Almost everyone with a job will wonder, at some point, about their legal rights in the workplace. Canadian employment law is detailed, nuanced, and full of surprises to most people. The better you know your workplace rights and employment rights, the better you will be able to protect yourself.
Here are some of the most common questions that employees ask in free consultations with our employment lawyers in Ottawa.
Is it legal for my employer to […]?
The answer to this kind of question is rarely just a “yes” or “no”, and rarely satisfying or helpful. Our employment law firm gives legal advice that focuses on actions and results. That means we focus on how to enforce your rights, how much you could be entitled to, and the risks and benefits at each stage.
Is my employer’s severance offer fair?
In most terminations, you will have received at least some kind of severance pay offer from your employer. A question we often hear in consultations is whether the offer is “fair”. Despite what you may be led to believe by some law firms’ marketing materials, the answer to that question depends on your personal circumstances. In order to make an estimate, we have to make certain assumptions about things, many of which may be unknown or outside of your control. Book a free consultation with one of our employment lawyers - we will review your severance offer for free and advise you on your best course of action.
What is the difference between “for cause” and “without cause” when it comes to being terminated?
Employees terminated for cause are not entitled to notice or employment insurance benefits, while employees terminated without cause usually are.
The vast majority of terminations are without cause. Termination for cause is reserved for more severe instances of employee wrongdoing, and the circumstances in which termination for cause is justified are few and far between. Courts consider termination for cause to be a very harsh punishment, reserved for the worst offenders; it is often referred as the “capital punishment of employment law.” However, employers try to terminate employees for cause much more often than cause exists. If you have been unfairly terminated for cause, an employment lawyer can help you recover the severance you are rightfully owed.
What is “wrongful dismissal”?
Contrary to popular understanding, wrongful dismissal usually has nothing to do with the reasons for your dismissal. The thing that makes a dismissal wrongful is the lack of reasonable notice. The remedy that a court can award you for wrongful dismissal is pay instead of reasonable notice.
What is “constructive dismissal”? Is it different from wrongful dismissal?
Constructive dismissal occurs when your employer changes important terms of your employment, or otherwise treats you very poorly, to the point that your employment may legally be considered terminated. Constructive dismissal can occur even if your employer has taken no steps to dismiss you – in other words, the dismissal is “constructed” at law from the surrounding circumstances. An employee who is constructively dismissed can quit and sue for wrongful dismissal. The damages for constructive dismissal are exactly the same as those for wrongful dismissal.
Can I be fired while I am on medical leave?
The short answer is yes, you can be dismissed while on a leave, with certain narrow exceptions. However, this is a complicated issue that should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. You may be entitled to notice and/or severance pay. You may also be entitled to human rights damages if your employer terminates your employment because of your disability.
When should I hire an employment lawyer?
It is never too soon to speak to an employment lawyer. Even if you’re not yet in a position to take legal action, an employment lawyer can give you legal advice and strategies that put you in the best position to protect your rights.
If you are dealing with an employment issue such as wrongful dismissal, unfair severance, or workplace harassment, contact the Ottawa employment lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our 35+ years of experience in long term disability (LTD) law and team of experienced employment lawyers can help you win your case against your employer. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless you win your case. Join us on Facebook and become a Top Fan for a chance to win each month.