Employment Law for Employees

Protecting your rights as an employee

Unsure if the severance package you’ve been given is fair?

Starting a new job and want to get your contract reviewed?

Being bullied, harassed or discriminated against?

Involved in a workplace investigation and need guidance?

Employment Law for Employees

As an individual experiencing issues in the workplace, it can feel like there is nowhere else to turn. 

Our careers are more than just a job – it’s where we spend most of our time and often is a major part of our identity. When there is a problem in the workplace, it can take significant on our well-being. Our employment law for employees team is here to help.

If you feel that something is wrong in the workplace, it’s important to speak to a lawyer and understand your rights before taking any action.

Our team has the experience and expertise to help employees with any issue they are facing in the workplace.

If you’ve lost your job, you probably have a lot of questions. Most employees in Canada are entitled to receive a certain amount of warning time from their employer of their termination, unless they are being dismissed for just cause. The amount of severance an employee may be entitled to depends on many factors.

To determine the amount of notice an employee may be entitled to, we start by determining whether the employer is federally or provincially regulated, and then move on to establishing different types of entitlements. The most relevant factors are the your age, length of service, level of compensation, and the nature of your position.

You may receive working notice, pay in lieu of notice equivalent to the value of salary and benefits that would have otherwise been provided during the notice period, or a combination of both. Notice may be limited by the terms of an employment contract, so long as the contract is enforceable and meets the minimum requirements of the relevant employment standards legislation. 

The federal public service is Ottawa’s largest employer. Our team is one of the most experienced employment groups in Ottawa in supporting public servants with employment law issues at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels in both official languages.

We understand the unique employment law needs of the public servants and can help non-unionized employees working in the core public service, separate agencies, and crown corporations.

Christopher Rootham, partner in our Employment group and leader of our Labour Law group has published Labour and Employment Law in the Federal Public Service.

Our team has appeared at all levels of the court, the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board, the Ontario Public Service Grievance Board, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and other provincial human rights tribunals.

We can support public services employees on:

  • human rights
  • harassment
  • staffing and promotional complaints
  • pension files
  • terminations
  • lay-offs
  • demotions
  • leave and disability related issues
  • Phoenix and other pay issues

If you are an employee who has been treated differently or harassed because of a prohibited ground of discrimination such as age, gender, race, disability, religion, family status or sexual orientation, our experienced employment lawyers can help. We will work with you to resolve human rights issues in your workplace involving harassment, employment discrimination and violence in the workplace to ensure that your rights are respected. We can also help you make a complaint with your employer or file a formal complaint with the appropriate human rights regulator.

When experiencing harassment or bullying in the workplace, it may feel like there is no way out. Thankfully, the law in Ontario provides safeguards to ensure that individuals do not have to tolerate this type of work environment. Employees have a right to a workplace free from harassment and bullying. 

If you feel that your work environment has become poisoned, we always recommend seeking legal advice regarding your potential rights and remedies before taking any action.

Employment contracts or agreements, often in the form of an offer letter, set out the terms and conditions of the relationship between employers and employees. Our experienced employment lawyers can review your employment agreement to make sure it satisfies legal requirements and meets your needs.

Standard employment contracts usually identify the employee’s position, term of employment and compensation including base salary, overtime, and bonus or other types of variable compensation. They also include entitlements to benefits, pension, stock options, vacation and sick leave, and notice of termination. More specialized or executive employment contracts may include additional provisions, such as confidentiality, intellectual property ownership, and post-employment restrictive covenants (non-solicitation and non-competition clauses).

Speaking to a lawyer before you sign an employment contract can help ensure your best interests are protected.

Have Questions?

Our Team


Janice Payne

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