Frequently Asked Questions About Employment Law

The most common question asked by employees who seek counsel is “I’ve been terminated and is my package reasonable?” That’s a difficult question to answer.

It’s not a formula. You can’t just add age plus years of service and come up with a figure for what reasonable notice should be. Determining what package an employee is entitled to is a consideration of many different factors, including whether there was an agreement at the inception of the employment, was the employee induced to leave permanent secure employment to accept work with the employer, character of employment, and level of position to name a few. There is a plethora of circumstances which have to be considered when assessing what is a reasonable termination package. The calculation of a reasonable package is fact specific.

Another common question is “My employer wants to change my position, are they allowed to do that?” The answer to this is loaded. An employment lawyer will look at the particular circumstances, including whether there was a history of changing positions, whether there was an employment agreement or some sort of written contract which allows the employer to change the employee’s position, and the nature of the change. Does the change impact the remuneration to which the employee is entitled? Is it a lateral move or a promotion? These are all things that have to be examined before providing a legal opinion with respect to whether an employer can change the position or not.

A third question is “Can I get my job back?” Many employees, after they have been terminated from their employment, are not concerned with a severance or notice package. Ultimately they want their employment back. Generally employees are not entitled to be reinstated to their employment. There are some exceptions to that including where there is a breach of Human Rights Legislation, where the employer is federally regulated for employment purposes, and where the employee has not been reinstated to their employment after taking maternity leave. In most cases employees do not have a right to their position; their entitlements are restricted to the calculation of a reasonable package.

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If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with employment law issues in the Ottawa, Ontario Region, contact Law Office of Melynda Layton.

This article is taken from an interview on June 29, 2007 with Melynda Layton, Employment Lawyer at Law Office of Melynda Layton , an Ottawa, Ontario Employment Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.