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Commerce, work, livelihood, power imbalances, social interaction, and fairness, the workplace is where they all converge. It’s also where many of us spend the majority of our lives. Employment laws are written and evolve to try and strike the right balance between these dynamics and create fairness in the workplace for everyone involved.

In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be a need for laws or the need to redress injustices done by workers or their employers. But we need both. So, it’s always a good idea to check in with an Employment Lawyer in Toronto if you’re in the Greater Toronto Area or Southern Ontario.

As a business owner or an employee, you need to know your rights and obligations and for consultation regarding workplace decisions. This is especially true during the onboarding and termination of employment.

What the Employment Contract Means for Both Sides

The terms of employment begin with the basics of contract law. Ideally, every employee should have a clear, written contract that outlines terms of employment, job responsibilities, and remuneration. These contracts are not just formalities; when respected by everyone in a workplace, they are the foundation on which to build a long-lasting work culture that ensures the success of both the business owner and employees.

It is also your first line of defence against potential disputes. Ensuring that these documents are legally sound can save a significant amount of time and money in the future. In cases when changes are made unilaterally by an employer or employees fail to live up to the terms, the employment contract is the first point of reference. Ambiguities can lead to confusion and resources being wasted to get clarification.

Workplace Safety is Priority One

Safety is a priority in the workplace, and it is a shared responsibility. All business owners and their management teams must provide a safe working environment, and employees are responsible for adhering to the safety guidelines to keep the workplace safe.

Familiarity with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, for workplaces governed by the province of Ontario, is necessary to meet these standards. Compliance is not just about avoiding legal repercussions; aside from the health concerns, injuries cost both employees and their employers.

Keeping the Workplace Free of Harassment

Safety is also about ensuring a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. Laws governing these issues range from the various provincial and federal safety acts to human rights codes to the Criminal Code, and employers have a duty to ensure they’re in full compliance.

Employees must also be diligent, however, and know their rights and obligations. Understanding what constitutes wrongful dismissal, discrimination, and harassment is critical. If you believe your rights have been violated, it’s important to document the incidents and seek legal advice promptly. Lawyers specializing in employment law can offer guidance on how to proceed, whether through mediation, negotiation, or, if necessary, litigation.

An Employment Lawyer’s Role in Workplace Justice

Understanding workplace laws, rights, and responsibilities requires a deep knowledge of complex employment laws. But for both employers and employees, staying informed about workplace rights and changes in employment law is essential. Laws and regulations are constantly evolving, reflecting new societal norms or economic conditions. If a new law comes out, or if you’re unsure of your rights or obligations in a specific situation, an employment lawyer is more than happy to help. Many offer free consultations, so take the opportunity to ensure your working environment is fair and equitable.