The Employment Law Show

Times when an employment lawyer can help | Employment Law Show TV – S8 E14

Episode Summary

TIMES WHEN AN EMPLOYMENT LAWYER CAN HELP, building a case against an employee, taking a mental health leave and more on Season 8 Episode 14 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 about employment law in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, on the only employment law show on both TV and radio in Canada.

Episode Notes

Unpaid wages lead to resignation

I kept getting into arguments with my employer regarding unpaid overtime. Finally, I resigned as I felt undervalued. Am I still owed anything here?

  • Failing to pay earned wages: Employers must pay employees what they have earned, including overtime pay, commissions, etc. Failure to do so can lead to significant legal consequences. Employees can file a complaint with the government for unpaid wages, and resign but the resignation would be considered a constructive dismissal.

Severance for short-service employees

I was recently let go after over a year of employment, with no cause. I was only offered a week of severance pay.

  • Severance after a without-cause termination: Severance for short-service employees can be comparatively more than for long-service employees. Severance for short-service employees can be many months’ pay despite having worked less than a year. Severance is provided in order to compensate former employees while they look for future employment.

Asked to sign a new contract after a decade

I’ve been employed at this company for over 12 years. I’m now in line for a promotion, however, they want me to sign a new contract. This new contract includes a provision regarding minimum severance entitlements.

  • Signing employment contracts: Employees should be wary of signing a new employment agreement after years of service. Employment contracts typically contain terms that protect the best interests of employers and limit an employee’s entitlements. Employees cannot be disciplined for refusing to sign an employment agreement.

Employer building a case against employee

A colleague of mine seems to be targeted by a new manager with constant write-ups and minor indiscretions. In this type of situation, what can they do? The manager seems to be building a case against them.

  • Disciplinary action by employer: Employers typically build a case against an employee with multiple write-ups and negative performance reviews. Employees who do not believe the criticisms are valid should voice their dissent in writing. It is challenging for employers to terminate an employee “for cause” based on performance issues alone.

Times when an employment lawyer can help

  • When you lose your job: Employees terminated from employment should seek immediate legal advice from an employment lawyer. Severance packages are rarely adequate and employees can and should seek their entitlements.
  • Significant changes are made to your job: Employees do not have to accept a major change made to their job without their consent. Employees should be wary of accepting a major change as it permits employers to implement future changes. Rather than resigning from their position, employees can seek legal guidance.
  •  A disability issue is involved: Many issues can arise for employees dealing with a disability or medical condition, such as a cut-off from benefits, lack of accommodation, inability to take leave, etc.
  • End of an independent contractor arrangement: Employers often misclassify employees as independent contractors. Misclassified employees are exempt from vital employee rights, such as severance pay upon termination.
  • Workplace harassment impacting the ability to work: All employees are entitled to work in a safe, harassment-free environment. Employees who feel there has been a failure to investigate harassment complaints should seek legal advice.

Forced to take a mental health leave

After a major depressive episode due to a family loss, my doctor recommended I scale back my work hours. My employer denied the request, suggesting a leave of absence instead. As a 30-year accounting employee aged 62, can I opt for severance instead?

  • Accommodations in the workplace: Employers cannot refuse to accommodate an employee’s medical condition or limitations. A refusal to accommodate is considered a human rights violation and is illegal. Employees in this situation can also treat their employment as terminated and would be owed severance pay.

Refused overtime pay and let go

I logged many overtime hours, which my manager assured me I would eventually be paid for. However, I was fired earlier this week and given a severance package that doesn’t account for these overtime hours. What should I do?

  • Overtime hours and pay: All employees must be paid overtime hours despite a termination of employment. Severance pay must include all elements of compensation, including bonuses, car allowances, overtime pay, etc.

Employment Laws

  • Forced to resign: A forced resignation or retirement is considered a termination of employment. Employees would still be owed severance pay if they were pressured to leave their positions.
  • Signed multiple contract extensions: Individuals who have signed many contract extensions can be considered indefinite employees. This is particularly significant upon termination.
  • Business is bought by a new owner: In the event a business is sold to a new owner, the new employer does not automatically have to hire the previous employees. Employees hired on by the new owner should remember that their previous years of service are inherited and must be taken into consideration.
  • Obligated to pay an annual bonus: Employers are obligated to pay a bonus if it is considered a regular element of compensation. Discretionary bonuses do not have to be paid.
  • Choose when you take a vacation: Employers can schedule vacation periods for employees and can refuse a vacation request.
  • Severance pay capped: There is no specification severance pay calculation for employees who have lost their jobs.

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