Employment Law and Wrongful Dismissal
Your rights as an employee differ depending on whether or not you are in a trade union.
If you are in a union, the union has ‘exclusive bargaining rights’ with respect to terms and conditions of your employment. The collective agreement sets out what rights an employee has. The collective agreement always has a grievance procedure. If you feel that the employer is breaking the collective agreement, the union can file a grievance on your behalf. The union has the right to decide whether to take your grievance forward or not. If the union does go forward with the grievance, it can decide whether to settle the grievance, or to go all the way to arbitration, in which case there will be a hearing and the arbitrator will decide whether the union, or the employer, is right. One of the key protections of being in a unionized workplace is that an employer cannot fire you unless they have ‘cause’ – a good reason.
If you are not in a union, an employer can terminate your employment any time. If they have ‘cause’ (you have done something wrong) they can fire you. If they don’t have cause, but just want to get rid of you, they can do that either by giving you notice or by paying you severance instead of notice. The law says that the employer must give you ‘reasonable notice’ of the termination of your job. How much notice is reasonable depends on a number of factors, including your age, the character of your job, how long you have been in the job, and your re-employment prospects.
What can you do if the boss or a coworker is harassing you at the workplace? Harassment on a ground protected by the Human Rights Code, such as sex (including transgender people) or sexual orientation or disability, is an offence under the Human Rights Code. You can file a human rights complaint against your employer, even if you are still working there.
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