Employment litigation is a scary concept for many.
Whether litigation is meant to go to the Courts or to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the process often starts with a demand letter setting out the rights and entitlements of employees.
Employers receive demand letters from employees for various reasons, some with merit, and some without. Often, the issues surround the topic of money, compensation for termination, compensation for bullying and harassment, or discrimination on the basis of Human Rights.
Negotiation and settlement are predicated on a number of factors, including the company’s bottom line, risk exposure, and precedent-setting, among other factors.
Most of the time, the decision to negotiate and to what extent will depend on personal factors that are only known to you.
Sometimes a breakdown in the employment relationship that results in a demand letter simply comes from hurt feelings and uncertainty in the future of employment. A thorough understanding of these causes of employment litigation is critical in resolving matters once the demand letter has been received. A demand letter is often an invitation to have a conversation regarding the end of the employment relationship. Deft handling of the issues at play can enable a negotiated outcome that addresses a former employee’s concerns whilst protecting the goodwill that companies strive to develop with their other employees.
Should negotiations not happen following demand letters, employees can choose to issue and file a Statement of Claim with the Superior Court of Justice. Employers or defendants will have to file a Statement of Defence to defend the allegations contained in the Statement of Claim.
Mediation or Discoveries
Mediation is the process of having a confidential and private settlement discussion, over the duration of a few hours, in an attempt to resolve all or part of the issues. Often, mediation is the final step and leads to finality for both parties. However, sometimes, the parties hold on to positions that are diametrically opposed, to the point that the breaking down of events and details through the process of Discoveries is needed.
Sometimes, parties can decide to resort to the filing of Motions in order to advance their case expeditiously. Not all motions are necessary or permissible, and they come with their own risks. However, make sure you are in the hands of capable employment lawyers who know how to successfully use the litigation process to your advantage.
Motions for Summary Judgement are a type of procedure similar to a mini-trial – allowing either of the parties to advance their case, through a speedier process of litigation, often in one day. Motions for Summary Judgment are reserved for certain types of cases with issues that are limited and do not require a full-blown trial. These motions are powerful ways to get to a quicker resolution without having to endure years of waiting.
Having lawyers in your corner that possess the skill to craft offers tailored to drive settlement and conclude litigation when necessary, and go through with trial when the circumstances arise, is invaluable.
Our lawyers understand the risks inherent in litigation both for employers and employees. This allows our firm to act decisively to manage settlement opportunities in the litigation process. We will advise on gathering document obligations and strategies to facilitate resolution, whichever side you are on.
Practical experience during employment litigation allows for managing legal costs in a way that maintains the company’s target in terms and deadlines and the bottom line.