Maria Esmatyar, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.
Maria Esmatyar is an Associate with Lecker & Associates in Toronto. Her practice focuses on employment law and employment-related disability matters.
Maria advocates on behalf of individuals seeking to enforce their legal rights in the workplace. She provides strategic advice and representation to employees on matters including, wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal, employment contracts, employment standards, human rights, sexual harassment, workplace discrimination and disability claims.
A skilled litigator, Maria has been instrumental in helping her clients negotiate substantial severance settlements, win significant judgements and achieve effective return-to-work solutions. Over her career, she has represented clients in matters involving intricate legal issues and has appeared before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Labour Relations Board, and the Canada Labour Code Adjudication. Known for her sound knowledge of statutes and legal processes, Maria has authored numerous articles on employment law.
Maria obtained her Juris Doctor and holds an Honours B.A. in history. She is multi-lingual (English, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu), well traveled and able to represent a diverse client base with expertise, professionalism and empathy.
Maria was part of the team that represented plaintiffs Marilyn and Lawrence Keenan in Keenan v. Canac Kitchens, 2015 ONSC 1055. Classified “independent contractors” by their employer, they were let go with no severance pay after three decades of service.
Maria with her team, was not afraid to wade into uncharted waters with this important and precedent setting case. In true style, she defended her clients vehemently, strategically identifying them as a new class of worker in Ontario: “Dependent Contractors“. Not only were the Keenan’s awarded the highest ever compensation for wrongfully dismissed contractors, this case was declared one of the most influential in 2016 by Law Times Magazine.
The Keenan case directly lead to a re-writing of Ontario’s Employment Laws. Dependent Contractors have the same rights as employees and are now clearly identified in Bill 148, Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.