What does COVID-19 mean for employment litigation?

It’s all that we are talking about, but these unprecedented times require a fresh look and reminder on certain aspects of litigation, especially employment law. 

Unfortunately, lay-offs and terminations are happening.  In some circumstances the terminations could have been coming for a while due to restructuring or changing up of the business, but in some circumstances, the restructuring is as a result of the pandemic. 

Just because of our current situation, termination from one job does not relieve you from finding new employment. A portion of common law notice is the amount of alternative employment available. 

How does one find out the amount of alternate employment positions? These days it is as simple as internet searches. 

For every wrongful dismissal employment file that comes into our firm, I am tasked with doing the relevant weekly searches to show how many jobs are available.  There is always the joke when the lawyers see me doing the job searches that I’m looking for a new job. 

Because of the searches I do, the lawyers are able to assess the file and determine if proper notice was given, and also allow them to push back on the other party as to why the notice provided was appropriate.

It is unfortunate when job loss happens, but it happens.  Sometimes change is a good thing, but you can’t just sit back, take a break and ask for more notice.  You are required to find another job, show proof that you are looking for a new job, and rest assured, I’ll be looking too.

Christine Allan, Law Clerk