Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"New property owner ended a job and tendency. What can be done?"

Mar. 20, 2017 "New property owner ended a job and tenancy. What can be done?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

I thought this was a unique question about living at work.  There are lots of temporary summer jobs at resorts and cruise ships where you live at work.  There are a lot of interesting comments on it:

THE QUESTION

My brother-in-law and sister live on property that they rent from his employer. His employer recently sold the business and the new owners are making changes. Dave has worked for his employer for 25 years. Because the employment is seasonal with a golf club, he gets laid off every year. He has always been expected back, and returns. From the new owners, he recently received an one-month notice to end tenancy for cause, and one-month notice to end tenancy for end of employment. Not only did he lose his job, he has lost his home. What, if anything, can be done?


THE FIRST ANSWER

Natalie C. MacDonald
Partner, Rudner MacDonald LLP, Toronto

Much can be done to assist your brother-in-law. In Ontario, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) requires his employer to terminate him by providing notice of termination or pay in lieu (eight weeks, given his length of service); and if applicable, severance pay (25 weeks for him).

In addition, in the absence of a valid termination clause in an employment contract, he must be provided with reasonable notice of the termination of his employment (“severance package”), which would include payment of his salary, benefits and any other entitlements he had prior to the termination, which may include his home and the tenancy arrangement.

The notice period, which includes the ESA amounts, is to provide Dave income while he seeks comparable employment, and is typically based on his years of service, age, character of position and availability of similar employment.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, a landlord can only end a tenancy on notice for specified reasons, termination of employment being one. A notice “for cause” could be not paying the rent in full, causing damage or illegal activity. The length of notice required by a landlord to terminate a tenancy depends on the type of tenancy (weekly/monthly/yearly), and if for cause, the type of cause upon which the landlord relies. In any case, he and his wife have remedies available to them.

THE SECOND ANSWER

Eileen Dooley
Vice-president, VF Career Management, Calgary

This is a classic case of being too dependent on your employer. A client once told me he used his employment address for all his mail, including bank statements, mortgage information, etc. Because it was not his property, a simple mail redirect from Canada Post was not possible.

Unfortunately, the employer holds all the cards in this case, and the only recourse you have is to move and find alternate employment. Luckily, we are entering ‘golf season’ so there may be more opportunities now than in the fall/winter season. Use your network and start looking.

Seeing this as a new start, be cautious on how much you depend on the employer beyond a simple paycheque. Not just living arrangements, but use of a cellular phone – bring your own that the employer will support, and that you leave with, or have a separate one for personal use – and any other resources the employer gives to you. If the employer insists that you live on the property as part of employment, ensure that the arrangement has an exit clause in the event of job or residency change. And have a backup plan ready to go.


Comments:

redTornado
4 days ago

There are too many important details missing in this scenario and it looks like the HR person's comment has had a big chunk edited out. Grounds keepers, farm hands, and the like are often provided housing and this is usually provided free or at a nominal cost. The employment contract - either in writing or implied, usually states as long as you work here, you can live here. Once your employment ends, so does the housing. It is gracious for the employer to provide a transition period or a payment to help them with a move. I have seen up to 6 weeks plus a portion of moving expenses. Then there is the matter of severance. However , if this individual is not a permanent full time employee and he had a sweet deal with the employer to be able to cycle on and off employment insurance , he should carefully check with a lawyer in his provincial jurisdiction as he might not qualify. Having said that, there are common law principles and good business practices. In the meantime, find a new job.

no2el
4 days ago

25 years of seasonal work, off on UI for those 25 years, it's a great deal but no future in it. Since when were seasonal workers that are laid off entitled to severance, if so you had better tell the 10's of thousands of construction workers. Tenancies are carried by the property not the owner unless vacant possession was requested. Should have had a lease signed before the property changed hands.

