Toronto Employment Lawyers Advising Employers on Employment Standards Matters
Employees who work for provincially-regulated employers governed by the Employment Standards Act can file a claim with the Ministry of Labour if they believe their employer is not complying with the law. Employers who are the subject of such claims may face a lengthy dispute resolution process and significant legal and financial liability.
If you are an employer and an ESA claim has been filed against you, the first thing you should do is consult with a knowledgeable employment lawyer to understand any potential risk you may face, the options available to you, and assistance with formulating a game plan for moving forward. A lawyer can help you draft a response, prepare you for any potential investigations by the Ministry of Labour, and represent you in any mediations, hearings, or other dispute resolution meetings. At Sultan Lawyers in Toronto, our exceptional employment lawyers have significant experience advising employers on ESA claims and other Ministry of Labour matters. With our help, you can properly and adequately respond to employee complaints and successfully manage any liability.
Grounds for Filing an ESA Claim
An employee can file an ESA claim for a wide variety of reasons stemming from unpaid wages and compensation, to not providing adequate leave, to misrepresenting an employee as an independent contractor.
Some common grounds for ESA claims include:
- Unpaid wages: this includes claims by employees who believe they are owed unpaid regular pay, overtime pay, public holiday pay, minimum wage, vacation pay;
- Withheld tips and other gratuities: this includes claims by employees who allege that tips have been withheld or deducted from;
- Excess hours worked: this includes claims that an employee worked excessive hours or was not given appropriate rest time;
- Termination pay: this includes claims that the required amount of notice of termination or termination pay was not provided to an employee;
- Severance pay: this includes claims that an employer owes an employee severance pay;
- Reprisal: this includes claims that an employer threatened or punished an employee because they threatened to exercise a right under the ESA or because they attempted to exercise such a right;
- Leave: this includes claims that employees were denied pregnancy leave, parental leave, personal emergency leave, family medical leave, family caregiver leave, critical illness leave, crime-related child disappearance leave, child death leave, domestic or sexual violence leave, organ leave, and/or reservist leave;
- Misclassification of employees: this includes claims by independent contractors, interns, volunteers or other workers not covered by the ESA who believe they should be covered.
Potential Consequences of an ESA Claim Against an Employer
Once an ESA claim is filed, an Employment Standards Officer from the Ministry of Labour will contact the employer at issue to attempt to solve the alleged issue. Where a resolution cannot be reached at this initial stage, an investigation will be launched.
Employment Standards Officers have the power to make orders that can significantly impact an employer, including:
- Paying unpaid wages or other compensation owing;
- Giving back a terminated employee their job;
- Charging the employer with an offence (this can result in either fines or jail time, depending on the nature of the complaint).
Sultan Lawyers: Advising Employers Who Are Subject to ESA Claims
The Toronto employment lawyers at Sultan Lawyers regularly advise employers on a wide range of workplace issues, including how best to respond to an ESA claim filed by an employee. We offer flat rate consultations, specifically designed to provide our clients with the information and tools they need to manage their issue and move forward. Contact us online or at 416-214-5111 for a consultation.