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FAQ

FAQ

What Our Clients Ask Us

FAQs

Almost always, client arriving at our offices understand very little about their rights. And why should they? Most of us rely on our employers to treat us fairly and in accordance with the law. Sadly, some employers count on you not understanding your rights. We regularly publish blogs on topics useful for employees and encourage you to visit our site regularly.

Here are the most frequently asked questions our client’s ask us.

Can my employer ask me to sign an employment contract that suggests I can be let go at will ?

Employees applying for jobs at Canadian subsidiaries of U.S. corporations should review their employment contracts closely.  We often find at will termination clauses which supposedly allow employers to fire employees without notice.  First of all, our laws completely prohibit such clauses . In this matter, there is little room for a Canadian employer to maneuver. They must offer notice or severance pay in lieu to employees.  If you must sign such a contract to land the job, consult with one of our lawyers.  In almost all cases, our courts will consider the clause void when taken to trial.

Am I entitled to my old job when I return from disability or maternity leave?

You remain an employee of the company when you are on disability leave or parental leave. You may return to your original or one comparable to it. Your employer cannot fire you for being on leave. And if they do, then they must prove that it was for reasons unconnected to your leave. Our courts will demand evidence and the bar is set very high, indeed.
 
If your leave extends beyond two years, your employer can fire you by declaring the employment relationship “frustrated”. And in this event, you should consult with one of our lawyers.

How much severance am I entitled to when my employer lets me go?


When your employer decides to let you go they must offer you fair notice that your job is ending. You can use this time to look for alternative work while earning a salary.
 
Alternatively, your employer can offer you severance pay in lieu of this notice period.  The Employment Standards Act outlines the minimum standards for notice and severance pay. However, if your employer terminates you without cause, then you could be entitled to more than the minimum. The circumstances of your employment come into play to determine the fairness of your severance package, such as your age, your position, length of service and how long it will take you to find another job. If you are close to retirement and at a senior point in your career, chances are you will find some challenges to land an equivalent job any time soon. And in this case, your severance should be much higher than the minimum. Contact us before you sign any termination contract to ensure you don’t leave money behind.

If my employer changes my job description or pay, do I have to accept it?

This sometimes occurs when new owners take over a company with existing employees.  They start announcing the “new order” and all of a sudden the terms of your employment change.  This includes seniority, job descriptions, location and hours of employment, etc.   It may even include wage cuts.  If these changes are necessary for the survival of the business then your boss has to provide you with options.  He cannot unilaterally change the terms of your employment.
In exchange for the wage cut, they should offer you equivalent “consideration”. Examples are more vacation time, signing bonuses, reduced hours etc
If these changes are not acceptable to you, then your employer must offer you an adequate severance package to end your employment relationship.

My employer has hired me as a “contractor” but I perform the same job as an employee. Is this legal?

This is one of the most contentious employment issues of our times. Lecker & Associates fought a precedent setting case which clarified laws that remained open to interpretation before. If you are a true “Independent Contractor”, then you must remain fully in control over your work assignments.  Essentially, you would operate like a business. Many project based contractors operate in this manner. They pay their own taxes and generally use their own resources (tools & equipment, etc.); they can set their own hours and also hire employees to complete portions of the work. Often, fees charged by contractors are higher than wages for hourly employees.
Any other type of arrangement is likely that of a “dependent contractor”. They may be skirting the law. They might be avoiding paying out your CPP, EI and severance benefits. Contact one of our lawyers for an assessment of your case.