Somewhere amidst the excitement of receiving a job offer, you’ll find yourself looking at an employment contract that you must sign in order to seal the deal. This is an important document that’s intended to protect the employer-employee relationship and set clear expectations for your role. The thing is, you may not always know what to look out for or fully understand the meaning of the legal terminology. At Litco Law, we’ve been helping hard-working Albertans since 1976. If you have questions about an employment contract you’ve been offered, or you’ve already signed your employment contract and have questions about your rights, give our Calgary Employment Contract lawyers a call. In this article, we’ll talk about the dos and don’ts of signing your employment contract, what to do if your employer has breached the contract and more.
Do I have to sign my employment contract right away?
While there is no hard and fast rule, three business days is generally a fair and reasonable amount of time to review your contract. If your potential employer or HR is pressuring you to sign right away, that could very well be a red flag. It’s within your right to take a few days to review the contract. If you’re unclear on what something means, don’t be afraid to ask HR or the hiring employer for more information. If anything seems to be missing, unclear, or questionable in your employment contract, it’s also a good idea to talk to an employment lawyer.
What types of things should I look for in my employment contract?
An employment contract typically lays out the terms of your employment and includes things like your salary, work expectations, bonus eligibility, confidentiality, rules around termination, whether you can work in a competing field, and more. In some cases, employment contracts are written to benefit the employer in ways that can be disadvantageous for an employee down the road— often couched in overly complicated or ambiguous wording. Fair employers understand the importance of providing employment agreements, policies, and procedures that are clear and reasonable. By seeking the advice of a knowledgeable employment lawyer before signing anything, you’ll be able to identify any legal pitfalls, and even negotiate a better agreement.
EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS WHO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS
Alberta’s employment laws are designed to protect your rights. As such, employers must abide by the rules of the Employment Standards Code and Alberta Human Rights Act. So, if you think your employment contract goes against your legal rights, talk to an employment lawyer right away. Similarly, if you’ve already signed your employment contract and your employer is breaching your contract in any way— or has wrongfully dismissed or constructively dismissed you— always seek legal advice. Our Calgary Employment Contract lawyers know the Employment Standards Code inside and out. Whether you’re looking for a legal pair of eyes on an employment contract or you need a lawyer to represent you for an employment claim, we’re here for you.
WRONGFUL DISMISSAL, CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL, SEVERANCE PACKAGE REVIEW
If your employer has made changes to the terms of your contract or employment without your agreement or fails to uphold their end of the agreement, you may be able to make a claim. Or if you’ve recently been let go from your job and you would like a lawyer to review your severance package, we can help there too.
Unless your former employer has sufficient or just cause for your immediate termination, they must give you reasonable notice of dismissal and pay you in accordance with Alberta’s employment laws.
Here’s some examples of what might constitute a wrongful dismissal:
- Your employer terminated you without cause and failed to pay your severance or provide reasonable notice before firing you; or,
- Your employer hasn’t paid you for your time or earned vacation pay.
Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive so it’s a good idea to talk to a Calgary Employment Contract lawyer. If you were wrongfully dismissed, you may be able to claim financial compensation or negotiate a better severance. At the very least, you’ll have a clear picture of what your options and rights are.
When an employer fails to uphold the terms of your employment contract or makes changes to the terms of your employment without your consent, this is known as constructive dismissal. In these situations, a business or employer treats an employee so poorly, or changes the position so drastically, that they are essentially forcing the employee to quit. The employer has not directly fired or terminated you, but you are essentially subjected to an “If you don’t like it, quit” scenario. If this has happened to you, it’s important to talk to an employment lawyer sooner than later. By just ‘dealing with it’ for an extended period of time, you may unwittingly give your employer grounds to claim that you implicitly accepted the changes to your role. If this sounds like something has happened to you, give our Calgary Employment Contract Lawyers a call. It won’t cost you anything to get free legal advice from a team that truly cares.
Severance Package Review
At Litco Law, we’ve helped countless Albertans who have been laid off or wrongfully terminated recover thousands of dollars through severance negotiations or claims. We’ll review your employment history and your severance package to determine exactly what you are legally entitled to receive. There are many things that can impact the size of your severance package. Some of the most common factors include:
- Your age;
- Your title or role;
- The length of time you were employed;
- The reason for your termination;
- How you were let go;
- The nature of your work (i.e. Is it a specialized field?); or,
- The employment market.
The amount of severance pay you should expect to receive will also depend upon the benefits you received from your employer. This includes things like bonuses, commissions, incentive programs, profit sharing, and other benefits which were part of your employment agreement.
When all these factors are taken into consideration, you may be entitled to more money than you were initially offered by your employer. Our Calgary Severance Package Lawyers can review your severance package to determine whether or not the offer is fair and if it would be worth your while to make a claim. In some cases, it might make sense for us to renegotiate the terms of your severance with your employer. In others, we may need to make a claim in court. If you’d like a lawyer to review your severance package, just give us a call today.
MAKING A CLAIM AGAINST YOUR EMPLOYER
In most cases, negotiations for termination pay or severance pay can be settled outside of the courtroom. At other times, we’ll need to file a claim. We usually find that when your former employer realizes the legal implications, they are willing to reach a negotiated settlement. In some cases, we take the matter through to full trial. Our employment lawyers see a lot of success with mediation and arbitration, and often use them to settle outside of court. Whatever course of action is needed, we’ll help you find a fair resolution.
We may also be able to provide help with disputes involving:
- Wrongful Dismissal
- Constructive Dismissal
- Termination Without Cause
- Just Cause Termination
- Termination disputes
- Sexual harassment
- Discrimination in the workplace
- Workplace harassment or bullying
- Maternal and paternal leave disputes
We believe in complete honesty and transparency, and we will only advise you to pursue a claim if you stand to gain a significant amount of money. If disputes arise, we’ll help you reach a fair resolution. It won’t cost you anything to talk to one of our Calgary Employment Contract lawyers. And if it’s not worth your while to pursue a claim or negotiation, we’ll let you know.
Our Calgary Employment Contract lawyers are here to help.
We understand that your job can make a huge impact on your quality of life, for better or worse— we hope for the better. Whether you have questions about an employment contract, severance package, or your rights in the workplace, we can help. Call or email us today, send us a message in the chat, or fill out our contact form and we’ll reach out to you. You’ll always hear back from us within 24 hours during the week, or next business day if you call us on the weekend. Consultations are always free, and you’ll never feel any pressure or obligation or pressure to hire us. In fact, we’ll always help you find a solution— even we aren’t it. We’re standing by, ready to help!