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 should I choose my lawyer?
Fundamentally, it is a question of 'fit.' If we do not have mutual respect and trust, the relationship is not going to be viable. But at Inlet Law we would rather see a client not hire us than try to convince them to do something that does not feel right. Ours is not the only approach to the practice of law and if you are dissatisfied with our advice or even unsure we would be more than happy to point you to other leading practitioners at other firms. If we are going to lose your business we want to lose it to other prominent and capable lawyers.
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.
How much is my case going to cost?
This is a good question, though one that is essentially impossible to answer. Some cases are resolved after just a few letters. In other cases the parties fight for eight years to get to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the result is that a new trial is ordered.
99.9% of cases fall on the spectrum in between.
So although it is a good question, the correct focus is whether your case is worth pursuing. That is the advice we give on day 1 and in more than 99% of cases we get more for our clients than what they pay. We are also often willing to take cases on a contingency basis, where we only get paid if/when we obtain a result.
The first phone call is always free, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
What can I do about sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.
It all depends.
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 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.
When is the right time to call a lawyer?
A very unfortunate irony is that many of our clients contact us too late as a result of fearing the potential costs of retaining a lawyer. In fact, with almost no exceptions, the earlier you contact a lawyer the better. Many times there are steps you can take at the very beginning of a problem (or potential problem) which can save thousands of dollars down the road. The best time to address a wrongful dismissal is usually in the hiring letter/contract.
A prominent Canadian businessperson and client of ours once told us that paying for our advice is actually a good way to make money. We agree. If we cannot add value we will say so in our first phone call, which is free. So if you even think you might want legal advice, please consider calling us to hear what we think.
Frequently Asked Questions
I worked with Martin Sheard at Tevlin Gleadle. He provided great advice and guided me through the best course of action.— Anthony McLaughlin / Founder of Ambr Digital