protomannilaw.com

employment law

EMPLOYEES

Termination & Severance

If you’ve been terminated or forced out of work, you are owed severance. How much severance you are owed depends on a number of factors, including your age, position, years of service, level of compensation, market conditions, and more. In some cases, you could be owed as much as 24 months of compensation! Before signing anything and giving up your rights, give us a call so you can better understand what you are legally entitled to.

Temporary Layoffs

If you’ve been placed on a temporary layoff that you haven’t agreed to, this could be considered a termination which would entitle you to a full severance package. You need to act fast to protect your rights, and never sign anything before speaking to a lawyer first.

Changes to Terms of Employment

If your employer unilaterally changes any of the fundamental terms of your employment (e.g. hours of work, pay, benefits, duties and responsibilities, position, etc.), then this could be considered a termination which would entitle you to a full severance package. However, the longer you go along with the change without fighting it, the harder it becomes to assert your rights, so do not delay in getting legal advice.

Harassment & Toxic Workplaces

If you’re at the receiving end of workplace harassment or find yourself working in a hostile, poisoned or toxic work environment, you don’t have to simply lay down and accept it! There are a number of rights and remedies you have to respond to this type of situation that our experienced employer lawyer can help you understand. Sometimes the situation can be so bad that you feel you are effectively being forced out of the workplace. In these circumstances, you may be able to treat that as a termination and fight for a full severance package.

Human Rights & Discrimination

The law provides employees with robust protection to be free from discrimination on several grounds, including:

 

  • Age
  • Race/ethnicity/skin colour
  • Creed (including religion)
  • Disability (broadly defined to encompass any number of physical and mental ailments)
  • Family status (e.g. caring for children, caring for elderly parents)
  • Marital status
  • Citizenship
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Criminal convictions that have been pardoned
  • Provincial offences (e.g. speeding tickets)

 

An employer cannot discriminate against you based on a protected ground.  For example, if an employer terminates you for reasons related to a protected ground (even if it was only a small part of the decision), then this is discrimination that could entitled you to additional compensation. 

 

Employers often have a disproportionate amount of power in the workplace.  If you’re being discriminated against, getting our team involved will level the playing field and give you back the power of the law that you had all along!

Independent Contractors

Just because your contract says you’re an independent contractor, or just because your boss calls you an independent contractor, does not actually make it so! Independent contractors are not owed severance nor are they afforded protection under employments standards legislation. In this way, being misclassified as an independent contractor can literally be taking dollars out of your pocket, especially upon termination. Fortunately, the law recognizes that companies often misclassify their employees in this way; there are several decisions on the books where adjudicators have looked past the words in a contract in finding that individuals who meet certain criteria are indeed employees who are owed severance upon termination.

Our senior employment lawyer regularly handles these types of cases with great success. Schedule your free consultation today so he can assess the relevant facts and circumstances to determine if you have been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of being properly classified as an employee. Sometimes, you may not be an employee but are still a “dependent” contractor, which means you would still be owed severance just like an employee would be. Give us a call to learn how this all applies to you.

Vaccines

If you’ve been terminated or placed on an unpaid leave of absence as a result of your refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccination, then we can help you fight for your rights and receive compensation! In the absence of a government-mandate, an employer does not have free reign to make public health decisions for its workforce, and oftentimes imposing a mandatory vaccine policy simply goes too far. In these situations, our skilled team at Protomanni & Associates can help you go after what you deserve.

COMPANIES

Employment Contracts

One of the most important ways a company can limit its liability is to have properly drafted and executed employment contracts in place for its workforce. Having valid and legally enforceable termination clauses contained in employment contract for staff and ensuring the contracts are validly entered into is of critical importance. Without doing so, a company can be liable to pay employees common law severance upon termination, which for any given employee could be as high as 24 months of compensation. The enforceability of termination clauses is one of if not the most hotly contested areas of employment law, and in order for a clause to be enforceable, the language used must be carefully crafted and tailored to respond to the most current jurisprudence. Using any old language simply will not do, and so having a lawyer who is up to date with the current state of the law when drafting your contracts makes all the difference. Having this taken care of at the beginning of the employment relationship can help save companies countless dollars in severance payouts at the end of the employment relationship.

Workplace Policies

Having clear, legally complaint, written workplace policies in place not only provides clarity to both management and staff from an operations perspective but creating a written record of the company’s compliance with relevant legislation and jurisprudence (and ensuring operational compliance with same) is vital to avoid major disputes later on. All companies would be well advised to have written policies in place that cover important aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including those that cover:

 

  • Vacation
  • Sick days
  • Maternity leave
  • Performance & discipline
  • Workplace code of conduct
  • Confidentiality obligations
  • Social media use

Terminations

Deciding to terminate an employee is an inevitable part of running any business, however companies would be well advised to receive sound legal advice before proceeding. If a company executes a termination without an adequate appreciation or careful consideration of the relevant laws – laws that the dismissed employee(s) can later seize upon as part of a wrongful dismissal action – then the decision to terminate can turn out to be costly and even hinder any gain that was envisioned in reaching the decision to terminate in the first place. Companies are certainly permitted to terminate their employees to meet business demands; however, they must do so in a strategic and legally permissible manner in order to avoid substantial liability and exposure, not only from a monetary perspective, but from a public-relations perspective as well.

Demand Letters & Legal Claims

If your company has received a demand letter or been served with a legal claim, we will vigorously help you defend yourself and minimize (or sometimes even outright eliminate) your company’s liability. Our Senior Employment Lawyer has advanced countless demand letters and legal claims for his employee clients, and thusly he is uniquely situated to be able to anticipate what is to come as well as appreciate the interests at stake for the employee which may not always be readily apparent from a managerial perspective. Approaching matters with this lens allows him to craft the best defence strategy for your company while keeping costs and liabilities as low as possible.