Wrongful Termination Lawyer: When Do I Need One

Wrongful Termination Lawyer: When Do I Need One?

Given the complexity of workplace relationships and employment law, many employees and employers may not know when it is best to consult a wrongful termination lawyer. Described below are some appropriate times to consult a wrongful termination lawyer to determine legal entitlements and minimize legal risks. 

Termination of Employment – Hiring a Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Employees that are formally terminated by their employer are typically provided written notice indicating they were terminated, information about whether the termination was with or without cause, what minimum severance entitlements they would receive pursuant to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, and in many cases an additional severance offer. Some employers may also require the employee to sign additional documents as part of their termination, including a Full and Final Release.

Before signing anything upon termination with or without cause, an employee should seek a consultation with a wrongful termination lawyer to determine what their complete legal entitlements may be in the circumstances. An employee may be pressured by their employer to sign a Full and Final Release promptly, but there is no legal obligation for the employee to do so. 

Employers may also benefit from seeking a wrongful termination lawyer’s advice to minimize their risk to legal liability when terminating an employee, or even when initially drafting an employment agreement’s termination clause. If termination is done improperly, deceptively or otherwise inappropriately, a court may find the employer owes damages in addition to an employee’s severance entitlements and the employee’s legal costs.  Terminations with cause are particularly risky for employers without first seeking legal advice. 

Can a Wrongful Termination Lawyer Help When Terms of Employment Changes?

When an employer makes a unilateral and non-consensual change to an employee’s terms of employment, such as a change in their hours, location, duties, title, and/or pay, the employee should seek the advice of a wrongful termination lawyer to determine the best course of action. If there is a sufficiently significant change to an employee’s terms of employment by the employer without proper consent, the employee may be entitled to severance through a claim for constructive dismissal

Employers should consult with a wrongful termination lawyer before making changes to an employee’s terms of employment or if an employee tenders a formal resignation in response to any changes to their employment. Should an employer face a constructive dismissal claim, they should promptly seek legal advice to ensure they take necessary steps and raise every defence possible to minimize their legal liability. 

What Is Workplace Discipline?

While workplace discipline is never pleasant, an employee should consult a wrongful termination lawyer when there is no basis or grounds for the punishment. Employees subject to dishonest workplace discipline or extreme workplace disciplinary measures, such as suspension without pay, may have a claim for constructive dismissal and entitlement to severance. 

Employers benefit from consulting wrongful termination lawyers when deciding to progressively discipline and potentially terminate an employee with cause after patterns of misconduct. It is important for employers to emphasize the need for improvement and to be proportional in disciplining the employee to minimize legal risks. A wrongful termination lawyer can advise as to how workplace discipline should be conducted to minimize legal risks to the employer in the circumstances. 

Experiencing Workplace Bullying and Harassment

There is no incorrect time to seek a wrongful termination lawyer’s advice if an employee is facing bullying and harassment in their workplace. Whether it is an isolated incident or a pattern of misconduct that creates a toxic workplace, an employee should seek legal advice when they feel they can no longer return to their workplace. It is important to address these issues as soon as possible to determine the best possible legal steps. 

Employers responding to workplace harassment and legal claims arising out of same should contact a wrongful termination lawyer as soon as possible. The way investigations into workplace bullying and harassment are conducted and how such events in the workplace are addressed by the employer could give rise to legal claims from employees, including constructive dismissal and damages for breach of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act

What About Human Rights Issues?

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, employees are entitled to a workplace free from harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Employers are obligated to accommodate an employee’s Human Rights needs to the point of undue hardship under the Code. If an employee feels they are being harassed, sexually harassed, and/or is otherwise receiving negative differential treatment based on any of the protected grounds under the Code, they should promptly contact a wrongful termination lawyer to determine their rights. It is especially important for employees to reach out to a lawyer if their accommodation requests were denied by their employer.  

Employers should seek the advice of a wrongful termination lawyer to understand their obligations under the Code when dealing with any job applicants or employees who fall under the relevant grounds. To minimize the potential for a Human Rights claim, an employer’s hiring process, internal complaint management and employee relations practices must fully comply with the Code. Employers would also benefit from consulting a wrongful termination lawyer when an employee requests workplace accommodation for family, religious, health-related or other Human Rights needs. 

No Wrong Time

While there are many crucial points to discuss an employment problem with a wrongful termination lawyer, it is important for both employees and employers to seek legal advice as soon as they feel a workplace issue needs to be addressed. There is no wrong time to seek a consultation to determine one’s legal rights and confirm best practices moving forward. 

Contact A Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Whether you are an employer or an employee looking for assistance with your workplace issues, disputes or employment relationships, our team of experienced wrongful termination lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at +1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.