In Alberta, minimum standards for workplace conduct are set out under the Employment Standards Act. The act enshrines certain rights under labour law:
- Employers must give reasonable notice of termination.
- Employers can’t terminate an employee for discriminatory reasons.
- Employees are afforded protection from harassment and bullying.
- Employers must provide reasonable time for leave (e.g. maternity leave, leave of absence).
The act is designed to protect both employer and employee so that neither can abuse the working relationship. For it to be effective, there are certain complex negotiations that take place around terms such as “just cause” and “reasonable notice.”
This is where labour laws get technical. Requirements for termination notice, employee protections and other considerations change based on various factors. An employee on maternity leave will have different rights and protections than an employee who is terminated for neglecting his duties, for example.
Other factors also come into play, such as time under employment, job classification, and type of industry in which you are employed. Certain industries such as federally legislated agencies, construction or seasonal work are exempted from some dismissal requirements, due to the nature of the work.
Know your rights as an employee.
Alberta’s Employment Standards Act legislates minimum workplace standards. However, certain rights are also covered under the Alberta Human Rights Act. Interpreting the legislation and knowing how and when each applies is not always easy.
Unless you encounter a situation that requires labour law knowledge, you may never need more than a layperson’s understanding. But should your workplace rights be violated you will want to ensure you have the appropriate legal advice. That is where the Lypkie Henderson Employment Law office can help.