The Employment Law Show

Fixed-term Contracts | Employment Law Show TV – S4 E14

Episode Summary

Everything you need to know about FIXED-TERM CONTRACTS, severance for real estate agents, and more on Season 4 Episode 14 of the Employment Law Show with employment lawyer Lior Samfiru

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

Employee seeking accommodation

After 18 months on long-term disability, I was finally given the green light from my doctor to return to my job on a part-time basis. Unfortunately, my employer will not accommodate me.

Lior explains that if your doctor approves your return to work from a disability leave, your employer must try to accommodate you. This is true if your limitations mean that you can only work part-time hours. Your employer has a duty to accommodate you, even if accommodation proves to be slightly difficult. Failure to accommodate may lead to a human rights violation. An employee who is not accommodated may be able to treat the situation as a constructive dismissal. In other words, they may be able to resign with severance pay.

Segment starts at 2:18

CALL: Employee misclassified as contractor

I was fired from my job as a real estate agent 1 month before I was to return from a stress leave. I worked 5 years as an independent contractor. I have little over a week to accept a 3-week severance package. They still owe me $125,000 in future commissions. What should I do?

Real estate agents are often misclassified as independent contractors when they are in fact employees. Real estate agents must receive a severance package when their employer decides to terminate their employment. Severance pay is calculated by reviewing age, position, length of employment, as well as commission.

Learn More:
Severance for Salespeople

Additionally, it is illegal for your employer to let go from your job because you are on stress leave. It would constitute a human rights violation.

Segment starts at 6:09

Employee’s terms of employment changed

A coworker quit last week. Instead of replacing him, the company has given me half his workload. I’m not really qualified to do his type of work, and the quality of my original work is now being affected. How do I address this issue with my employer of 3 years?

An increase in duties without an increase in pay occurs quite often. Employers will spread a former employee’s workload among remaining employees, rather than hire a new employee to assume those duties. A drastic increase in an employee’s duties is considered a change to the terms of their employment. The employee’s job is different from what they were originally hired to do. They can choose to treat their employment as being constructively dismissed and leave with their full severance pay.

Segment starts at 10:18

Fixed Term Contracts of Employment (What You Need to Know)

1️⃣ What are fixed-term contracts?
• A fixed-term contract is an employment arrangement for a specific period of time.

Segment starts at 15:18

2️⃣ Is a worker owed anything if the company ends the fixed-term contract early?
• A individual working on a fixed-term contract can be let go, or fired, from that contract before the end date. The company would still owe them the balance of the contract.

Segment starts at 16:18

3️⃣ What happens if a fixed-term contract ends, but the individual continues to provide services to the company?
• An individual becomes an employee if they continue working for a company after their fixed-term contract expires.

Segment starts at 17:43

4️⃣ Is there a limit to how many times a company can renew a fixed-term contract with the same person?
• When you sign a number of consecutive fixed-term contracts, the law eventually concludes that you are an employee. Therefore, if the company decides not to renew the next contract, they will have to provide you with severance pay.

Segment starts at 19:10

5️⃣ What happens if the company decides to make changes to the contract during the contract period?
• If a company makes changes to your contract without your permission (alters your salary, duties, etc.) you can pursue a constructive dismissal. You may be able to receive the balance owing on the contract.

Segment starts at 21:17

CALL: Employee signs severance offer before seeking advice

My coworker was let go after 13 years. He accepted 39 weeks’ pay and signed a severance letter. If he had not signed the offer, would they have just given him his minimum severance pay?

The employee was likely entitled to as much as 16 months’ pay – 7 months more than the offer he signed off on. Unfortunately, once an outgoing employee signs off on a severance package, they do not have the ability to renegotiate that offer. This is why it is important to contact the employment lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP before you accept a severance offer.

Segment starts at 22:25

CALL: Employee dismissed for cause

I was fired for cause after being written up for absences related to hernia surgery. My employer said these write-ups pushed me through the final stages of a progressive discipline structure. Am I entitled to severance pay?

An employer must build their case against an employee before they terminate for cause. What an employer cannot do is discipline an employee for being ill or injured. The employee in this case will likely receive their full termination pay, according to their age, length of service, and position at the company.

Segment starts at 25:56

Next Episode: Employment Law Show S4 E15 – When an Employer Can’t Let You Go

Previous Episode: Employment Law Show S4 E13 – Overtime Pay in Canada

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