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THE QUESTION

I believe my employer is planning to terminate me by assigning me a completely different and unsuitable role in a different location. What should I do?

THE ANSWER

Your employer cannot force you to take a vastly different role in a different location.

If you are given no other reasonable option, you should first register your protestation in writing and ask your employer to reconsider. If your employer refuses, you can leave and sue for constructive dismissal damages, which are essentially lost wages for a reasonable period of time while you look for another job.

If the work is humiliating or tantamount to a demotion, coupled with a change in location, then, more often than not, it can be successfully rejected.

THE QUESTION

My husband has been let go from his job, two weeks before his six-month probation was up.

He has been given a release to sign, promising no further claims or actions in exchange for one week's pay and a two-week extension of his benefits.

The lawyers we have contacted say they will charge us $500 just to look at the letter, but we can't afford that. (My income will barely support us and our toddler.) Any advice?

THE ANSWER

Unless you know exactly what you are bargaining for, never sign a release without having a lawyer look it over.

A release prevents any type of legal action, regardless of how meritorious the case and it is not a valid excuse to later claim you could not afford a lawyer.

Not all lawyers will charge $500 to review a severance agreement and release. You should shop around for one who will charge a lesser or discounted rate given your situation.

Also, almost every provincial law society (the local body that regulates lawyers) has a free lawyer referral service, where you can get a 20-minute free or discounted consultation.

Daniel A. Lublin is a partner at Whitten & Lublin, representing both employers and employees in workplace legal disputes.

E-mail: Dan@canadaemploymentlawyer.com

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