The Employment Law Show

Employment Law Show 640 Toronto – S9 E62

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

Episode Summary

Misclassification for employees, harassment in the workplace, severance assumptions, and more on Season 9 Episode 62 of the Employment Law Show on Global News Radio 640 Toronto.

Listen below as 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 was hired as an independent contractor on a project that would end in a year’s time. I worked full-time for this employer and took direction from the company. I was let go after 2 months and given 2 weeks’ pay. Is this right?

Individuals are often misclassified as independent contractors when they are in fact employees and upon termination are owed their full severance entitlements. It is also important to note that employees who are hired on a fixed-term contract and are let go before the end of the decided contract, are owed the balance of that contract.

I worked as purchasing manager for over 20 years and my company was recently bought. I was not offered a new position and was told by my former employer I have to seek out a new company. What do I do?

If an employer is purchased by a new company, the previous employers owe their former employees their full severance entitlements.

I’ve been bullied by co-workers and spoke to my boss about the incidents but nothing has been done. What are my rights?

Employers have an obligation to investigate all allegations of harassment and discrimination in the workplace and ensure the behaviour is corrected and resolved. Employees should ensure all incidents are documented in writing. as well as all communications with the employer. Employees who feel their concerns are not being addressed are within their rights to resign and pursue a constructive dismissal.

• WATCH: What you need to know about Workplace Harassment

Everyone at my plant got laid off and after trying to communicate with them, but they seem to have closed down. What do I do?

It is important to determine whether or not an employer has simply shut down or filed for bankruptcy. Employees who have been laid off or had their employer’s shut down their business are still entitled to severance.

Many employees do not realize they are entitled to more in their severance packages.

Employees are often unaware of their full severance entitlements which are based on a number of factors, including the age of the employee, length of employment and position.

Should employees contact the Ministry of Labour regarding severance?

Employees should only contact the Ministry of labour regarding compensation or overtime pay disputes, not severance entitlements. The Ministry of Labour can only advise employees on their minimum entitlements.

Employees should be wary of accepting a severance offer by a deadline.

Employers typically implement a deadline for severance offers in order to pressure them to accept the severance offer. Employees can pursue their severance entitlements for up to two years after the initial date of termination.

Severance Pay in Ontario
Severance Pay in BC
Severance in Alberta

Employees often accept bad severance packages as they are terminated for cause.

In most cases, employees who have been terminated for cause have been wrongfully dismissed. Termination for cause is typically difficult to prove and employers mistakenly assume they are able to terminate an employee for cause when they in fact are not.

I work for a hygiene company and my employer wants us to perform new duties. Due to the pandemic, I am not comfortable with these changes. What are my options?

Employees who feel unsafe should communicate their concerns with their employer. Employees who feel their concerns have not been addressed can file a health and safety complaint with the Ministry of Labour. If an inspector deems the workplace is unsafe, they will not permit employees to return to the workplace until the issues are resolved.

My friend works at the long-term care home and has had to wear PPE. Recently he was told to sign a form that asks for some personal medical information. Do they have a right to ask this?

In some work environments, such as long-term care homes, employees are required to wear certain PPE in accordance with public health measures. Employers however do have obligations in regards to an employee’s privacy rights. Employees who feel their employers are asking personal irrelevant questions should communicate their concerns with their employer and ask why the information is necessary.

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