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  • What is constructive dismissal in Canada?

    In Canada, constructive dismissal can be raised in one of two ways. The first instance occurs when an employer’s single act violates an essential term of an employee’s employment contract. The second occurs when a series of actions that, when combined, demonstrate the employer’s intention to breach the employment contract and no longer abide by it.

  • Do I have a constructive dismissal case?

    Generally, when an employer unilaterally reduces employee compensation or significantly alters job duties, the employee can choose to reject the changes and treat their employment as ended. If your employer has created a hostile environment by fundamentally breaching your employment contract, you may be eligible to claim constructive dismissal.

    Depending on the severity of the change, Canadian courts will accept your claim if a fundamental change has been made to your contract after it was signed.

    This means that if something was agreed upon, has now changed, your claim is valid.

  • What can you receive if you are constructively dismissed?

    If an employer is found to have constructively dismissed an employee, the employee is entitled to a severance package because the employee may be able to treat the employment contract as being at an end. This entitles the employee to notice from the employer as if the employment contract had been terminated. If such notice is not provided, then the employee should be compensated with a common law pay-in-lieu of notice.

    While there is not a precise formulation to calculate the content of the package, there are a few factors that can be considered. These factors include the following:

    • Employee’s age
    • Length of employment
    • Character of employment
    • Availability of similar employment
  • What is “Just Cause” termination?

    In Ontario, an employer can terminate an employee’s employment for just cause, which if upheld, will deny the employee to statutory termination, severance pay or common law pay-in-lieu of notice.

    Common examples of conduct which can support a just cause termination include misconduct, disobedience or incompetence. Just cause is difficult to authenticate so employers must be careful to document their decision.

    If an employee feels that his/her employer did not have just cause to terminate their employment, the employee can commence an action for wrongful dismissal or depending on the facts of the case, file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal or Ministry of Labour.

  • Am I entitled to severance pay if terminated for “Just Cause”?

    If an employer terminates an employee’s employment for just cause, the employee will not be entitled to notice of dismissal, termination, or severance pay. Additionally, employees who are terminated for cause may not be eligible to collect Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. For this reason, instances of “for cause” termination is serious and require the attention of competent employment law counsel.

  • What is wrongful dismissal in Ontario?

    In Ontario, an employee is wrongfully dismissed if their employer terminates their employment without giving them proper notice of termination or the equivalent compensation in place of the notice.

    It is important to note that employers can terminate an employee at any time, as long as they provide the proper amount of notice or pay in lieu of notice. It is a common misconception that an employee cannot be terminated without reason after they finish their probationary period.

  • What if I am not happy with the termination package being offered to me by my employer?

    If your employment has been terminated by your employer and you are unhappy with the termination package being offered, do not sign any contracts, agreements, or packages without first consulting with an employment lawyer. In fact, it is wise to always consult with an employment lawyer before signing any documents provided by your employer.  An employment lawyer can help determine if the termination package offered by your employer is unreasonable and can help negotiate a better package should you be entitled to more than is being offered.

  • What do I do if I’ve been harassed at work?

    Workplace harassment occurs when someone says something or behaves in a way towards another that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome.

    Workplace harassment may include offensive comments or jokes, bullying, aggressive behaviour, inappropriate staring, sexual harassment, isolating or, for example, making fun of a worker because of their gender identity.

    If you feel you are being harassed at work, then you should consider telling your supervisor, manager or the person elected by your employer to deal with such issues. If you feel uncomfortable telling this person, you should consider informing the next available person on the seniority ladder. If you work in a unionized environment, consider contacting your union representative.

    If you have any questions about whether what you are experiencing at work may be considered harassment and possibly constructive/wrongful dismissal, what your rights are and/or how you to respond, contact Toronto employment lawyers Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email at mlahert@sultanlawers.com.

  • Is my employer required to pay me while on maternity leave?

    Employers are not required to pay their employees while they are on maternity leave. However, some employers may choose to ‘top-up’ an employee’s salary during their leave. Employers, unless they’re bound by a collective agreement or contract, do not have to offer a ‘top-up’ plan.

    Through the Employment Insurance Act, eligible employees may be entitled to employment insurance (“EI”) benefits to cover their entire maternity leave period (including parental and/or pregnancy).

    Employees who are on maternity leave are also entitled to continue participation in certain benefit plans (i.e. pension plans, medical plans etc.).

    Employees who are on maternity leave also continue to earn credit for length of service/seniority in their position.

    We can answer any questions you may have about your pay/benefit entitlement while on maternity leave and help in the event of a conflict. Please contact Toronto employment lawyers Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email at mlahert@sultanlawers.com.

  • What do I do if my employer fires me?

    If your employer terminates your employment, the law wants to ensure that you are provided with enough compensation so that you have enough time to secure another job without incurring any losses.

    Because there is a lot of confusion/misinformation about what an employee should receive on termination, we strongly recommend that an employee have any termination package or “offer” reviewed by an employment lawyer to ensure that the compensation provided for in the package meets your entitlements under the law. This is important to ensure that you were not wrongfully dismissed in the way you were treated and/or not being provided with enough compensation.

    Many individuals are not aware that, for example, while there are minimum notice/severance pay requirements under employment standards, there is a range of other things that employers must provide employees depending on the situation, which can result in significantly larger payments.

    It’s therefore important to pay attention to any deadlines provided in any offer letter you receive from your employer and not to sign off on anything until you are comfortable you are receiving sufficient compensation. This is specifically important because if you sign off there is a good chance that you are giving up your rights to sue for anything relating to your employment, including not just termination pay but also any other issues which may have occurred, such as loss of overtime pay or harassment. This approach can help you deal with any wrongful dismissal effectively.