In a nutshell, any decisions you need to make regarding your work should be informed by the advice of an employment lawyer.
Whether you’ve been offered a new job, your employer makes changes to your working arrangement, you want to negotiate a salary increase or a severance package, or you get that feeling that your employer is taking advantage of you, find an employment lawyer who can help you. There is too much at stake to risk your time and livelihood in a workplace where you’re not fairly compensated or where the stress is overwhelming.
Let’s take a deeper look at situations when you need an employment lawyer.
Wrongful Termination and Severance Pay
Contrary to how it sounds, being wrongfully dismissed means your employer didn’t provide you with the notice or pay in lieu of that notice you were entitled to when you were fired, regardless of the basis for your termination.
The minimal amount of notice or pay in place of notice that an employee must receive when they are dismissed is set down by the law (the Employment Standards Act in Ontario). However, under common law (the court system), employees may be entitled to as much notice as it would take them to find a similar job.
For example, under the common law, an employee should be given 4 months’ notice from their employer before being let go, if it would take them that long to find a position that is comparable to the one they are leaving. As an alternative, the employer may pay the worker four months’ worth of wages and order them to stop reporting for duty. This is known as pay in lieu of notice or termination pay. If they don’t do either, the employee has been wrongfully dismissed and is entitled to termination pay and possibly severance pay as well.
The law also provides certain employees with severance pay. To qualify for the legal minimum severance pay under Ontario law, an employee has to work for a company with a payroll of over $2.5 million and have been there for 5 years or more.
Employees may be entitled to more severance than they are offered, given that most employers supply the bare minimum in the way of notice and/or severance when an employee is let go.
Terminated employees frequently hire employment lawyers to analyze and negotiate wrongful termination claims and severance packages, and their lawyers frequently succeed in getting their clients more money than what their employers originally offered.
Employment Contract Review and Consultations
Often before a new hire signs an employment contract, employment lawyers help them understand all of its terms. You can really only be fully informed of your rights and obligations both during and after the working relationship by having an employment lawyer analyze the offer sheet. Employment lawyers can help you negotiate a better contract.
Additionally, workers often hire employment lawyers to assist them in mediating a workplace conflict or negotiating a raise.