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We Can Help

Have you ever given up your seat on the subway, held open a door for a disabled person, given directions to a stranger? We are all brought up with values of goodwill, generosity and honesty.

Aren’t employers and insurers held up to the same standards of honesty and fair play when dealing with their loyal and diligent Employees?

The last forty -five years have seen a relentless reform in the law for non-unionized workers who have been terminated from their employment. It has not been easy – employers have fought this progress tooth and nail. But now in Canada, severance, re-instatement and lost benefits compensation are the orders of the day. Employers have to be fair, honest and compassionate to their employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Unfair treatment of vulnerable employees such as the ill or disabled and pregnant women will not be tolerated.

We are Employment lawyers with a mission to ensure that your employer and their insurance company treats you in accordance with the requirements of our law. We will ensure that you are treated fairly and respectfully. Our experienced team of employee advocates understand your need to have the financial and emotional burdens that you feel resolve themselves quickly and effectively.

Awareness of your rights is the power to level the playing field. When you feel you cannot take your Employer on alone – Contact us, we can help.

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Level the Playing Field

For most employees, legal fees are a mystifying thing. In Canada, the cost of legal services should be guided by three major principles 1) time 2) complexity of the case and 3) the result.

In the vast majority of cases no “up front” retainer is required. We work on a recovery system which values the legal fees based on the results obtained either through settlement or a legal determination. We will make an exhaustive attempt to settle your case before any formal proceeding/claim is required however, if that becomes necessary, any initial outlay of expenses including out of pocket disbursements and applicable court filing fees are minimized to put you on a level playing field with your former employer. We always provide you with an estimate of the costs involved. In all cases a fee and services commitment letter is provided when the file is opened.

At the conclusion of your case, we will provide you with assistance and a detailed account for all services which will enable you to submit your costs to Revenue Canada as all legal fees incurred in the course of an employment matter are often tax deductible.

Legal costs should never be a deterrent to obtaining your lawful entitlements. Contact us to arrange your initial no charge consultation.

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Need Practical Advice?

At Lecker & Associates our first step is to thoroughly understand your case and provide you with options in a clear manner that allows you to make the right decisions. In other words we use everyday language that is not confusing. By understanding how traumatic any legal undertaking can be for former employees who have undergone a stressful termination we tailor our approach through a methodology that quickly assesses your rights and current legal status.  At our employment law firm we consider your requirements a priority.

Lecker & Associates, Toronto Employment and Disability Lawyers have been providing services to wrongfully terminated employees for over 30 years. As an advocate for employees we specialize in cases involving; Wrongful Dismissal, Constructive Dismissal, Employment Law in Ontario, Employment Contracts,  Maternity Leave Sexual Harassment in the workplace, and other work related issues.

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What You Really Should Know About:

Wrongful Dismissal:

An employee who has been fired without cause such as “economic restructuring” is the one true innocent party before our Courts. Past performance or work history are irrelevant to the assessment. The question is not ‘are you entitled to compensation’ it’s really ‘how much‘ .

Bram A. Lecker  B.A.  LLb.

An employee can choose to sue an employer in a court of law for wrongful dismissal. However, an employee can’t sue an employer for wrongful dismissal and at the same time have a claim for termination or severance pay investigated by the Ministry of Labour (the “Labour Board”) for the same termination or severance. The employee must choose one procedure or the other.

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Bad Faith Dismissal

A 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision, Wallace v. United Grain Growers Ltd., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 701, 1997 CanLII 332 (which is considered to be one of the most influential employment law decisions to date) established the standard requiring employers to treat employees with good faith and fair dealing at the time of their termination.

As a result of this case, a court will now consider an employer’s insensitive conduct and dealings with the employee as a factor when awarding damages to a wrongfully dismissed employee. Some examples of insensitive / bad faith conduct at the time of termination include:

  • Not being honest, reasonable or straightforward with the employee;
  • Misleading the employee;
  • Humiliating or embarrassing the employee;
  • Making unfounded allegations or negative public statements about the employee;
  • Falsely assuring the employee continued job security;
  • Refusing to produce a letter of reference or record of employment;
  • Not returning any personal property left at the office;
  • Firing the employee immediately upon returning from a disability leave;
  • Withholding money that is owed to the employee at the time of termination.
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Constructive Dismissal

Changes in employment that frequently give rise to constructive dismissal claims are outlined below:

Reduction in Remuneration / Pay

  • The Employer imposes a “material change” in any remuneration – usually 15% or more,  without  providing reasonable notice of the change

Demotion and  Unilateral Change

  • Courts look at such factors as the substance of the new position, not just the job title; the range of salaries of the previous and new position as well as the organization’s general career path and where the position fits within its plan;
  • Change in the responsibilities at work;
  • If a person is hired to fill a specific job function, they usually cannot be forced to assume another one;
  • Geographic transfer;

Toxic Work Environment

  •  Harassing, intimidating and humiliating conduct by an employer or peers that results in illness or forces an employee to leave the workplace.

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Termination

How do the courts dealing in employment law decide how much severance you will get or your entitlement to reasonable notice of your termination?

The most pivotal factors and items that a court will look at when using this approach:

  • The type of employment and position held. If you perform more managerial or supervisory duties, you are entitled to more severance pay. If your job or position is highly specialized and it is difficult to replace you, you will receive more severance as well.
  • The length of your employment with the employer. If you have been with the company for a longer period, you are entitled to more severance. However, the length itself is not always definitive. Some short-term employees can be entitled to substantial severance packages depending on the other three factors of the test or if you were induced to leave a secure job.
  • Your age at the time of termination of your employment. The courts generally take the view that older employees will have a greater difficulty finding a job similar to the one they were just fired from. As a result, courts usually award older employees more severance.
  • The availability of similar employment that matches your experience, training and qualifications. Here, a court will consider all of the circumstances that are either preventing or helping you to find another, similar job.

When it comes to assessing how much money you’re going to get once you’ve been terminated, you should consult with an employment lawyer before agreeing to anything that may affect your legal entitlements.

Legal Update: As a result of recent changes to the regulations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, employers in Ontario are now required to pay both statutory notice and severance to employees whose employment has been terminated due to frustration of contract (employment) arising from illness or injury.

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