When Should I Seek Out an Employment Lawyer?

Most people who call our Toronto employment lawyers for an employment consultation do not know whether they really need a lawyer, what questions to ask, or what an employment lawyer can do for them – and that’s perfectly normal.

In fact, these are often some of the hardest questions for lawyers themselves and getting the correct answer can make all the difference.

Because every case is different, only an employment lawyer can tell you whether you might benefit from legal services. That said, this article covers some general circumstances in which employees may benefit from taking advantage of a free consultation with one of our experienced employment lawyers.

1. When your employment has been terminated

    This is the most common type of free consultation that our employment lawyers deal with, and the most obvious circumstance in which you should seek legal advice from an employment lawyer. Terminations are the “bread and butter” of employment law. An employment lawyer can advise you on your termination entitlements, and, if warranted, offer you representation to pursue your legal entitlements.

    2. When your employer is threatening your job security

      Your employer may make warnings to you about your job security, for instance, as part of a structured discipline program. There is nothing legally actionable about this, on its own. However, this may be a sign that your employer is seeking to build a case to terminate you for “just cause”, without notice or payment in lieu. When your employer starts to put this pressure on you, the things you say and do (or the things you don’t do) from that moment forward can take on much greater significance, and a misstep could be more costly. It would be a good idea to speak to an employment lawyer in these circumstances to determine your rights and obligations to your employer.

      3. When your employment situation has become intolerable

        Sometimes enough is enough, and you need to decide that you can no longer subject yourself to a toxic work environment. This may be the best (or the only) decision for you in the circumstances. However, you should not quit under stress, duress, or anger, without first consulting with an employment lawyer. Your employer’s mistreatment of you may be legally actionable, but you can seriously damage your legal position by acting in the heat of the moment. This is one of the most strategically sensitive areas of employment law. Employees should never try to navigate these situations on their own without legal advice.

        4. When you are subject to a workplace investigation

          There’s one notable circumstance in which you might want to have a lawyer actually represent you while you are still employed: and that’s when you have been accused of wrongdoing and are being subjected to a workplace investigation. A workplace investigation can be very similar to a legal case, involving volumes of documents, recorded interviews, and competing testimony. Many workplace investigators are lawyers themselves. In these circumstances, your rights may be best preserved by hiring an employment lawyer to navigate you through the process.

          5. When negotiating the terms of a job offer

            When looking at a job offer, the thing most employees focus on is the rate of pay, overlooking sometimes several pages of important terms, including terms related to termination. In fact, the contract of employment can be one of the most important documents at the end of employment, in a wrongful dismissal case. Many contracts contain language which significantly limits your rights to notice and severance upon termination by the company. The interpretation of these terms is often highly legalistic and not intuitive. An employment lawyer can help you understand what these terms mean, and where to apply pressure in negotiations with a prospective employer.

            If you have been terminated, laid-off, or severed from your employment contract in Canada, our experienced team of employment law lawyers in Toronto can help. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have an Employment Case.

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