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What does an employment lawyer do?
In an increasingly litigious world, an employment lawyer performs a crucial role in maintaining an equal balance in the workplace between employers and employees.
Tasked with providing legal advice and redress for most matters relating to the workplace, the work of these lawyers, nonetheless, remains distinct from the work of a labour lawyer. What’s important to note, here, is that employment law primarily deals with the rights of individuals, whereas labour law deals with groups of employees and collective action through trade unions.
With the workplace becoming more complex, especially as economies rise and fall and human identity and values clash with greater frequency, the work of an employment lawyer is important as it allows for the resolution of these challenges with legal force.
Here’s a brief snapshot of the work an employment lawyer undertakes.
Harassment in the workplace
One of the biggest issues we tend to see in Canadian workplaces is harassment, which doesn’t only include sexual harassment, but bullying as well.
According to a report by Statistics Canada, approximately 20% of women and 13% of men have been harassed at some point between 2015-2016 in their workplace. This is a serious issue and one that warrants the support of an employment lawyer.
While many people understand what bullying and sexual harassment are, they don’t realise that verbal attacks, a series of inappropriate comments, and psychological stress are actionable legal claims. An employment lawyer helps victims seek legal relief, often in the form of filing complaints or securing appropriate settlement packages as a form of compensation. Employment lawyers also help those wrongly accused of workplace harassment and bullying, ensuring that the employee is properly exonerated from any false claims and clears his/her good name.
Unfair dismissal and severance package support
Another area most employment lawyers have considerable skill is in addressing unfair dismissals at work. This is usually when an employee is asked to leave his/her job through no fault of the employee but is not provided with adequate severance compensation for the lost job. Unfortunately, the process to obtain proper severance is not always as clear-cut as it seems.
An employee requires the assistance of an experienced employment lawyer who will not only determine the quantum of the dismissed employee’s termination entitlements, but also develop a strategy and action plan to negotiate and obtain these entitlements.
Employment contract reviews
Beyond their role in mediating conflict in the workplace, an employment lawyer also provides expertise and knowledge in the form of contract reviews. While this can either be for employers or employees, this service entails a thorough review of the terms and conditions of each agreement so the parties to the agreement know what they are signing.
In any workplace, most employees don’t have as much bargaining power as they’d like, which is why a contract review at the outset of any work opportunity is crucial. The contract review ensures that the employee is walking into the new work arrangement fully knowledgeable of the rights and obligations they have accepted by signing the contract.
An employment lawyer has experience in understanding the finer elements of a contract and will evaluate some of the following clauses to provide you with legal advice: Severance clauses, non-compete and non-solicitation clauses, compensation, benefits and bonus clauses, and dispute resolution clauses. While this is a non-exhaustive outline, these are some of the more important terms and conditions in an employment contract.
Seek the support of an experienced employment lawyer for workplace guidance and support
Regardless of whether you’re an employer or employee, an employment lawyer is someone who can provide you with the legal support you need in the workplace. Even in the absence of conflict, a lawyer can help you ensure your work environment provides the professional and financial opportunities to help you thrive. For the support of an experienced employment lawyer in the Toronto area, get in touch with our team at Advocation today.