Toronto Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin hosted a live chat on the Globe and Mail’s Career section, where he answered reader’s legal questions regarding their employment law matters. These topics varied from terminations and severance packages, mass layoffs, non-compete/non-solicitation clauses, maternity leave legal rights and the legality with respect to employment contracts.

This month alone, the media has been soaring with news of mass terminations at SNC Lavalin Group Inc. (laying off 4,000 workers) and Wal Mart Canada (laying off 200 workers). Other big companies, such as CIBC and Bombardier have headed in the same path.  As a result, employees and employers alike are being affected and questioning what their legal rights are.

Mr. Lublin provided the following facts and suggestions to provide some sense of direction in regards to your employment matters:

  • An Employer can never absolve itself from the requirement to pay severance under the Legislation; if you are Employer- you can pre-define severance requirements to the minimum, if you are an Employee- you want to negotiate and challenge the severance clauses (amount of pay) or get rid of them altogether.
  • You should never be forced to sign anything on the spot!  Advise your Employer that you are not signing anything until you have a chance to review and consider the offer. Tell the Employer you will get back to them in a couple days.
  • Terminations for “cause” place an onus on the Employer to prove misconduct that was beyond reproach and intolerable. If it cannot be proven, you can be awarded wrongful dismissal damages. For “cause” terminations require no advanced warning and severance pay is not a requirement.
  • Always try negotiating with your Employer before resorting to a lawsuit. However, even in negotiating, you should consult with an Employment Law expert who can negotiate on your behalf and advise you on where and how you can negotiate.
  • Courts will uphold non-compete/non-solicitation clauses when drafted and implemented properly, and not overly restricted in terms of length or geography. That said, not too many clauses meet all of these requirements.