The idea of seeking out legal help or representation can be daunting. Taking an issue to court can be a lengthy, complicated process, with no guarantee of a payout; legal counsel can be prohibitively expensive. But you don’t need to commit to going to court to seek out legal advice. You can always book a one-time appointment with a legal professional to get guidance, and understand your options for resolving a situation.
If you’re dealing with a conflict at your workplace, or have concerns about a dismissal or a new policy, seeking legal advice in the form of a one-hour consult can be a great way to get clarity.
At Ascent, we’re open to speaking with you regardless of your work or income situation, and we’re happy to provide guidance even if you choose not to take your issue to court.
Getting in touch with us is easy via our online booking form, or by calling us. Through an initial 15-minute phone call, we can get to know the basics of your issue, and let you know if we can help. After that, we offer one-hour consultations at a fixed rate, in which we can go further into the details of your case, and walk you through your options for resolving the situation or seeking reparations.
There are three major benefits to seeking legal advice that we hope you’ll consider.
Legal Advice Gives You the Knowledge to Help You Proceed
Arguably the most important benefit of getting legal advice is gaining the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision about how to proceed with your situation.
We often have clients come in who are not entirely sure whether they have a legal case, or if there are other avenues available to help solve the problem they’re experiencing.
In an hour-long consultation with a legal professional, you can find out whether your situation is something that you can pursue in a legal setting. But we won’t advise you to seek legal representation unless we believe you have a strong case. Many issues that our clients come to us with are the type that can be settled by submitting a complaint to the Employment Standards Branch, WorkSafe BC, or to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
We can also advise you on your rights, and your potential entitlements in a case. In cases of wrongful dismissal or mental distress, for example, many complainants are fired up and ready to take an issue all the way to court. However, as legal professionals we know that it can be difficult to win these types of claims, and that any damages you do stand to gain might not outweigh the costs (in terms of both money and time) required to go through court proceedings.
By seeking legal advice before you start building a case, you can get a better idea of how to get the compensation you deserve – whether that’s through a court proceeding, a complaint filed to another body, or through mediation within your workplace.
Recently, we’ve had many people call in with concerns or questions about workplace policies around COVID-19, such as masking and vaccination. If you have questions about a policy that your workplace has recently implemented, we can help you understand it through the lens of employment law and human rights. When you know your rights and how they intersect with employment law, you’re better equipped to express concerns to your employer in a productive way.
Legal Professionals can Assist with Strengthening a Claim
If in consultation we do find that you have a potential legal case, we can then let you know what you can do to strengthen that case.
Part of our initial assessment is getting a better understanding of the situation at hand. We encourage clients to provide us with relevant documentation prior to a consult, so that we can see the facts of the case. In most cases, it’s a good idea to provide a copy of your employment agreement or contract, and any relevant written policies that are enforced in your workplace.
For cases of discrimination, bullying, or harassment, we usually advise clients to try to document any incidents of discrimination by writing down exactly what happened, when it happened, and who was involved. Emails and text correspondences are also acceptable forms of documentation. Of course, we understand that when someone is being bullied at work they may not have clear documentation of every incident. If you’re experiencing a traumatic event you may not be thinking about writing it down, in the moment.
Even if you don’t have documentation, it’s still absolutely worthwhile to seek legal advice. Your word and your experiences still mean something, and we can advise you on how to start collecting evidence about an ongoing issue, or how to present and back up your story in a way that will strengthen any claims down the road.
Once we find out what information you have or can provide, we can advise you on what other information you should try to gather, as well as possible risks, costs, and downsides to pursuing legal action.
Legal Advice can Provide Guidance for Pursuing Other Avenues
Depending on the issue at hand and on your personal situation, pursuing a court case may not be the best course of action. When you come to us for legal advice, you are in no way obligated to seek legal representation beyond an initial consultation.
That said, if you choose not to pursue legal action, we can still provide guidance and next steps for other avenues. In some cases, the additional information we can provide about the legal context and regulations in a particular area might be enough to allow you to return to your workplace armed with information to resolve the problem through internal discussions.
In other cases, we might recommend submitting a claim through another entity such as the Employment Standards Branch, WorkSafe BC, or the BC Human Rights Tribunal. For simpler issues such as missing pay, physical injuries, or obvious discrimination, these entities can provide assistance and resolutions with less personal financial cost.
Regardless of what avenue you choose to pursue, we’re here for you. Our goal is to help you resolve issues in your workplace, regardless of whether it’s strictly a legal issue, or something that can be mediated through other means.
Other Things to Know
Workplace issues aren’t always black and white. Sometimes, you may just have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, without knowing the precise legal implications. If you have a bad feeling about something happening in your workplace, or even if you just have questions about a new policy, structural change, or condition at work, we encourage you to reach out. A little knowledge can give you the confidence to stand up for yourself at work.