Seeing an employment lawyer is one of the important ways to move forward after you have been laid off or fired. Employers do not always follow the rules when it comes to terminating employees, and there is a good chance that you may be entitled to much more than what your employer is offering you. The best way to secure your legal rights is to speak with an employment lawyer.
What are your rights in Ontario if you have been laid off or fired?
If you are laid off or fired, you may be entitled to reasonable notice of your termination. Reasonable notice is a calculation based on several factors, including but not limited to:
• length of tenure,
• seniority of your position,
• salary, and
• the availability of similar employment.
Common law reasonable notice is often much more than the minimums stipulated in the Employment Standards Act (ESA). An employment lawyer will be able to advise if you are entitled to reasonable notice based on your employment contract and termination package.
The 6 things an employment lawyer can do for you when you have been laid off or fired
If you have been laid off or fired, an employment lawyer will work to enforce your rights and entitlements to ensure you receive the fairest possible severance package, given your situation and the most current law. The employment lawyers at Monkhouse Law have been able to push the law forward in a number of areas including, entitlement to bonus plans during the notice period, the determination of the frivolous nature of a counterclaim against an employee and the standard for just cause to fire an employee.
1. Review your severance package
It is likely that your employer is attempting to save money by offering you an inadequate severance package when you are laid off or fired. An employment lawyer will be able to advise if your severance package is appropriate in the context of your particular situation and the current law.
2. Ensure you are properly classified
Some employers attempt to limit their liability when they lay off or fire employees by intentionally misclassifying the employee as “an independent contractor.” Regular, full-time employees have more entitlements than independent contractors. Employers do this to avoid paying employees vacation pay, statutory holiday pay, and medical and dental benefits. An employment lawyer can assess if you are properly classified and enforce your rights if you are not.
3. Assess your human rights violation or bad faith claims
In Ontario, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you based on a protected ground in the Human Rights Code. It is also illegal for an employer to handle your termination in a high- handed, bad faith, or a manner that reflects unfair dealing. If they have engaged in such conduct, your employer could be liable for damages to you. An employment lawyer can assess the conduct of your employer and determine if you have a claim for these kinds of damages.
4. Defend a counterclaim
Employers can bring counterclaims against an employee who is suing them for wrongful dismissal damages. Often, individual employees have never been sued before, and it can be a very stressful process. An employment lawyer can advise you of the viability of your employer’s claims and provide a defence to such claims.
5. Negotiate with your employer
Most lawsuits in Ontario settle before trial. An employment lawyer will be able to assess your claim and advise you on whether an offer from your employer is fair and reasonable in light of the risk, cost, and delay associated with the trial of a matter.
6. Take a case to trial and beyond
If you and your employer cannot agree to settle your claim, an employment lawyer will be ready to take your matter to trial to obtain a judgment. If necessary, an employment lawyer will also be able to appeal a decision.
If you have been laid off or fired, the employment lawyers at Monkhouse Law can help you maximize your severance package and ensure that your rights and entitlements at law are respected by your employer.
Monkhouse Law practices workplace law and can help navigate these complex legal issues for both employers and employees. We are highly knowledgeable in both Canadian Employment Law and Ontario Employment Law.