Ensuring Employees are Given Adequate Time to Review Employment Contracts

| April 21st, 2017 | No Comments »

The law recognizes that there is an imbalance of power between employees and employers. Employers hold the advantage in contract negotiations because they are in a more favourable position to pressure or influence employees into agreeing or signing terms of contract. In the case of job offers, courts will examine the surrounding circumstances in assessing whether the employee was pressured into agreeing on the terms being challenged. Employers seeking to enforce minimal standards under law within their employment contracts are more at risk of being challenge. However, there are ways to avoid the terms of the contract being deemed unenforceable by the courts.

Adequate time to review the contract:

Foremost, the employer should grant adequate time for the employee to review and consider the terms within the employment contract being offered. This is especially the case for when the parties seek to limit the amount of notice or severance pay in the event the employee is dismissed from employment. This is usually done with the goal of offering the employee less than entitled under common law, but equal or more to the entitlements that are guaranteed under the minimal standards of employment law. Time should be given from the date of the employment offer so that the employee can understand and reflect upon their entitlements in the event the employment relation is ended by the employer. Employers should provide the employee with a copy of the contract and a few days to review the terms and conditions.

Ensuring legislative compliance:

Pitfalls to avoid for employers are ensuring that the employment contract offered legally complies to the minimal standards of employment guaranteed by law. If the employment contact is found to violate law, the courts will not just simply adjust the compensation owed to the employee to match minimal standards. Rather, the courts will enforce common law entitlements which can be much more that the minimal standards guaranteed by law.

Staying up-to-date on changes in employment legislation:

In addition, it is important to be up-to-date and aware of any changes under employment law that would render the past agreed upon employment contract legally incompliant. For instance, if changes to employment law raises the minimal severance packages employees are entitled to, then all contracts signed by employees prior to the change in law must adhere to the new changes. If not, courts will apply the common-law awards in damages to employees in the event of a termination.

What Steps to Take if Fired?

| January 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »

What Steps to Take if Fired From a Major Company

Daniel Lublin hosted a live chat on the Globe and Mail’s Career section, where he answered legal questions regarding severance, termination notice, contract clauses and much more.  We will be posting some of the questions and answers he gave, the first concerning what to do if you have been fired.

Every day we hear about mass layoffs from major companies and for that reason most readers wanted to know more about their severance entitlements. Daniel Lublin recommends what steps to take if fired:

1. Notice of Layoff in Writing

Always get a notice of layoff in writing – ”termination package”. It is a contract that contains various terms and details about the separation, assuming the layoff is not temporary.

2. Do Not Sign Documents on the Spot

Do not sign any document on the spot. You should be given a reasonable period of time to have it reviewed by someone who is knowledgeable on workplace/employment law.

3. Does the Company Owe You Unconditionally?

You should obtain advice about whether and how much money the company owes you unconditionally. This is referred to as your “statutory severance”. However, it is not all you should receive. You are also generally entitled to a separate and larger amount of severance, which is based on your age, tenure and position.

4. Ask for Advice

You have to match up what the company is offering you versus what is fair in the circumstances. Get good advice. Often times, especially with mass layoffs, companies try to get a big discount from people. But that is not always fair and they may be entitled to much more than what was offered.

termination checklist