Employment & Labour

Five questions to ask when hiring employment lawyers in Ontario

By Christopher Achkar

Selecting an employment lawyer can be a daunting task. There are quite a few out there these days but only a few with the know-how required to represent your interests in an effective manner.

If you are an employer, the right employment lawyer on your team will permit you to focus on growing a healthy and prosperous business.

In the case of employee bullying, harassment, termination, or discrimination, the right employment lawyer will get you your rightful entitlements. Choosing the wrong employment lawyer can result in your business becoming mired in a sea of litigation or your rights as an employee being trampled upon by colleagues and employers.

Questions to help you find first-rate employment lawyers in Ontario

As an employer looking for help in hiring and firing, or an employee seeking redress for mistreatment at the hands of your employer, you need an effective employment lawyer on your side. Here are five questions to ask that should help you separate the good from the bad employment lawyers in Ontario.

1. How long have you been practising employment law? – Everyone needs to start somewhere but when it comes to something as important as employment law you want an experienced lawyer with a proven track record of success.

2. How many people are in your firm? – Lawyers without the right resources and staff to handle your case are prone to failing at some point. What you need to is a team who can address your questions on a timely basis, draft your documents carefully, and provide you the service that properly addresses all your needs – all without the quality suffering.

3. How many cases like mine have you successfully litigated? – When it comes to hiring an employment lawyer there is no point in trying to protect anyone’s feelings. Ask about their track record in similar cases. Their “won/loss” record if you will. The more cases a firm has worked on like yours, the more they will know the ins and outs to get you the best result possible.

4. Do you represent only employees or only employers? – A law firm that has represented both employers and employees will be better able to anticipate the direction the opposition’s argument will take. As such they are able to stay one step ahead and have a better chance of obtaining a favourable judgment for you, whether you are an employee or an employer.

5. Do you have arbitration experience? – Not every grievance needs to end up in court. Many in fact are better handled through arbitration, human rights applications, tribunals or boards. But if your employment lawyer has no experience except with negotiations, you may be setting up your matter for a lower outcome from the beginning. Ask your prospective employment lawyer about their experience with, and opinion regarding, different avenues for resolution. If they have no experience or are dismissive of the concept, you may be starting your matter on the wrong track.

Effective employment lawyers in Ontario can mean the difference between your business thriving and barely getting by, or your harassment claim being successfully litigated or dismissed.

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