Employment Contracts

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I sign my severance package?

    Almost never. Whereas on occasion we are inclined to recommend signing the first offer made by the dismissing employer, 99% of the time we can improve upon that offer. Severance is an inherently nuanced matter and improvements are always possible. This is not limited to the gross payment either. Improvements can take many forms such as favourable tax structuring, positive professional references and adequate assurances that you will actually get the money on offer.

    The first call is always free and we almost always find a way to improve the first offer that was made.

  • Is my employment contract valid?

    In many ways contractual provisions can be illegal. If your contract contains one or more onerous or offensive provisions, there is a good chance those provisions are invalid. Examples of invalid provisions include, without any limitation:

    • variance from the provisions of employment standards legislation
    • variance from the provisions of human rights legislation
    • unconscionability generally
    • the addition of onerous terms after employment has started (especially in the absence of a corresponding benefit such as a raise)
    • you never having agreed to the term expressly or implicitly

    Employers should contact us prior to sending out employment offers. Many online precedents are American and contain clauses which are illegal in Canada (such as "at will" employment).

    Employees should contact us at any time they feel they are being subjected to unfair treatment of any kind.

  • How experienced are you?

    Our experience is deep indeed.

    Since his call to the bar in 2009 as far as we are aware no lawyer in Canada has conducted more employment law cases than our principal, Martin Sheard. Martin has won dozens of adjudications across a wide spectrum of venues.

    In addition to being one of the very few employment lawyers who has argued a case at the Supreme Court of Canada, Martin served two terms as the elected chair of the civil litigation subsection of the BC branch of the Canadian Bar Association and two terms as the elected chair of the employment law subsection of the BC branch of the Canadian Bar Association.

    Martin has successfully argued in the following venues:

    Leave applications to Supreme Court of Canada
    British Columbia Court of Appeal
    British Columbia Supreme Court
    Ontario Superior Court of Justice
    Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench
    Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench
    Saskatchewan Court of Appeal
    Canadian Human Rights Commission
    Employment Standards Branch (BC)
    Employment Standards Appeal Tribunal (BC)
    Human Rights Tribunal (BC)
    Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (BC)

  • What can an employment lawyer do for my business?

    Many times people are unaware of the risks employment law poses to their business prior to being sued for the first time. Jaws can quickly drop to the floor when we explain the extent of exposure to such a business. But pre-emptive employment advice is like purchasing insurance. Together we can draw up workplace policies that:

    1. foster a safe working environment;
    2. curtail 99% of would-be employment litigation; and
    3. reduce the risk of losing if such litigation occurs.

    We are almost never confronted with a workplace issue we have not seen before. With our experience we know how to get in front of almost any problem. Let us show you how.

  • What can I do about sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.

    It all depends.

    For survivors:
    If you want to listen to the laws of yesteryear, the practical answer is you have no good options.

    But what if you tell someone you want to test your theory that the law has changed and it is time to see if a judge agrees? Our consistent experience has been that no person wants to find out. So what the law says and what you can actually achieve via litigation are not always the same thing. Contact us to find out more.

    For businesses:
    For personal reasons we are unable to defend matters in which sexual misconduct is admitted. We are, however, willing to draft policy manuals which ensure a safe workplace or to take up the defence of a wrongly-accused individual.