Many employees are hired pursuant to a verbal contract of employment. For others, the terms of the contract are set out in a written letter of hire or formal Employment Contracts.
Written or oral, the agreement between employer and employee is a contract. If some terms of that explicit agreement are uncertain or absent, then basic rights and obligations are implied at law. In addition, all employment agreements are subject to statutory minimum obligations (for example under the Employment Standards Act) which cannot be limited or curtailed by contract.
A formal letter of hire or employment agreement is almost always presented to the employee as an offer that is prior to acceptance by the employee. As an employee, it is important that you obtain independent legal advice prior to accepting any offer of employment. Once accepted, any written agreement is likely enforceable.
As an employer, it is a good practice to implement formal employment agreements at the time of hire. This promotes clarity and certainty and can also serve to confine an employee’s entitlement to notice (or pay in lieu of notice) on termination. Call us. We can help.
In addition to any explicit provisions set out in an employment agreement, the law surrounding the employer’s and employee’s rights and obligations in the employment context is found in many different statutes including the Employment Standards Act, the Canada Labour Code, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Canadian Human Rights Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, among others. In addition, there is a history of jurisprudence (case law) that has developed over time by judges deciding cases that collectively makes up the Common Law. Depending upon your fact situation, contractual, statutory and common law principles may apply and need to be carefully considered when assessing the sufficiency of a severance proposal.
By clarifying each party’s rights and obligations, a formal employment agreement reduces the risk and cost of potential disputes.
The most important provisions in most employment agreements are clauses specifying rights and obligation on termination, restrictive covenants such as non-competition and non-solicitation clauses, and entitlements surrounding the vesting of commissions and bonus pay.
The best time to negotiate the terms of an employment contract is at the time of hire. We can help you negotiate the best possible terms. If the terms presented by an employer are non-negotiable, we can explain the consequences of the employee’s acceptance of those terms.
Without legal representation, you are at a significant disadvantage. We have the years of experience and knowledge to effectively and vigorously represent your interests. We will navigate the system for you. We are not afraid to go to Court, as we are first and foremost trial lawyers.
Call us today if you have any questions regarding employment contracts – our team of experienced lawyers can help you draft, review, revise or litigate issues regarding employment contracts.
Call 905-884-9242 today!