Month: August 2016

BC Employment Law: Seek Advice From An Labour Lawyer If You Haven’t Been Paid By Your Employer

If you have not been paid wages by your employer, you may be trying to decide whether to sue or, instead, to file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch under the Employment Standards Act. Before you decide which route to take, you may wish to get advice from an employment or labor lawyer. This is especially important after a recent Small Claims Court decision.

The Small Claims Court recently considered the case of an employee who had not been paid wages by his employer. At Small Claims, this employee did not have a lawyer – he represented himself. I am disappointed to tell you that the employer succeeded in having the case dismissed.

The employer drew the Court’s attention to Section 82 of the Employment Standards Act. This section requires the employee to obtain the consent of the Director of Employment Standards to take the employer to Court if the dispute has already been ruled on by the Employment Standard’s Branch. In this case, the employee had already taken the dispute to the Employment Standards Branch. The employee was successful but could only get an order for six months worth of back wages because the Employment Standards Act limits claims for unpaid wages to a six-month maximum.

In this case, the employee was owed back wages beyond six months.

After his success at the Employment Standards Branch, the employee sued in Small Claims Court for the back wages not covered by the six month limit.

An Employment Judge in Vancouver, BCThe employee did not get permission from the Director of the Employment Standards Branch. The Small Claims Court Judges accepted the employer’s argument that the case must therefore be dismissed.

Hindsight is 20:20. but in this case, the employee would have been better off just suing in Small Claims Court for the entire claim of unpaid wages.

If you have not been paid by your employer, you may wish to consider seeking the advice of an employment/labor lawyer before deciding what to do. Call Vancouver wrongful dismissal lawyer Tim Louis today at (604) 732-7678.

BC Employment Law: Insubordination – Is it grounds for termination?


BC Employment Law: Insubordination – Is it grounds for termination?

You have just been asked by your boss to carry out a new procedure he thinks will be much better than the current procedure. However, your boss does not have the hands-on experience you do and you know from past experience that every time he comes up with a new procedure he thinks will be much better, it turns out more often than not, his new procedure is not practical.

If you decide not to carry out your employer’s latest new idea, and you are fired, can you successfully sue for wrongful dismissal if you can demonstrate to the Court that your employer’s new idea was not going to work?

As an employment lawyer, I am frequently asked for advice from clients in situations similar to the above. These clients want to know if they will be able to successfully sue their employer for wrongful dismissal/wrongful termination if they are fired after refusing to carry out their employer’s directions.

An Employee that has been Terminated for InsubordinationSurprisingly, the law is not on the side of the employee in cases where an employer’s directive is intentionally disregarded – even if the employee had good reason to believe the directive was a poor management decision.

Our B.C. Court of Appeal recently heard an appeal of a Trial Judge’s decision. The Trial Judge had dismissed a wrongful dismissal/termination lawsuit brought on by a senior manager, against his employer, after he was fired.

The B.C. Court of Appeal, in dismissing the senior manager’s appeal, thoroughly reviewed the law and referred to many longstanding cases. In summary, the Court concluded that, unless the employer’s direction is illegal, dishonest or would risk the employee’s safety, the employee must follow the direction. To do otherwise gives the employer grounds to terminate the employee with cause. The result is that a lawsuit by the terminated employee will fail.

You might think you are making the right decision in not carrying out the employer’s instruction but unless you are being asked to do something illegal, dishonest or something that will put your safety at risk, you run the risk of losing your job and not being able to sue. If you are thinking of refusing to follow your employer’s instruction, make sure to speak with an employment or labor lawyer first.

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