Employees beware, you do NOT have a right to disconnect - and other recent cosmetic changes to employment standards
The Ontario government has been tinkering with employment standards recently, leading some news sources to portray the “right to disconnect” as a new reality for Ontario employees. However, despite the hype, most of these changes to employment standards are cosmetic – they look nice, but they don’t do much.
Here is what you need to know about the recent changes to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), and how those could affect your work life.
1. You do NOT have a “right to disconnect” (unless your employer gives you one)
The ESA now defines “disconnecting from work” but it pretty much ends there.
All employers with 25 or more employees must now create a policy that relates to disconnecting from work. To date, businesses and employment lawyers have no further guidance on what the policy needs to say. Most employer policies, therefore, are equally short on details.
Until the Ministry of Labour fills in some of those details, the requirement is close to meaningless. As before, there is nothing stopping your Ontario employer from giving you the right to disconnect, but nothing requiring it either.
2. You will soon know if your employer digitally tracks your activities
Ever wonder if your Ontario employer knows that you took an extra long lunch, that you slept in 30 minutes, or that you watched cat videos on YouTube between 3:30 and 4:00 PM? You may get a look behind the curtain as of October 11, 2022, when all Ontario employers with 25 or more employees will be required to disclose whether, when, how, and why they are electronically monitoring employees. Although “electronic monitoring” is not defined, it would presumably refer to things such as keystroke tracking, internet browsing history, email monitoring, GPS data, and much more.
That said, there is no right to be free from digital monitoring, and no clear rules yet exist about your right to digital privacy. Similar to the disconnecting from work policy requirement, the new rules require words but not actions from your employer. Although you will know how your employer is electronically monitoring you, you won’t have a right to do anything about it.
3. Most non-compete agreements are (still) banned
As of October 25, 2021, most employees are prohibited from entering into non-compete agreements with employers, and such agreements that are entered into after that date are void (i.e., unenforceable). This is intended to protect Ontario employees who can lose their jobs but be prohibited from seeking work in the same field.
Again, this new change seems like a nice perk for employees, but the reality will not change significantly, as courts were generally very hesitant to enforce non-competition agreements in most circumstances even before this change.
If your employment is terminated for the above reasons (or any other reason that you consider unfair or unjust) you can read more about how we can help on the Termination and Severance section of our website.
If you are dealing with an employment issue such as wrongful dismissal, unfair severance, or workplace harassment, contact the 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.
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A note from our long term disability lawyers
Taking a medical leave from work is not an easy decision to make. Concerns about providing for yourself and your family and keeping your job may cause you to want to push through your pain, but this won’t make your problems go away. Stopping work is often the smartest decision for your long term health and well-being, and your disability benefits are there to provide you with financial support until you can return to work.
If you have made the tough decision to stop working and apply for your short term disability or long term disability benefits, you may feel overwhelmed by the process and have questions that your employer and your insurance company are not able or willing to answer. Share is There to see you through and answer your questions.
Our Disability law firm knows what you have been going through
We understand that things have not been easy for you over the last little while. Your health has been suffering, you are unable to work, and now your insurance company, who was supposed to be there in your time of need, has decided they will not pay your disability benefits or respect your disability claim. These benefits exist to provide you with the financial support you need so that you can focus on your health and rebuilding your life. It is unfortunate that your insurance company has not lived up to its promise. If your disability claim has been denied, we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Our disability lawyers have helped thousands of Canadians get their long term disability benefits over the past 35 years, and we can help you too.
Our experienced disability lawyers can fight back on your behalf
Share Lawyers believes that every client who is dealing with a disability claim deserves superior personal service. To achieve that goal, we have developed our team of experienced, compassionate, and caring long term disability lawyers, law clerks, and administrative staff to meet all of your needs. Our team of experienced long term disability, life insurance, employment, and critical illness insurance lawyers have made successful claims against many insurance companies, third-party administrators and employers.
If you are unable to work, your disability benefits should be there to provide you with the financial support you need. While your insurance company may be focused on finding ways to avoid paying your claim, our focus is on what is in your best interest. When Share Lawyers gets involved, you have an entire team of lawyers that are there to support you and to fight for what is yours.
Our disability claim lawyers fight for your disability insurance claim by relying on our many years of experience to apply the best strategic planning and approach in each case, using the latest technology available. Experience matters, and with Share Lawyers, you are in the best hands with 35 years of success on your side.
In this video, we explain the role of a long term disability lawyer and how we can support you when you have been denied your long term disability benefits.