What is Employment Law?

Employment law refers to the group of legal rights that you have as an individual in the workplace. Your employment law rights include, to name a few, the right to be paid wages, to take leaves of absence, and to enjoy a workplace free of harassment and discrimination.

One of the biggest, most important areas of employment law in Canada is termination of employment. All Canadian employees have a presumptive right to be given “reasonable notice” (or pay in lieu thereof) in the event of a termination. Often, employees do not seek to understand their employment law rights until they have already been terminated. However, most employees would benefit from knowing these rights much earlier.

Why should I learn about my employment law rights?

Many employees feel comfortable relying on their employers to protect their workplace rights. This is a big mistake. Employers regularly and casually ignore employees’ human rights, minimum wage, hours of work, severance pay, and more. Most of the time, these violations are allowed to happen because neither the employee nor the employer knows any better. 

Employment law is often misunderstood and misapplied by employees and employers alike. It is often counterintuitive and confusing. There is no comprehensive list anywhere of all the workplace rights you may have. If you work in Ontario, your rights are likely based on three main pieces of legislation: the Employment Standards Act, the Human Rights Code and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. Aside from this legislation, courts have developed their own laws dealing with termination of employment. This is known as the common law of wrongful dismissal.

Knowing your rights can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced employment lawyer. For instance, if you work in Ontario, your workplace could be governed by federal or provincial law (but not both), depending on your industry. Even such a seemingly simple question can be difficult to answer for anyone other than an employment lawyer. At the same time, the answer to that question can have a profound effect on your workplace rights. 

Who enforces employment law? 

The onus is on YOU to protect your rights. The good news is that, generally speaking, employment law prioritizes your rights as an employee over those of your employer. An experienced employment lawyer can advise you as to your legal entitlements and represent you in the course of enforcing your rights. However, it is up to you to take the initiative and contact an employment lawyer if you believe your rights have been violated.

What can an employment lawyer do for me?

A qualified employment lawyer can assist you at every step of your employment, from the moment you are offered a job up to the end of your employment, and at any point in between. We review employment contracts and provide legal advice to our clients. We assist with workplace disputes over bullying, harassment, workplace accommodation, and bonus entitlements, to name a few. We negotiate severance packages on behalf of clients who have been terminated and represent clients in legal proceedings arising out of their termination or other workplace issues.

What can Hyde HR Law do for me?

The lawyers at Hyde HR Law are experts in the area of employment law and have helped countless employees to pursue and enforce their legal rights in the workplace, and to  obtain settlements and judgments against their employers after being wrongfully dismissed. If you would like your employment offer or contract reviewed, if you have been harassed or discriminated against, if you have been terminated, or if you are simply looking for legal advice regarding a specific workplace situation, we can assist you. Contact us today.

Contingency Fee

We represent wrongfully dismissed employees on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we do not get paid unless we obtain a favourable result. Our contingency fee will come from your settlement or judgment, saving you the financial risk of litigation.

Just Cause Termination

If you have been terminated from your employment for just cause, it is not the end of the road. Your employer will have to prove that your acts led to a total breakdown in the employment relationship.

Constructive Dismissal

No employee should have to endure intolerable working conditions – that’s the law. You may have a right to quit your job and sue your employer for constructive dismissal.

Unjust Dismissal

Federally regulated employees who are terminated have a powerful tool at their disposal: the law of unjust dismissal. In addition to monetary awards, unjustly dismissed employees may seek reinstatement to their employment.

Wrongful Dismissal

Almost any dismissal from employment without notice is wrongful. Wrongfully dismissed employees are entitled to compensation from their employers - sometimes up to two years’ worth of wages and other benefits.

Severance

Have you been terminated? You could be entitled to severance pay in the range of 1 month per year of service, subject to a number of important factors, such as your age, position, length of service and chances of re-employment.

Employment Contract Review

Most employees do not understand the meaning or significance of the employment terms they agree to in writing. It is important to have your employment contract reviewed by an experienced lawyer before you sign it.

Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation

Do not take non-competition and non-solicitation agreements at face value. These clauses, referred to as “restrictive covenants”, are usually not enforceable.

Executive Compensation Advice

Incentive plans for executives can be vague, complicated, and misleading. Given the complexity of most executive agreements, obtaining legal advice from an expert will place you in a better position to negotiate an agreement that protects your interests.

Human Rights Claims

The workplace is one of the most common settings for discrimination. The Human Rights Code protects all employees from discrimination based on protected grounds, such as age, disability, or gender.

Employment Standards Claims

Employment standards include entitlements to minimum wage, overtime, holidays, and vacation pay. Many employees do not even receive the minimum employment standards set out by legislation, but taking action against an employer may be easier than you think.

Independent Contractor Disputes

Your employer might attempt to misclassify you as an “independent contractor” in order to avoid providing you with some of the benefits that all employees are entitled to. If you have been hired as an independent contractor but your position resembles that of an employee, you may be entitled to compensation.