Firing, hiring raise legal issues

Date: 2006
Author: Daniel A. Lublin
Publication: Metro
I mean, there’s no arguing. There is no anything. There is no beating around the bush. You’re fired is a very strong term. —Donald Trump
Donald Trump has made a fortune with the use of the phrase, “You’re fired!” on his hit reality television series The Apprentice. However, the former contestants or “apprentices” can’t be all too pleased about having been terminated and embarrassed on national television. It’s a good thing they can’t sue The Donald for wrongful dismissal.
Most people don’t stop to consider the legal rights and obligations that surround their employment relationship. They may not think it is necessary to know. Or they are simply discouraged by all the legal jargon.
However, for those people in situations similar to the contestants on The Apprentice, being fired or hired can raise a number of important legal issues that have a far-reaching impact. This new weekly column, Employment Law 101, will help you understand the legal aspects of your workplace relationship, and ensure that you are aware of the employment laws that affect you in the workplace.
This column is designed to give you job-related, legal information and a better understanding of employment law and its impact on how and what you do at work.
How can Employment Law 101 help you? Employment law concerns the legal aspects of your job, or as the case may be, your termination. Understanding which legal issues may potentially exist, and what you can do about them, can assist you in understanding when you are right, when you are wrong or when you should seek legal counsel.
Here’s a list of common misconceptions people have about their legal rights in the workplace:

  1. I am entitled to a severance package equal to one month for every year I have worked.
  2. I can take my vacation whenever I want.
  3. I can’t just be fired without a “payout.”
  4. The employment agreement I signed years ago doesn’t have any impact on my employment now.
  5. I received my statutory employment standards payments and therefore I’m not entitled to anything else.
  6. There is nothing I can do, if I am denied employment insurance payments.

This list identifies only a few misconceptions. However, employment law covers a broad variety of workplace issues, including wrongful dismissal, reasonable notice periods, employment standards, policies, rules at work, and human rights. Whether these phrases sound foreign to you now, reading this column will help you to better manage any issues or problems that may arise from time-to-time at work.
Join me next week for my inaugural column, when
I examine Internet and e-mail misuse at work, and
how you may unknowingly be breaking the law.