Frequently Asked Questions

My employer has given me a letter terminating my job immediately. What can I do?

DON’T SIGN ANYTHING (even if your employer is giving you a deadline of a few days). Take a day (or a weekend) off to talk to a trusted friend or relative about your disappointment and frustration. You will be to think more clearly. Then give me a call at 416-383-0550.

My employer has given me written notice that I will be fired in a certain number of weeks. What can I do?

Don’t sign anything. Talk to someone you trust.

It will be difficult to return to work with the knowledge that you will be out of a job shortly. Take some time off if you need to. If you are having trouble coping or sleeping, visit your doctor.

How do I know that my employer is offering a fair termination package?

You don’t. By law, if you have been employed at least 3 months the minimum you are entitled to is one week’s pay per year of employment to a maximum of eight weeks. Many employers will offer you the minimum, or slightly higher than the minimum. You can usually do better than that.

You are usually entitled to be paid in accordance with the “common law”. There is a widely held view that the common law entitles you to one month’s pay per year of employment. In fact, this is rarely true.

The calculation of your entitlement under the common law is based on a variety of factors and cannot be determined with scientific precision. These factors include your age, level of responsibility in the company, ability to find alternative employment, length of employment and other possible factors.

Your best option is to meet with an employment law lawyer in person. Call me at 416-383-0550 to set up an appointment to determine whether you received a fair termination package or not.

My employer has given me written notice that I am being laid off. Am I entitled to receive a package?

Not necessarily. Your employer is entitled to lay you off without a package if the layoff is no more than 13 weeks in any period of 20 consecutive weeks. In some instances, the employer is also entitled to lay you off without a package if the layoff is less than 35 weeks in any period of 52 consecutive weeks (one year).

I would urge you to make a careful note of the layoff date and keep an eye on your calendar in the following weeks. Then decide what is best for you: Apply for Employment Insurance? Look for another job? Speak to your employer? All of the above?

If you are still unsure, or if your layoff extends beyond 13 weeks, I would be pleased to speak to you by telephone (416-383-0550) or in person.

My employer is firing me for “cause”. What can I do?

Your employer is sending a signal to you that it is prepared to play hardball.  It is not prepared to pay you anything beyond back wages and vacation pay (and sometimes delays paying even these).  The good news is that the employer must prove its allegation of “cause”.  However, in most cases employers won’t allege cause unless they believe they can prove it.

Give me a call at 416-383-0550 for a legal opinion as to whether your employer is likely to succeed in proving “cause” or not.

Things at work have suddenly got worse for me in the past few weeks. What can I do?

It depends on what has changed. If your work conditions – such as hours of work, rate of pay, amount of benefits – have changed to your disadvantage without you receiving anything in return, you likely have grounds to pursue a claim for “constructive dismissal”. However, proceed cautiously, since your employer likely won’t reach the same conclusion. Therefore, you should take no action until you have spoken to me at 416-383-0550.

If you are being treated badly by a new co-worker or manager, your best course of action is to speak to your boss.  If your boss is the source of the problem, speak to the boss of your boss.  Put your concerns in writing if necessary.  Be persistent, but always polite.  Usually, employers will take action to resolve the problem.  If not, or if the employer’s action is inadequate, give me a call.

I have been off work on Long Term Disability benefits. I have been notified that my benefits will be cut off. What can I do?

Call me to book an appointment as soon as possible.  Bring any and all documents with you.  We need to meet face to face to determine whether the Long Term Disability insurer has adequate grounds to terminate your benefits, or not.

I have been sick for a long time. My employer is demanding that I return to work or I will be fired. What can I do?

Speak to your family doctor immediately.  Ask your family doctor if you should return to work.  If your family doctor agrees you should not return to work, ask for a note confirming this and forward it to your employer.  If your employer still demands you return to work, you should seek a legal opinion immediately.  Call me at 416-383-0550.

If your doctor does believe you should return to work, it would be best if you would follow his or her advice. If you strongly believe your doctor is wrong, get a second medical opinion.

My union has done little or nothing to help me. Can you do anything?

Let me begin with the bad news. I can be of little or no assistance. Once a collective bargaining agreement is signed, you are bound by that agreement. This means that you must use your union if you have any dispute with your employer. If your union is doing a bad job for you, you would be correct in concluding that you are in a bad “marriage”. Unlike a real marriage, however, you do not have the option to “divorce” your union.

The good news is that unions usually respond in a helpful way if you are polite and persistent. Contact your union shop steward or union official in person or by telephone. Make a note of any calls you have made and/or messages you have left. If you don’t get a response, send a letter. Mention all the calls you have made and the dates you made them. Be polite once you get a response. But be persistent. If this still doesn’t work, contact the Labour Relations Board.

After speaking to the Labour Relations Board you may decide to bring a complaint against your union. If you need help with your complaint, give me a call at 416-383-0550.

Disclaimer: The information provided on www.kmlawyer.ca is not intended to be legal advice. If you need help regarding any legal issues, you should consult a lawyer.

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