It’s never easy to decide to sue someone, let alone your employer, but in some cases it’s necessary. If you’ve been the target of discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, or suffered a workplace injury, sometimes you have to take legal action. This can be a complicated process, so it’s best to hire an experienced employment lawyer. Read on to learn a few things you should think about before you file a lawsuit against your employer.
You can’t just go off and sue your employer just because you’re not happy at your job; rather, you need to have good cause.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has the right to equal treatment in the workplace without discrimination because of ancestry, race, colour, place of origin, ethnic origin, sex, citizenship, creed, disability, sexual orientation, record of offences, marital status, age, and family status. The Code is supposed to be interpreted broadly, so the protection is meant to include temporary, casual, and contract staff as well as full-time and part-time employees. It also includes volunteers, unpaid workers, and probationary employees. This protection also covers employees after hours and when they’re not in the workplace, if the discrimination takes place in relation to a work function.
If your employer has discriminated against you based on any of the scenarios outlined above, you might have cause for a lawsuit.
2. Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination is when you are let go unethically for a reason that is unrelated to your performance or the state of the company. This might happen as retaliation by the manager against you, or as part of an act of discrimination. These cases can be difficult to prove, but you might have a cause for a lawsuit against your employer.
The most-often talked about form of harassment in the workplace is sexual harassment, but there are other kinds. One important thing to remember is that the harassment doesn’t necessarily have to come from your employer for you to sue. If you’re being harassed and your employer does nothing to stop it, you have cause for a lawsuit if the harassment continues.
4. Workplace Injury
Injuries can happen at any place of work, not just at dangerous jobs. In most cases, workers’ compensation covers workplace injuries. However, there are some cases where you would be able to sue over an injury that isn’t covered under workers’ compensation. Examples would include injuries caused by toxic substances, defective products, third-party negligence, or intentional accidents caused by the employer. If you’ve been injured at work and your employer doesn’t have a workers’ compensation plan or the plan they have doesn’t cover your financial burden, you might have a cause for a lawsuit.
5. Starting a Lawsuit
If you think you have enough of a case against your employer to start a lawsuit, there are a few very important steps you must take to proceed. First, reach out to a lawyer who specializes in workplace cases to see if you have a case. A free consultation allows the lawyer to go over your case and let you know if you should go ahead with a lawsuit, and what you might be entitled to, if you do. If you don’t have a case, the lawyer can tell you that, too.
Next, talk to your employer and see if they are willing to resolve the situation without taking it to court. Always document all your evidence in case you need to go to court. Take detailed notes of any potentially illegal encounters.
Talk to other employees who might have gone through the same thing. Ask if they’ll talk to your attorney.
Finally, decide if you want to pursue legal action. If you do, your lawyer will take over and make sure all the paperwork is completed and handed in to court to start the process.