Hess Associates

The Peril of Non-Union Shops in Ontario

Did you know that your employer, in a non-union shop, in Ontario, can change the nature of your job at any time? Let’s say for example, you work on an assembly line, adding widget A to widget B. At any time, you can be asked to move to a place where you work with different widgets, or in fact, be asked to move to an entirely different place in the plant.

Unless this is a matter of health and safety concern, you have no choice but to comply.

This exact scenario ensued recently where an employee was asked to do just that – move to a different role in a manufacturing plant.

If your doctor writes a note stating that you are incapable of doing that job, the health and safety division would step in to ensure you are not asked to do anything contravening your doctor’s wishes. If there is no other position available, they can still choose to terminate you without cause, albeit having to pay severance, vacation, etc. Companies with a $2.5 million dollar payroll will also have to pay you a form of termination pay. You have to make sure that you do not quit, forfeiting these payouts.

If you feel that you are being purposely forced to quit although there is still work and you were doing a fine job where you were, a form of constructive dismissal, the Ontario Relations Board will act as a legal dispute tribunal and hear your case. Most companies will not want disputes to reach the stage where the government is called in to see what is going on. You can actually get 30 min of free legal advice by calling the Law Society of Upper Canada.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against, you can also contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

If you have a complaint about your pay, hours of work, overtime, vacation or holiday entitlements,termination or severance pay, and you are not represented by a trade union, you should call the Ministry of Labour Employment Standards Call Centre.

Although unions have their drawbacks, and you do have to pay your union dues, at times it may well be worth it.

If we can help you in any other way, please feel free to call us.


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