy: Employees in many cases have been let go or penalized due to their vaccination status. While employers should implement health and safety policies while bearing in mind the practicality of these policies, many have chosen to terminate unvaccinated employees. Employees who have been let go due to their vaccination status are owed severance pay unless there is a government mandate in place.

Let go immediately due to access to client information

I gave my employer one month’s notice before taking a new job. But, because I had access to client information, they decided to let me go immediately with only 2 weeks’ pay. Should I have been paid for the full month?

  • Terminated before the end of the notice period: Employees should try and provide their employer with notice before resigning. Employees that have been let go before the end of their notice period have now been terminated and would be owed severance pay. Resignation must be voluntary and cannot be pressured by an employer.

Fired for voicing harassment complaints

My coworkers started harassing me a couple of months into a new job with a large construction company. When the derogatory comments began escalating, I informed my supervisor. His solution was to fire me. What can I do?

  • Harassed at the workplace: Employers have to take harassment allegations seriously and are obligated to investigate complaints and resolve the situation. Employers that ignore harassment complaints can lead to constructive dismissal and potential human rights violations. Employees who have been enticed to leave a previous position upon termination from their new job could be owed additional and enhanced severance pay. Employees who have been recruited to a new company could be owed severance for previous years of employment at a previous job.

Employment Law Red Flags #2

  • Pay or hours have been significantly reduced by an employer: Employees who have had their pay significantly reduced should not ignore or blindly accept the reduction in compensation. Employers do not have the right to change a fundamental term of employment, such as a reduction in pay, change in schedule, etc. Employees that accept an initial change have given their employer permission to impose changes in the future.
  • A performance improvement plan: A performance improvement plan can be a legitimate means to help an employee improve their productivity. Employees who have been put on a plan but do not agree with the plan should voice their disapproval in writing. Employees who accept a plan which they believe to be inaccurate will have difficulty pursuing their rights upon termination.
  • An employer does not heed complaints of harassment: Employers must provide a healthy and safe work environment for all staff. A refusal to investigate and resolve complaints of harassment could lead to human rights damages and constructive dismissal for employers and employees. Employees should voice their concerns with the appropriate parties within their workplace first. Employees who feel their concerns are not being addressed should contact an employment lawyer.
  • Encouraged to sign a new detailed employment contract: Employees should be wary of signing a new employment agreement if they are already employed. Employers often include terms in a contract that can limit an employee’s rights and entitlements in the future, such as severance pay. Employees should seek legal counsel before signing an employment agreement.
  • Penalized or laid off for taking leave: Employees cannot be penalized for taking protected leave, such as medical leave or parental/maternity leave. It is illegal to penalize or terminate employees who are on a protected leave of absence and employers can face human rights damages.

Offered a promotion but asked to sign a new employment contract

My friend was offered a promotion and a raise. His employer would like him to sign a new employment agreement. He won’t be able to take advantage of his new job perks unless he signs this agreement. Is signing the new agreement a handicap?

  • Signing a new contract: Employment contracts are typically offered to protect the interests of the employer, not the employee. Before signing a new agreement, despite the promise of a promotion, could limit an employee’s other rights and entitlements. It is important for employees to seek legal advice from an employment lawyer before agreeing to an employment contract.

An employee paid commission had clients taken away

I’ve been with a courier company for 10 years, working on a retainer and commission. Three months ago they gave away most of my contracts, cutting my pay by 40%. I complained to the manager but nothing has been done.

  • Constructive dismissal: Employers cannot impose major changes to an employee’s job without consent. A major change can take the form of a dramatic pay reduction, demotion, major relocation, etc. Employees do not have to accept the proposed change and can instead pursue constructive dismissal. Employees that choose to accept a change have given their employer permission to implement future changes.

NEXT EPISODE: Employment Law Show S6 E16 – What independent contractors need to know

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Employment Law Show S6 E14 – Rights of employees when ill or injured

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