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FAQ - Morrison Reist Krauss LLP

Many employers and employees are unaware of all the rights and responsibilities they have under Canadian law. Below, we have attempted to answer some common questions about employment law, but employment lawyers are still the best source for information on legal issues pertaining to the workplace.

What is the Employment Standards Act (ESA)?

The ESA sets forth many of the rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers in Ontario workplaces. It covers topics such as wages, hours, and overtime pay; vacation and leave time for family, medical, or other reasons; termination of employment and severance; and many other topics.

Who is not covered by the ESA?

Most Ontario employees and employers are covered by the ESA, although there are exceptions, such as certain sectors that fall under federal jurisdiction (including airlines, banks, the civil service, post offices, radio and TV stations and inter provincial railways). It also does not apply to those working in a work experience program authorized by a school board or university, people who perform community participation under the Ontario Works Act, police officers, inmates taking part in work programs, and those who hold political, judicial, religious, and trade union offices.

Does the ESA address wage increases?

No, but it does provide for minimum wage. The current general minimum wage is $10.25 per hour; there may be different rules for certain categories of workers, such as students, liquor servers, and homeworkers.

What does the ESA say about sick leave and family leave?

If a company employs more than 50 people, those employees are entitled to personal emergency leave in certain situations. Personal emergency leave can be used to cover events such as an illness, injury, or medical emergency, as well as similar circumstances relating to immediate relatives. Family leave covers situations where an employee requires time off to take care of or support family members who have suffered an illness or injury.

Can an employee be fired for being out sick?

If the sick day is provided for by the employer, or if it falls under the personal emergency leave day criteria set forth in the ESA, then no, the employee cannot be fired for taking the day off. In most cases, however, employees are required to produce a doctor’s note if the employer makes a reasonable request to do so.

Are employees required to give notice to their employers when they quit their job?

This issue is not addressed by the ESA, although there are other laws through which an employee may be required to give some form of notice.

Can employees take their employer to court for wrongful dismissal?

Employees can choose to sue an employer in court for wrongful dismissal; however, they cannot sue while at the same time pursuing a claim for termination or severance pay with the Employment Standards Branch of the Ministry of Labour. The employee must choose one course or the other. If an employee is alleging that he or she has been the victim of discrimination in violation of human rights laws, the employee may need to first pursue his or her case before a human rights commission. If you are an employee and you believe that your rights have been violated, contact a wrongful dismissal law firm to discuss your options. If you are an employer and an employee or former employee has complained about discrimination or a wrongful dismissal, an experienced employment lawyer can help protect your company.

Morrison Reist Krauss LLP: Employment Advice You Can Rely On

Morrison Reist Krauss LLP is committed to helping employers and employees in the Kitchener – Waterloo area deal with legal challenges involving employment law. Melanie Reist has more than 25 years of legal experience, and she applies her formidable skills and expertise to obtain the best possible results for every client. She understands that every workplace is unique, and strives to find solutions that make sense for each client’s unique needs. She has founded her legal practice on a combination of skill, compassion, and dedication, and the result has been a solid track record of successful cases across all areas of employment law. Melanie Reist may be reached at 279 Queen St South, Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1W4, or by calling (866) 878-9125.