Welcome to Nixon Wenger LLP
Employment law involves the professional relationship between companies and non-union employees. Most non-union employment contracts are unwritten, but they are, nevertheless, contracts. Although the law which governs employee contracts is found in statutes such as the Employment Standards Act, their interpretation and enforcement is left largely to the courts.
Our lawyers represent employees and employers in wrongful dismissal actions, application of provincial and federal workplace statutes, advice on the main obligations or terms of non-union employment relationships, drafting advice on written contracts of non-solicitation and non-competition clauses, golden parachute compensation plans and arbitration clauses.
Employment Law Services
Our Employment Law Team
Employment Law FAQ
I’m purchasing the assets of a business and I intend to hire the employees as well. However, I may wish to terminate employment of certain employees shortly after the purchase. Since I am only buying the assets of the business, should I be concerned?
The Employment Standards Act provides that if you are purchasing the assets of a business and if you are taking on the employees at the same time, their employment will be deemed to be continuous. Therefore, if you terminate an employee, you will still be liable for the entire length of their service to the company you purchased as well as their time with you. Notwithstanding these continuation provisions, it typically makes sense to require the seller to terminate the employment of all of their employees and then rehire their employees on substantially the same terms and conditions. This may not be particularly useful with respect to employment standards severance provisions but at the common law it can reduce your obligations to the employee to the time you have actually employed the employee. Putting an appropriate employment contract in place for each such employee can also serve to reduce your liability, including by explicitly stating whether or not you are prepared to give credit for past years of service. These terms and conditions are often critical to the negotiation of both asset purchase and share purchase agreements. They should be given appropriate consideration at the time of entering into such agreement and we encourage you to seek legal advice. These considerations are equally important to the seller of a business.
My employee routinely shows up late for work, takes extended lunch breaks and often dishonestly calls in sick. Am I permitted to terminate their employment for cause? I really wouldn’t be happy to pay them a severance package for being a poor employee.
Without established company policies and notes documenting your employee’s non-compliance with those policies and letters giving notice to your employee of their non-compliance you will have a difficult time establishing that your employee ought to be terminated for cause. We can assist employers to put in place appropriate policies and monitoring procedures to ensure that employees are aware of when they are not in compliance with those policies.
We can also assist with communicating appropriately with employees whose conduct or performance needs to improve.
I have been let go by my employer and have been offered a severance package that my employer tells me complies with the Employment Standards Act. Am I obligated to take this package?
In most cases your employer is obligated to comply with the minimum standards in the Employment Standards Act. However, under common law you may also be entitled to receive notice or pay in lieu of notice that exceeds the amount established by the Act. There are a number of factors that go into making such a determination such as your age, how long you were employed, you level of responsibility, and how easily you will be able to find alternate employment. We would be pleased to speak to you about your situation.
How long do I have to sue if I have a dispute/claim/injury?
Recent changes to the Limitation Act have shortened the time you have to sue before the limitation takes effect and ends your claim. Most claims are now 2 years. Get legal advice early so your rights are protected.