Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

In a year of massive economic turmoil, career and employment advice became more important than ever to Globe readers. From layoffs to back-to-work policy, these were the top employment questions of the year. You can see all employment questions answered this year here.

My business is suffering due to coronavirus. What are the rules around temporarily laying off employees?

The question: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, my business can no longer provide work for a number of employees. Can I temporarily lay off these employees until my business recovers?

My boss wants me to self-quarantine without pay. Is that legal?

The question: I recently went on vacation to Mexico and, because of the coronavirus, my boss wants me to self-quarantine at home for two weeks as a precaution. My job can’t be completed remotely so they said I will not be paid during the quarantine period. Is this legal?

Story continues below advertisement

My boss insists we come to the office and doesn’t enforce mask use. Do we have the right to work from home?

The question: I work for a real estate investment firm, and it is absolutely not essential for my colleagues nor I to be in the office, but the owner of the company prefers we be there for his own socializing purposes. The office has provided hand sanitizer but otherwise does not enforce the use of masks or physical distancing. We still have plenty of crammed boardroom meetings. I’m in Ontario, so with the rollback to Stage 2, do we have the legal right to work from home? We are 100-per-cent equipped to do so and very much capable.

I’ve been asked to return to work but I’m afraid to do so. Can I still collect CERB in this situation?

The question: I am a server and the restaurant I used to work at has asked me to return to work but I don’t feel safe interacting so closely with customers. What rights do I have to still collect CERB in this situation? What responsibilities must be met by the restaurant? I want to work but I’m afraid to do so. The servers are also being asked to clean the bathrooms since the restaurant can’t afford to pay cleaners any more. Is this allowed?

I was transferred to another role at work and they won’t move me back. Is this legal?

The question: My department is split into two teams. I was transferred from one team to the other without notice and into a significantly different role, in which I have no interest. After some time, I asked the head of the department if I could move back into my previous role but his response was that I should look for another job. Is this legal?

Does my non-competition clause still apply after I was laid off due to COVID-19?

The question: I was laid off because of COVID-19. I had a non-competition clause in my employment contract. My only employable skill is in this field. Does the non-compete still apply if I was laid off?

I think my boss used COVID-19 as an excuse to get rid of me. What can I do?

The question: I got a new supervisor last year and we have never gotten along. I feel like she has been trying to get me fired for months because I haven’t met certain targets. The business has been affected minimally by COVID-19 and I was the only one on my team that was laid off. They claim it was due to the pandemic, but I think they just used it as an excuse to get rid of me. What can I do?

If my employees don’t come into work because they want to stay on CERB, do I have any rights?

The question: What happens if my employees try to take advantage of the CERB? Some of them are collecting more on CERB than their usual wage and I’m worried they’ll say they are feeling “a little under the weather” or that they have a headache until the CERB period is over. What rights does an employer have if they feel the employee is faking? When businesses are allowed to reopen, I’ll be implementing all the protocols for protecting my employees. So I just want to know what my rights are.

My manager recently asked everyone on our team if we’re interested in taking unpaid leave. Is this legal?

The question: My manager recently asked everyone on our team if we’re interested in taking unpaid leave. Is this legal? If I take a voluntary leave and then I get terminated, am I still entitled to the same amount of severance?

Story continues below advertisement

Do I have to return to my retail job even though I am afraid of COVID-19?

The question: I work in retail and my employer wants me to return to work now, but I am frightened to do so. What if I get COVID-19? Do I have to go back to work?

Have a question for our experts? Send an e-mail to NineToFive@globeandmail.com with ‘Nine to Five’ in the subject line. Emails without the correct subject line may not be answered.

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies