Why You Should Consult An Employment Lawyer

Anyone who provides services, whether in a traditional relationship, such as an employee and employer, or as an independent contractor, may have some rights and should, under certain circumstances, seek advice through an Employment lawyer.

People usually seek the advice of an Employment lawyer after something has gone wrong. They do it as a reaction to something that’s happening in the workplace. That may be a termination of employment, they may have received a poor performance appraisal, or be concerned with a new role that they’ve been offered within the organization.

• You should see an Employment lawyer if your employment is terminated,
• You receive a new contract, such as, a non-competition agreement,
• demotion, or
• promotion.

The Importance of Being Proactive

I would say that 70-80 per cent of my clients are reacting to something. That’s not the best way of dealing with these things. It’s best to be proactive at the very inception of a job or a change in position. It’s hard to argue, after six months have expired, that you really did object to being demoted to another position, for example. By the time six months have expired, you’ve been deemed to acquiesce to the situation. The time to deal with the change was six months before.

Many people, at the beginning of their employment relationship, are excited about the prospect of being re-employed or having found that dream job, and they don’t seek out legal advice, which is unfortunate. It’s easier to get things straight right from the beginning, to make sure that everyone’s expectations are expressed in an employment agreement or at the very minimum ensure the documentation represents what you agreed to. If you do these proactive steps at the beginning, it leads to fewer problems later on in the case where there is a disagreement between the parties. Furthermore, it’s easier to get people to agree on things when people are happy about the prospect of working together, rather than at the end when there’s been something to tarnish the relationship.

Importance of having things in writing

Often clients will say, “I was promised that at the beginning.” It may be a salary increase within six months of employment, a job evaluation, a performance appraisal, or a job description. If you don’t have those promises on paper, it’s extremely difficult to go back and say, “You promised me this and it’s not materializing and we need to remedy it.”

Because it’s not in writing, you don’t have an enforceable agreement to show your employer when disagreements arise. Inevitably, in any kind of relationship, disagreements arise over what the terms were. Unless the terms are in writing, it’s hard to say and most importantly difficult to prove (retroactively) what that agreement really was.

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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.