Paralegal Service in Vaughan Specializing in Employment Law
The firm is focused on working with employers to understand their business objectives and providing effective solutions to their employment law issues. We provide legal representation before the Human Rights, WSIB Appeals and the Employment Standards tribunals.
We provide clients with timely legal services in the following issues:
- Employment Standards
- Employment Contracts
- Sexual Harassment
- Workplace Policies
- Human Rights
- Health and Safety
- Workplace Investigations
- Employment Policy Development
Employment Standards legislation is among the most important governing the employment relationship. We regularly represent and advise our clients on issues relating to provincial employment standards, such as the Ontario Employment Standards Act, and have extensive experience appearing before the appropriate boards and bodies.
We assist clients draft employment policies and procedures that comply with employment standards legislation. We also provide complete and comprehensive representation and advice during employment standards audits and investigations.
We advise clients on issues such as:
- Hours of Work
- Minimum Wages
- Public Holidays
- Vacation Pay
- Leaves of Absence (including Pregnancy, Maternity and Parental Leave)
- Successor Employer Obligations
- Mass Termination and Layoff
- Group Termination of Employment
- Conclusion of Employment (including Termination and Severance Pay)
- Successor Employer Obligations
- Liability of Directors and Officers
We regularly assist employers to prepare employment contracts at every level of employment with the appropriate degree of complexity and sophistication.
A prepared employment contract allows an employer to identify with certainty and precision its obligations during the course of the employment relationship and at the time of its conclusion. Particularly when the relationship is concluded a written employment contract is an employer’s most effective tool to significantly limit liability.
Employment Screening and Recruiting
We often assist in drafting and refining job descriptions and interviewing and screening prospective employees. Typical areas where our advice is requested include: questions permitted or prohibited under human rights legislation, criminal records checks, reference checks, and avoidance of wrongful dismissal claims when preparing or changing job descriptions.
Our day-to-day practice includes advice on compliance with human rights legislation, assistance in the development of human rights policies, design and delivery of training programs, and acting as counsel before human rights adjudicators and courts in the event of a complaint.
We stress prevention and encourage clients to deal proactively with human rights issues rather than waiting to respond reactively to particular complaints. Where a breach is alleged we assist clients to address the issues thoughtfully, thoroughly and strategically to resolve the particular case at hand and any broader issue that may exist in the workplace. This often includes designing and implementing effective complaint investigation processes. If a matter proceeds to a hearing we vigorously advocate on behalf of our clients before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. With the recent changes to the Ontario Human Rights Code and the transition to a direct access model, knowledge of the Tribunal’s rules, practices and members is critical to ensuring our clients receive the best representation possible.
In virtually every adversarial employment or labour process there are opportunities (and in some cases obligations) to participate in a mediation. A properly conducted mediation can result in an early and cost effective resolution designed entirely by the parties. Using a neutral third party to help resolve workplace issues has proven to be a successful dispute resolution method.
Occupational Health and Safety
We regularly advise and represent employers regarding their obligations under provincial occupational health and safety legislation. We assist employers to develop joint health and safety committees and provide training regarding the proper functioning of these groups. This includes assisting employers to develop internal health and safety committees, policies and programs, conduct workplace audits, conduct investigations, and implement discipline and other enforcement mechanisms.
We also assist employers to respond to Ministry of Labour orders including stop work orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, appeal Orders by Ministry of Labour inspectors, and defend prosecution of charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
In recent years the Ministry of Labour has significantly increased its focus on carrying out workplace audits under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. We proactively assist clients prepare for and successfully participate in spot audits by assisting them to:
Employment Policy Development and Implementation
An important component of an employer’s obligations is to design and implement appropriate workplace policies and procedures specific to the work environments. This may require collecting information from a variety of sources including the company’s leaders, managers, staff, customers, as well as industry ‘best practices’.
We then work closely with our client to design a policy or policies that encourage legal compliance while at the same time allow our client to achieve its business objectives. Our approach is to ensure the policy meets the substantive legal requirements without overpromising. A policy that is poorly drafted may be a liability.
The following are examples of policies we have developed and implemented:
- Accessibility standards (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act)
- Workplace violence and harassment
- Employee handbooks (covering a wide range of policies and practices)
- Progressive discipline
- Attendance management
- Early and safe return to work
- Health and safety
- Social media in the workplace
- Information technology and computer usage
More employers are recognizing the importance of workplace investigations not simply to ensure statutory compliance but to discover problems, prevent recurrence, and prepare for mediation or arbitration.
Each type of issue demands its own method of investigation. The investigator must be knowledgeable about applicable employment laws, uphold the privacy rights of employees and others, conduct a thorough investigation and be objective (i.e., discovering the underlying reasons for the problem so management can take corrective action). We regularly assist clients to consider, plan, and carry out appropriate and effective workplace investigations, including:
- Assessing the complaint or issue
- Refining the client’s objective
- Determining whether to involve an expert
- Suggesting an investigator (where appropriate)
- Providing legal and strategic advice from start to finish including best practices
- Implementing recommendations and follow-up
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