The Employment Law Show

Employment Law Show 640 Toronto – S10 E22

Employment Lawyer Jon Pinkus hosts the Employment Law Show on Global News Radio.

Episode Summary

What to know about medical leaves, severance on a fixed-term contract, harassment and more on Season 10 Episode 22 of the Employment Law Show on Global News Radio 640 Toronto.

Listen below as Toronto Employment Lawyer and partner Jon Pinkus, Associate at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, reveals your workplace rights in Toronto and the GTA on the Employment Law Show. Jon shatters myths and misconceptions about severance pay, terminations, workplace harassment, overtime pay, wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal, duty to accommodate, independent contractors, and more.

Listen to the Episode

Episode Notes

I worked at a publishing company in a finance department. During a Zoom call, I snapped at my direct supervisor and he was not pleased with my behaviour. I was terminated for cause 3 days later and not given severance. What can I do?

Employers have the right to terminate an employee for any reason however it is typically difficult to prove and pursue termination for cause. Employees cannot be terminated for cause due to a simple mistake or a singular incident. Employers have to be able to prove that there was disciplinary action taken and that measures have been escalated over some time; fundamentally that an employee has exhibited serious misconduct.

I’m an office manager and am prepared to walk away from my position due to workplace harassment at the workplace. I feel like I can’t continue. What are my rights?

Employees have a right to a harassment-free and safe work environment. It is important for employees to document all incidents of harassment and bullying to the appropriate party at work. Employees who are forced to resign as a result of harassment can potentially lead to constructive dismissal. Employees have to be able to show that there were no alternatives left other than resignation and if unsure of their next steps should contact an employment lawyer.

After 25 years a contract I had with a municipality was terminated. I am a contractor but I only had one client. What are my rights?

While dependent contractors are not considered to be employees, if their client base and income are solely from one or two clients and that income no longer exists, they are still owed severance pay. Dependent contractors should seek legal advice from an employment lawyer to determine their severance pay entitlements and how to pursue their rights.

Employee vs. independent contractor

How long can someone be away from work due to medical reasons?

Under the ESA employees are given a set time for which they can take leave however employees are entitled to be away from work as long as recommended by their treating physicians. Employees who are sick, particularly during the pandemic, should remain home. Employees cannot and should not be pressured to return to work by their employer and can provide a doctor’s note.

Paid sick days in Ontario

What medical information does an employer have the right to?

Employers are able to ask their employees about possible accommodations and for the prognosis. Employers are not entitled to a detailed diagnosis of an employee’s medical condition.

Can an employer replace an employee while they are on medical leave?

Employers have the right to fill an employee’s position while they are away. This replacement can and should be temporary. When an employee is ready to return to work with their doctor’s approval they must be accommodated and cannot be terminated as a result of their illness or disability.

Are employees on commission entitled to severance?

Employees who are on commission are still entitled to severance however their earnings are variable and so historical earnings are factored into severance pay.

I was just terminated after 3 months in a year-long fixed-term contract. Am I entitled to any severance?

Employees who have been terminated before the end date of an agreed-upon contract are owed the balance of the contract in severance pay. For some employees, this can mean years’ worth of severance pay. Some contracts can contain an early termination clause that might prohibit an employee’s severance entitlements.

Do I have to sign my severance termination letter by a certain deadline?

Employers impose deadlines in order to pressure employees to sign a termination and severance offer. Typically an initial severance offer is inadequate and employees should not feel pressured to sign. Before agreeing to a severance package, an employee should contact an employment lawyer to determine what they are owed.

I’ve been accused of harassing a co-worker. I’m worried I’ll be let go for cause. What do I do?

Employees who have been accused of misconduct should be truthful with the appropriate parties during an investigation. Employees who feel they have been wrongfully accused should come prepared with appropriate responses and evidence to the contrary.

My employer is trying to make significant changes to my job. What can I do about it?

Employees have to determine whether or not they have agreed to major changes to their job; potentially in an employment contract. Employees who have not agreed to a significant job change do not have to do so and can treat the imposed change as constructive dismissal. A major change can be a cut in wages, a relocation or a demotion, etc.

Lost Your Job?
Disability Claim Denied?

Our team has years of experience helping tens of thousands of Canadians. Get the advice you need, the compensation you deserve.

Get help now

Advice You Need. Compensation You Deserve.

Consult with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. We are one of Canada's most experienced and trusted employment, labour and disability law firms. Take advantage of our years of experience and success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

Get help now