Employment Law

Employment Law - legal advice

Information about the law is not a substitute for legal advice

Legal information provided on our website is not a substitute for legal advice addressing the particular circumstances of your situation. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” in applying the law to the particular circumstances of your case. The information about the law that we provide on our website is intended to be general information only, which we hope will provide you with a basic introduction to the law before you seek legal advice from a lawyer.

We provide legal advice to individual employees on a full range of employment law issues, including employment contracts, severance or termination settlement offers, minimum employment standards, human rights and workplace bullying and harassment. Ideally, the time to obtain advice about your employment contract is at the time when it is offered, rather than waiting until the contract is breached or terminated. However, it is never too late to seek legal advice about the terms of your employment contract and/or severance offer. For a confidential initial consultation for $28.00 (including tax), please complete our New Client Intake Form.

 

Employment Law
The terms and conditions of employment of non-unionized employees are governed by both minimum standards legislation and by law principles derived from common law jurisprudence.  Remarkably, some vestiges of the feudal era such as an employee’s duties of loyalty and  fidelity continue to influence the employment relationship.  

Jurisdiction

The sector in which you are employed establishes whether your employment relationship is regulated by federal or provincial legislation. Individuals employed in banking, inter-provincial transportation, national defense, inter-provincial telecommunications, penitentiaries, are regulated by Federal law. There are also different regulatory regimes for persons employed in construction,  and the public and private sectors. Likewise, individuals employed by a city or a municipality may be affected by provincial legislation. The sector in which you are employed may affect the time limit within which you must commence legal proceedings. For example, some municipal employees must serve notice of the claim and commence legal proceedings within 6 months of the alleged breach.

Written employment contract

A letter of offer or an employment contract signed either at the commencement of employment or subsequently may also affect an individual’s rights and obligations. The written employment contract may state how much notice of resignation an employee must give to an employer. Similarly, a written employment contract may limit how much notice of termination that an employer may have to provide to an employee.

Often there is no written employment agreement between the employer and the employee or there is no express provision in the agreement limiting a dismissed employee’s right to reasonable notice if dismissed without cause. Where there is no written employment contract or there is a written contract but it does not limit an employee’s right to reasonable notice, the law implies a term that an employee employed under a contract of indefinite duration may be dismissed only a) for cause without notice; or b) upon providing reasonable notice. An employee’s right to reasonable notice is not applicable only a) when the employer can prove cause for dismissal; b) where there is a clear and unambiguous clause expressly limiting an employee’s right to reasonable notice. For further information, see our Wrongful Dismissal webpage.

Whether or not there is a written contract, employment standards legislation establishes a minimum threshold of employment rights, e.g., minimum wage, entitlement to overtime compensation, hours of work, termination pay, and maternity leave, etc. Any written agreement between an employee and employer that provides for less than the minimum  employment standard is unenforceable. For further information see our Employment Standards webpage.