The Employment Law Show

Rights of Older Employees during COVID-19 | Employment Law Show TV- S5 E10

Episode Summary

RIGHTS OF OLDER EMPLOYEES DURING COVID-19, an abusive employer, severance pay reduced due to the pandemic and more on Season 5 Episode 10 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 and British Columbia, on the only employment law show on both TV and radio in Canada.

Episode Notes

Wage Subsidy Program

I’ve been working throughout the pandemic until recently when I was put on a layoff. My employer qualified for the wage subsidy program so I would be paid. Is there anything I can do?

Employees in this situation will still be undergoing a pay cut as a result of the program. If a pay cut is significant it can be treated as constructive dismissal.

Segment starts at 1:50

CALL: Change in Schedule after Maternity Leave

I just returned from maternity leave, and now my employer wants to change my schedule from weekdays only to include weekends. When I told them that I can’t find childcare to accommodate those new times, they said I had 60 days to comply.

Employers have an obligation to bring employees back from maternity leave to the same position (same schedule and payment) as before. Regardless of maternity leave, employers do not have a right to make a significant change to an employee’s schedule.

Segment starts at 5:43

Severance reduced due to COVID-19

I just got fired from my professional role of over 20 years and offered only 4 months of severance. When I asked why it was so little, HR said they don’t have to give me as much of severance as they normally would because sales have been down during the pandemic. Is this true?

Employment laws and severance entitlements have not changed as ar result of the pandemic. In fact, some severance may be increased due to the likelihood of finding future employment.

Segment starts at 8:40

Rights of Older Employees during COVID-19

1️⃣ Can an older employee be fired because of their age?

Employees cannot be let go of their position due to their age. Termination due to an employee’s age is discriminatory.

Segment begins at 13:07

2️⃣ What can an employer do if an older employee is becoming less productive?

An employer does have a right to have expectations from employees.  Employers should discuss an employee’s performance and work on a performance plan with their employee.

Segment begins at 14:37

3️⃣ What should an older employee do if they find they are struggling at their job?

Employees who are struggling should properly communicate with the employer of their needs and difficulties and if needed get a doctor’s note.

Segment begins at 16:08

4️⃣ Can an employer push an older worker to resign, using COVID-19 as a reason?

Employers cannot force an employee to resign or push them to retire, it is illegal and possibly a human rights violation. There is no mandatory retirement age in Canada.

Segment begins at 17:31

5️⃣ Is an employer allowed to recall a younger employee first from a COVID-19 layoff before an older employee?

Employers are not allowed to recall employees based on age; discrimination based on age is a human rights violation. If an employee feels they’re laid off due to their age they should speak with an employment lawyer.

Segment begins at 18:50

6️⃣ How much severance pay are older workers entitled to?

The longer an employee has worked at a particular company or position and the older an employee is, the more severance they will be entitled to.

Segment begins at 19:38

CALL: Target of abuse by an employer

My boss has bullied and intimidated me, verbally assaulted me in front of customers, and reduced my hours of work. What are my rights if my employer is targeting me with abuse?

Employees have a right to work in a harassment-free and safe work environment. Abuse at the workplace should be reported to HR; if there’s no opportunity to report the harassment within the company it should be investigated externally.

Segment starts at 20:56

CALL: Company bought by American owner

I have been a sales contractor in Canada for 8 years, working for an American company that has just been bought by another American company. If I am let go, who would pay my severance? Do U.S. employment laws apply?

If an individual has been with a company exclusively for a long period of time are considered employees, not independent contractors. The company selling the business has to pay the employee severance based on Canadian laws.

Segment starts at 24:24

NEXT EPISODE: Employment Law Show S5 E11 – Leave of Absence and What Employees Need to Know

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Employment Law Show S5 E9 – Constructive Dismissal during COVID-19

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