Q: How fast do I need to act if I want to sue my employer?

This article was published in The Hamilton Spectator.

Q: How fast do I need to act if I want to sue my employer?

A: There are many possible claims you can have against your employer and several different places you can make your claim.

All employees can complain to the Ministry of Labour if their employer violates the Employment Standards Act, and you have two years from the violation to complain.

If you’re not in a union and your employer fires you without giving you enough notice or pay in lieu, you also have two years to sue in court for wrongful dismissal.

The deadlines for other claims can be more complicated.

If you want to sue for discrimination in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, you have one year from the date of the last incident to make your claim. This is a strict deadline that the tribunal has the power to extend, but that rarely happens.

Employees who suffer retaliation for making a harassment or health-and-safety complaint can file a reprisal application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board but must do so promptly after the retaliation occurs. This means months rather than years: some Labour Board cases have found that seven or eight months is too late.

Unionized employees can ask their union to bring a grievance for them, but there are different deadlines in every collective agreement.

Given the numerous options and deadlines, you should speak to a lawyer or your union right away if you think your employer is violating your rights. Waiting too long could limit your options or leave you with no options at all.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Ross & McBride professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.
Nick Papageorge
Nick Papageorge
P: 905.572.5838