Answers to common employment law questions

Mar 9, 2017

There are many aspects to employment law and therefore many misconceptions. Each act taken in reference to your employment or resignation has lawful boundaries. Understanding the standard aspects of your employment that are bound by the law, and the contracts or acts that are associated will ensure that your rights are protected within your employment.

Can I be fired for a poor performance or a poor appraisal?

Employers can dismiss an employee for poor performance or incompetence, however an employer is typically required to provide the employee with an opportunity to improve their performance. With that said, each case must be evaluated individually and it may be that the employee’s particular performance in the situation does not entitle the employee to an opportunity to show improvement. The employer should provide warnings to the employee when performance is of concern.  For example, a performance appraisal could be considered a form of documentation of an employee’s work and can be used as merit for dismissal.

Is my employer required to provide me with a letter of reference?

A reference letter is an invaluable tool for an employee. You can request a reference from your employer, but they are not required to provide you a letter of reference. If your employer refuses to provide a letter of reference, you can request a letter to confirm employment. In certain circumstances, if an employee can show that the employer’s failure to provide a letter of reference or confirmation of employment resulted in monetary damage – i.e. inability to secure new employment – the employer may be on the hook for some damages. It would be wise for employers to protect themselves by providing former employees with the means of securing new employment expeditiously, whether it means providing references, confirmation of employment or other assistance.

If I give my notice of resignation (a.k.a. two week’ notice) but am asked to leave immediately, am I entitled to pay?

Unless your signed employment contract indicates otherwise, if you provide written notice of your resignation and are asked to leave immediately, you are likely entitled to pay for the remaining notice period. Employees who provide too little notice of their resignation the employee may be exposing themselves to the risk of a lawsuit if their former employer can prove that they have been monetarily damaged by the insufficient notice provided by the employee.

How does my employment contract or relationship affect me after I resign?

Once you have left your place of employment you may still have duties to your employer. This is particularly true if your employment contract contained an agreement not to compete or solicit or the circumstances of your employment imply that you will not compete or solicit or participate in any unfair dealings.

Typically, a contract of employment contains a non-solicitation clause which aims to prevent employees from doing anything that may persuade clients or customers of the employer to terminate their relationship with the employer or persuade other employees to leave the employer. The non-compete clause is an agreement that the employee will not take employment from a similar business or competitor and will not start a competitive business. The enforceability of these clauses are complicated and sometimes tenuous. Any employee who is subject to a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement should contact an employment lawyer to help understand your rights.

If you have recently been dismissed by an employer are planning on resigning from your current position and have employment law questions or questions regarding your employment contract, seek the legal advice of one of Chown Cairns Niagara employment lawyers below.