What does the law say about extreme work hours?

| November 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

Employment law and the issue of extreme work hours are tricky. Employers can hire an employee and request that they work an extensive amount of time.  On the onset, this seems illegal and confusing for employees.  However, this scenario shows that there is a difference between what is ethical and what is legal. Is it legal for an employer to require an employee to work in excess of 100 hours a week, without time off?

Toronto Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin explains that overwork is just that, overwork. By law, the request by an employer asking a manager to work long hours is not illegal. However, it is important for all employees to take into account their job title and whether or not their employment contract addresses overtime pay. Specifically, there are restrictions in an individual’s job title that determine whether or not you are entitled to overtime pay.

To read and understand more on this topic, follow Daniel Lublin’s article Our company’s work hours are extreme and his Globe and Mail column

Reasonable notice of Termination

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Reasonable notice of termination is a principle used where an employer has an obligation upon termination to either provide advanced, reasonable notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice under the legislation.  Most often than not, we will witness employees who are offered severance packages, but this does not always apply. There are scenarios where the employer will resort to reasonable notice instead of pay in light of notice. What is most often disputed is the amount of notice an employee is entitled to.

Readers for Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column had questions in regards to the legality of reasonable notice periods. Mr. Lublin, Toronto employment lawyer explains that working-notice periods are in fact legal.  However, the issue at hand is the amount of advanced notice the employee is entitled to.

Read more on this topic on the Globe and Mail and the full article I got fired after my operation

Employment offer was ended before it started

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Employment offers are known to make recruits pleased and satisfied with the prospect of beginning a new journey. It also gives them a sense of security in knowing that their financial obligations will be met. What if an employee is given a job offer and this offer is ended before employment begins? Does the employee have grounds for a law suit or legal recourse? Does this classify as a breach of contract?

The answer is based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to your ability to obtain alternative employment or restrictions that prohibit you based on your employment contract. Daniel Lublin, Toronto employment lawyer points out that where an Agreement is signed and cancelled before work begins, this is considered a breach of contract. For specific employment advice, consult with an employment lawyer to guide you through the assessment of your situation and to provide you with legal feedback.

Read Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column and full article I got fired after my operation

 

Termination following operation is legal?

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Termination of employment following sick leave can result in a discrimination claim. People in general are entitled to address their health concerns, first and foremost, by seeking medical attention. An interruption to an employee’s employment, such as an operation is reasonable and taking sick leave is rational. Does an employer who terminates an employee following sick leave have a legal right to do this?

Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin explains in his most recent Globe and Mail article I got fired after my operation, that there is no legality for terminating an employee who has recently undergone an operation.  In fact, the employee may file a discrimination claim under the applicable legislation.

You can read more on the Globe and Mail column and the full article I got fired after my operation

Confidentiality Clauses with Teeth

| November 18th, 2014 | No Comments »

Confidentiality clauses are provisions within an Employment Contract/Agreement that should not be taken lightly. When carefully drafted, they can and have been known to be strictly enforced by the Courts and can be cause for some serious implications. With that being said, employers and employees should consult with an employment law expert to get advice on how to best protect their interests. Employees should read and understand their Confidentiality clause to ensure that their rights are protected under the law.

In Patrick Snay v. Miami’s Gulliver Preparatory School, the Courts enforced the Confidentiality provision, even after reaching a resolution. Mr. Snay was ordered by the Court to repay the entire settlement for breach of the Confidentiality clause. While the case of Jan Wong, a former Globe and Mail columnist who published a book about his employment settlement, was ordered by the Court to repay the entire settlement and cover the Globe’s legal fees. This demonstrates the gravity of a well written Confidentiality clause and the effective use of the legal language.

 

Your legal questions answered

| November 17th, 2014 | No Comments »

Toronto Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin hosted a live chat on the Globe and Mail’s Career section, where he answered reader’s legal questions regarding their employment law matters. These topics varied from terminations and severance packages, mass layoffs, non-compete/non-solicitation clauses, maternity leave legal rights and the legality with respect to employment contracts.

This month alone, the media has been soaring with news of mass terminations at SNC Lavalin Group Inc. (laying off 4,000 workers) and Wal Mart Canada (laying off 200 workers). Other big companies, such as CIBC and Bombardier have headed in the same path.  As a result, employees and employers alike are being affected and questioning what their legal rights are.