Nancy G4
3 days ago

It seems that with this column, there is generally a huge gulf between the two answers. Consultant says, there's nothing that can be done, it was a dumb situation for Dave to get into, and try not to do it again. The actual lawyer says that there is a lot that can be done, and gives specifics. What I have learned from this column is that if I have an issue with employment, I should see a lawyer. If I want uninformed but well meaning advice, I can get it free from friends and not have to pay an employment consultant.



alanauer
4 days ago

That's cute. "You're fired. Oh, and because you're unemployed now, you're evicted too."

AlexB2
3 days ago

It looks to me like the new owner is low balling his/her severance offer. It would seem that one month for an employee of 25 years is too low even if the employee was seasonal. The new owner may expect to negotiate. Alternatively they may not understand employment legislation. Sometimes those who run small businesses run afoul of labour laws for this reason.

The employee may have to fight through a provincial labor relations board or the courts to get a better deal. He should try to negotiate a better deal but still look for another job. The availability of alternate employment and how long it takes him to get it will affect how much he gets.

As to the accommodation, while that seems to be part of the employment renumeration, I doubt the new owner can kick them out on short notice. Housing legislation should apply in which case they may have more time to find a place.



LocatisCo
2 days ago

There is a new site called http://www.locatis.ca where landlords and property managers can advertise their rental property.


Squid9
4 days ago

I find the discrepancy between the two answers should be addressed in the article more thoroughly. The lawyer states that the law requires the employer provide severence, pay in lieu etc etc. The second "consultant" blames the victim and advises not to put up a fight and move on. At the very least, should think it is not legal to evict a tenant who pays the rent and does no damage with only 30 days notice. Why wouldn't this employee want to receive what is due to him? There are employment laws in place, according to the lawyer, that are in place for employees protection. Why is the consultant suggesting he just walk away?
1 Reaction



Fred Garvin MP
4 days ago

I'll take answer # 1 for a thousand, Alex ....


Mar. 27, 2017 "On leave, I was told I can’t return to work. Is this legal?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

THE QUESTION

I am off on medical leave with a torn rotator cuff. Had to wait months for an MRI and to see a specialist, then my employer called in the interim and told me I can’t come back to work. To my knowledge, she has to welcome me back with the same rate of pay and the same amount of hours. Is that true?


THE FIRST ANSWER

Natalie C. MacDonald
Partner, Rudner MacDonald LLP, Toronto

It sounds as though you have been improperly treated. Human-rights legislation requires employers to accommodate employees, if required, and not to discriminate against or terminate an employee, while on medical leave, based on sickness or disability.

When an employee is on medical leave, and the employee is cleared or ready to return to work, the employer is obligated to accommodate the employee, if necessary, to the point of undue hardship.

In some instances, accommodation could mean modified duties, a graduated-return-to-work plan or a reconfigured workstation.

Accommodation is fact-specific.

An employer should return the employee to the same position he or she held before the leave, unless there is a legitimate business reason for not doing so that the employer can prove. An employer is also well advised not to reduce an employee’s rate of pay or hours.

If you believe you have been terminated due to your injury, you can make a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal (in Ontario) where, amongst other things, you can ask for lost wages, if any, and general damages for the injury to your dignity, feelings and self-respect.

You can also request reinstatement to your position if you are in Ontario.
The alternate path is to start a lawsuit in the civil courts for damages for the wrongful dismissal itself, and claim, in addition, damages for breach of the Human Rights Code.

THE SECOND ANSWER

Zuleika Sgro
Director of people, Saje Natural Wellness, Vancouver

Medical leave and a return-to-work plan are always important to not only be documented, but also discussed as a partnership between your doctor, your employer and you.

It sounds like you need more facts as to why your employer gave that feedback. My advice is to reach out to your HR/benefits team and ask for more information around their call.

Request it in writing, then visit your doctor with that documentation for support in completing an instruction form for your employer – assuming you are cleared to return.

The form can likely be provided by your benefits carrier.

Then, your employer can review how they could accommodate your return to work. This could be gradual, with modified duties, or in a different capacity and they are required to do so to the point of undue hardship.

The plan to return and ensure your well-being and safety at work should be your mutual priority.

It is important to share your ideas along with your doctors documentation on how to make returning to work possible so you are safe and are part of the process and plan to return.

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