The short answer is anytime you experience an employment-related change, need to make a decision regarding your work or have employment-related questions!
Far too many Ontarians are unaware of their workplace rights and suffer or lose out on compensation they are entitled to unnecessarily. Even a single (free) consultation with one of the top Toronto employment lawyers can provide you with sound legal advice for your specific situation and clear up misconceptions built up over years of getting legal advice from movies and TV shows.
While you should always speak to an employment lawyer about work-related issues, in the following situations legal advice is crucial for the sake of your career, finances and quality of life.
If You’ve Been Let Go From A Job in the Last Two Years
One of the most common misconceptions regarding employment in Ontario is that If an employer terminates an employee without cause, that employee is only entitled to two weeks’ pay or the minimum termination and/or severance pay allowed in the Employment Standards Act (ESA).
It is often the case that a dismissed employee is owed a lot more than what they were offered – sometimes even when an employment contract contains a severance clause. If you’ve been terminated without cause, do not sign or accept a severance package without consulting an employment lawyer. You are under no obligation to accept the package by any deadline the employer imposes on you.
Also speak to an employment lawyer if you were:
- Not offered notice or termination/severance pay before being dismissed without cause.
- Told by your employer that you were terminated for cause.
Proving a termination for cause can be difficult to do, as a for-cause termination should only be used in extreme circumstances. Unfortunately, many employers and employees are unaware of this high standard, and it is often misapplied.
If Your Employer Makes Substantial Changes to Your Employment
If your employer unilaterally makes changes to your employment that fundamentally alters it in a way that it is substantially different than the employment you both agreed to when you were hired, this is another crucial time to speak to an employment lawyer immediately.
This can include changes to your job duties, compensation, benefits, hours, location, etc. If you do nothing and continue working under the new conditions, after a reasonable amount of time, it can be considered that you agreed to the change, even if you didn’t. Further, it now gives your employer a license to continue making similar changes to your employment.
You may, on the other hand, feel that the new working conditions are untenable and that you have no choice but to quit.
In any scenario when an employer makes changes to your employment contract, speak to an employment lawyer before taking any action. They will advise on how to handle it based on what’s in your best interests.
If You’re Being Harassed or Bullied at Work
If you are experiencing workplace violence, bullying or harassment, including sexual harassment, or if you are not being treated fairly or equally, you may not feel comfortable discussing the situation at work. An employment lawyer can provide you with confidential legal advice, intervene for you when needed, ensure that you are protected from retaliation, help you file a claim and represent you if you choose to pursue legal action.
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