Mr. Lublin provided the following facts and suggestions to provide some sense of direction in regards to your employment matters:

  • An Employer can never absolve itself from the requirement to pay severance under the Legislation; if you are Employer- you can pre-define severance requirements to the minimum, if you are an Employee- you want to negotiate and challenge the severance clauses (amount of pay) or get rid of them altogether.
  • You should never be forced to sign anything on the spot!  Advise your Employer that you are not signing anything until you have a chance to review and consider the offer. Tell the Employer you will get back to them in a couple days.
  • Terminations for “cause” place an onus on the Employer to prove misconduct that was beyond reproach and intolerable. If it cannot be proven, you can be awarded wrongful dismissal damages. For “cause” terminations require no advanced warning and severance pay is not a requirement.
  • Always try negotiating with your Employer before resorting to a lawsuit. However, even in negotiating, you should consult with an Employment Law expert who can negotiate on your behalf and advise you on where and how you can negotiate.
  • Courts will uphold non-compete/non-solicitation clauses when drafted and implemented properly, and not overly restricted in terms of length or geography. That said, not too many clauses meet all of these requirements.

Employees’ beware- Off-duty conduct can impact your work

| November 4th, 2014 | No Comments »

An employee’s conduct at work and out of work can eventually lead to potential discipline or termination by their employer.  The role of the media is now, more than ever impacting the employment environment and working relationship. We are living in an era where the pictures that you post online or the life you led years ago, can come back to haunt you.  The media scrutiny surrounding Jian Gomeshi, Donald Sterling and Ray Rice are all fine examples.  Their personal lives have affected their working relationship and eventually led to termination or discipline.

In his most recent article, Daniel Lublin, Toronto Employment lawyer explains how no one is exempt from termination based on their out of work conduct. Indeed, only a small percentage of people with positions of trust can be terminated or disciplined without severance.  The others must be paid severance. The allegations made against well-known people and those of trust make headlines simply because their actions affect their employers’ brand. Those who do not affect their employers’ brand but whose behavior out of work is shameful can be disciplined or terminated with cause and is usually upheld in Court.

To read more on this subject and for a more comprehensive overview, read Daniel Lublin’s full article Lines blurred between employees’ work and private life and his column in the Globe and Mail.

Bullied employee-wanting to resign?

| October 30th, 2014 | No Comments »

Too often we hear about bullied employee who is mistreated to such an extent that he/she feels the only recourse is to resign.  However, a forced resignation does not necessarily mean that this is true.  When an employee works in an environment that is intolerable, what options are applicable?

Daniel Lublin, Toronto employment lawyer explains that a forced resignation is not a true resignation.  In fact, it can be classified as a dismissal. The onus falls on the employee to convince the judge that the work conditions and/or conduct were such that a reasonable person could not be expected to continue with employment.

To be informed further on this topic, read Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column and full article I’m unionized, can I sue my employer or union?

 

I’m a unionized employee-can I go to court?

| October 30th, 2014 | No Comments »

Unionized employees can have advantages of being represented by an association. They are also confronted with some disadvantages that can leave a bitter taste and feel like they are being neglected. While, the union has the obligation to follow certain procedures to protect their employee’s best interest, they also have the responsibility to make their decision in a manner that is fair and diligent. What happens when the union is unable to pursue the grievance and the employer are unable to act on the employee’s behalf? What other recourse is available to the employee?

Toronto employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin addresses this topic by stating that all unions have a fair duty of representation towards their members.  In addition, employees bear the responsibility to follow grievance procedures as indicated in their collective agreement. If a union is unable to pursue the grievance, the employee cannot sue the employer or the union in court. However, you can file an administrative complaint against the union.

For more information on this topic, read Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column and full article I’m unionized, can I sue my employer or union?

Employer’s legal obligation to manage domestic violence at work

| October 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »

Domestic violence can begin in the home, but it can navigate its way to the workplace and employers have a legal obligation to manage it head on. This can be done by implementing procedures and policies that both protect the victims of domestic abuse and urgently manages employees who are accused of it.

Within Ontario in 2010, Bill 168 amended the Occupational Health and Safety Act which sought to include domestic abuse as a form of workplace violence.   The outcome of this was a positive step in the right direction.  Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin explains that the bill created a positive obligation for employers. This obligation requires employers to conduct risk assessments and to take the appropriate steps to protect workers from domestic violence in the workplace. It also addresses the need for employers to take the appropriate measures to manage employees who are accused of domestic violence.

Read more on this topic and the full article Arresting domestic violence at work