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Employer Lawyer Vancouver | Useful Tips You Need to Know

Richard B. Johnson

Co-Founder + Partner
January 17, 2024

If you’re in business in British Columbia, it is invaluable to have a good employer lawyer… and not just for legal disputes. Employment lawyers provide guidance and advice for employee management, help create strong contracts and help build a healthy work environment where everyone can prosper.

Employment Law for Employers

Think about it, employment law isn’t just a headache waiting to happen. It’s essential to the health of your business. Employment lawyers are not just here for the tough times when employees are upset. They’re here to help you avoid problems and minimize expensive risks. They help keep everything running smoothly so that those tough times are few and far between.

Imagine them as the guardians of your workplace peace – they’re all about making sure your business is set up right from the get-go, so you can sleep easy at night knowing you’re on the right side of the law.

What do Employer Lawyers do?

Employer lawyers are your go-to for advice on how to keep things above board with your employees. Got a contract that needs a look-over? They’re on it. Need someone to back you up in a legal proceeding? They’ve got your back. And it’s not just about fighting fires – they’re there to make sure you’re building strong relationships with your team from day one.

They help you draft contracts that are fair, clear, and protective. Plus, they’re your legal translators, making sure you understand all that legalese and what it means for your day-to-day.

Legal Advice on Workplace Bullying and Harassment

If left alone, bullying and harassment in the workplace can slowly cripple the morale and productivity of your employees. Not only that, it can land you in court because you were fostering a harmful work environment.

As employer lawyers, it’s not in our interest to simply wait for complaints and solve them for you. We want to make sure you build a proper structure in the workplace and clarify that certain behaviour isn’t tolerated. Employer lawyers will help you create processes for proper reporting and investigative procedures, and help mediate the situation to both parties’ benefit.

Staying on the Straight and Narrow with Employment Standards

Following the rules isn’t just good sense – it’s good for business. Whether you’re juggling the requirements of WorkSafeBC, the Employment Standards Act, labour relations or the Canada Labour Code, employer lawyers are like your personal GPS for navigating all those regulations. They make sure you’re dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s so you can focus on more important issues.

These legislations are the bedrock of proper employer conduct. From workplace safety and vacation pay to parental leave and severance pay. These might seem like small details, but they have a major effect on your workplace.

Workplace Conflicts? More Like Opportunities!

Workplace conflicts can stem from a variety of reasons. Employees cooped up in a space with the same people for 8 hours + per day can be a breeding ground for conflict. Workplace conflict can also arise over management changes or discord, task disputes, promotions, and discrimination.

As an employer, it’s important to catch issues and deal with them swiftly and efficiently. Employer lawyers can help draft a step-by-step process of what to do when issues arise. In fact, it is mandatory for all BC employers to have a bullying & harassment policy in place, and to train staff on the policy!

In short, we can help make sure that your actions don’t make matters worse. It’s all about creating a harmonious work environment and looking (i.e. getting good advice) before you leap!

Contracts – The Building Blocks of a Great Team

Your team is amazing, and it all starts with those employment contracts. With an employer lawyer in your corner, you’re making sure that everyone knows where they stand, what’s expected, and that it’s all above board. It’s like setting the rules for a game where everyone wins and the rules are clear.

Keep in mind, your employment contracts don’t only set the rules of conduct and obligations of employees, they are there to keep you in check as well. It can help save you from potential conflicts and court battles with employees, whether it’s a constructive dismissal or wrongful termination case.

Helping With Workplace Investigations

As an employer, spotting the signs of a toxic environment or safety issues is key. Enter workplace investigations — not as a chore, but as your commitment to a positive, secure workplace culture. Whether it’s tackling negativity, ensuring physical safety, or addressing allegations of bullying, your role is to take the helm and guide your team back to calm waters.

But here’s the thing: Investigations can be tricky because in many cases, they have to take place. However, going it alone is daunting and takes significant time away from the day-to-day work at hand. Also, external assistance with an investigation helps avoid bias, so sometimes it’s smarter to call in a third-party to keep things impartial and thorough. And when the going gets tough, an employer lawyer is your best ally.

Mediation Between Employee and Employer

Disagreements happen, but they don’t have to be deal-breakers. Your employer lawyer is a master at mediation, helping everyone come to the table, share their piece, and shake hands at the end. It’s about finding that sweet spot where everyone’s happy and the business keeps buzzing along. Not everything (or even most things) ought to end up in court.

Constructive Dismissal Support: Shielding Your Business

Constructive dismissal isn’t just a legal term—it’s a pivotal concern that requires vigilance. It crops up when substantial changes in employment terms occur without an employee’s consent, potentially leading to a costly legal tangle and a bruised company image.

To avoid constructive dismissal, clear communication is vital. Employees need to be in the loop about significant shifts that affect their roles and in most cases get some notice that things are changing.

Beyond the dialogue, consulting with a seasoned BC lawyer can safeguard your processes, ensuring they’re airtight and by the book. It’s not just about protecting your business, but about valuing your team and maintaining the harmony that keeps your company thriving.

Union Negotiations and Collective Bargaining

Much to the chagrin of employers, it’s tough to stop your employees from unionizing. When your employees decide to unionize, it can have a significant impact on your business. It would mean higher wages, changes in working conditions and work requirements and accessibility.

It’s important not to panic but to see your employer lawyer as an ally and partner in the situation. They will assist you manage the collective bargaining process and union dispute resolution. Ensuring your operations run smoothly and your workforce feels valued.

Independent Contracts: Tailoring Your Team

Independent contractors are becoming a staple in the BC workforce. As you blend these skilled individuals into your business fabric, remember that they have a different legal relationship with your business than employees. Lawyers are key in weaving the right legal threads into your independent contractor agreements, balancing risk with flexibility.

Counsel like Ascent will craft clear payment terms, confidentiality clauses, and provisions that help protect your intellectual and other company property. They can help define project deadlines to ensure mutual understanding.

With the right independent contractor agreement, you’re not just filling a gap in your team; you’re expanding your business potential with top talent…all while minimizing unnecessary expense.

Employee/Staff Management: Guiding Your Greatest Asset

Proper staff management goes beyond paperwork—it’s about cultivating a workplace where each morning is greeted with enthusiasm. Effective employee management is a blend of legal savvy and fostering a culture of open dialogue. It starts with a crystal-clear employment contract, laying a solid foundation for expectations on both sides.

But beyond the contract, it’s the day-to-day interactions, the pulse of the workplace, that truly defines your business. Lawyers come into play by ensuring your employment agreements, policies, and procedures aren’t just legally protective but also resonate with fairness and clarity.

Crafting Solid Privacy Policies: Fortifying Your Business Secrets

In the world of business, your secrets are your stronghold. Employer lawyers are your architects of confidentiality, building robust privacy policies that protect your trade secrets and sensitive information. They’re the guardians of your NDA’s and the keepers of your company’s confidential blueprints. With their expertise, you can rest assured that your business’s private matters stay just that—private.