When faced with an employment problem many people and small business owners will turn to the Ministry of Labour to obtain information and advice about their rights and how to enforce those rights; usually because the information the Ministry will provide is free. While the Ministry of Labour provides this very useful and necessary service, it's extremely important that individuals and business owners are aware that the Ministry is only providing advice under the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The ESA is minimum legislation with respect to employee/employer obligations and quite often people are surprised to learn that this is often trumped by the Common Law (judge made law). For example, the amount of notice an employer is required to provide under the Common Law can be significantly more than under the ESA. Under the ESA, a 10-year employee who is terminated without cause would be eligible for 8 weeks pay in lieu of notice under the ESA, however, that same employee could be entitled to as much as 40 weeks pay in lieu of notice under the common law. I think most people would agree that 32 weeks of extra pay is a significant difference. There can also be issues of discrimination or constructive dismissal that could be happening within your employment that a Ministry representative would not be equipped to consider.
Whether you're an employee that is being offered a new job or is being terminated, or you're an employer who is hiring or terminating an employee, it's a good idea to meet with a Employment Lawyer to ensure that you understand your rights and how to enforce them. A small fee today for the right advice can save significant costs or losses in the future. Contact me today if I can help.