8 Workplace Scenarios That Demand Legal Attention
Anyone who is an employee is impacted by general labour laws and employment contracts. Issues can arise during your employment for a number of reasons, some of the issues are normal conflicts arising from working and others are violations of your rights as an employee.
The question then becomes: when should you seek legal advice from an employment lawyer? Below are eight common issues that arise during employment which an employee should seek legal advice from an employment lawyer.
1. Employment Contracts
It is common practice for an employment relationship to be bound by a contract, whether it is in writing or spoken verbally. In today’s world, employment contracts are usually written to avoid confusion or future conflicts. Employment contracts often reduce the employee’s rights and the employer’s obligations to the employee.
The details of a contract are important to understand to ensure you agree to them. If there is a part of your contract that you do not understand or agree with, legal advice is wise to avoid complications with your employer in the future.
2. Wrongful Dismissal
An employee is entitled to notice of termination or monetary payment in the absence of notice. If an employee is not given notice of their termination or is not accommodated monetarily without notice, this is considered wrongful dismissal. Wrongful dismissal is a violation of labour laws and employment contracts.
3. Constructive Dismissal
If your employer has changed your job responsibilities or other work related duties drastically without your consent, this is considered constructive dismissal. Examples of constructive dismissal in the workplace include reduction in pay or other compensation, change in your reporting relationship, increased hours of work, reduction in responsibilities or status and intolerable workplace conditions such as violence and harassment.
4. Human Rights
Discrimination in the workplace for your race, sex, age, mental or physical disability, citizenship or any other reason is a violation of your employment rights. Typical issues arising from discrimination involve harassment, termination, promotions (or lack thereof) and any other action within the workplace fuelled by discrimination.
5. Harassment Suits
Harassment in any form is a breach of an employment contract because it is a toxic workplace environment which is negatively impacting your livelihood. If you are experiencing bullying, physical and/or sexual harassment in the workplace, a term of your employment contract has been broken. You have the right to a safe workplace without implications of harassment.
6. Severance Package Negotiations
When an employer terminates an employee without cause or notice they are required to compensate you via a severance package. Typically employers will not offer you a good severance package initially, negotiations are possible to attain a more suitable and fair severance package through employment lawyers.
7. Union Contract Violations
As a unionized employee, you are subject to a collective agreement which is a contract that outlines the employment procedures for involved employers, employees and the union. If you are protected under a union agreement and they have not followed the appropriate procedures under the collective agreement that you are entitled to, such as inappropriate treatment of a grievance, the terms of the agreement have been breached.
8. Class Action Lawsuits
Employers occasionally engage in activities to reduce their workforce, usually for cost savings purposes. If an employer engages in an activity that impacts a massive number of employees, for example group termination or “voluntary” pay cuts, employment lawyers can represent all the impacted employees through a class action lawsuit.