Experienced Ottawa Employment Lawyers assisting with Cross-Border Employment Matters
High-level employees working for international companies are often hired in Canada and later transferred to work in a foreign jurisdiction. This arrangement also occurs in reverse, with an employee being hired outside of Canada and then later reassigned to a Canadian location. Either scenario raises the question of which law or jurisdiction will apply if an employment dispute were to arise in the future. While it is common for employers to create and execute an employment contract at the start of a new working relationship, this crucial step is often overlooked when transferring or promoting an employee, leaving this and other important questions unanswered. Retaining the services of an employment lawyer specifically experienced in all matters relating to cross-border employment issues is extremely valuable, due to the complexities that can arise when multiple jurisdictions are involved.
Champ & Associates has been advocating for clients on international employment matters for many years. The firm’s lawyers have successfully represented clients in several prominent cases before the Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal. They work with clients employed in a variety of industries where cross-border issues are common, such as the technology and hospitality industries. They review each case from all possible angles in order to find the best path forward to obtain a favourable result for their clients.
Paul Champ, the firm’s founder, established Ontario case law precedent for cross-border employment law through his work on a case involving an employee of an international hotel chain. The employee was hired in Canada and later transferred to work in Nevada, however, there was no contract in place addressing the issue of jurisdiction in the event of a dispute. When he was later terminated in Nevada, Champ & Associates successfully advocated before the Court of Appeal to move the jurisdiction to Ontario, where the laws around termination and severance pay are much more favourable to employees. This case has since been used as a legal precedent for employees looking to enforce their rights in other cases across Canada.
Common Challenges in Cross-Border Employment Disputes
Determining the Parties
If a person is employed by a subsidiary of a global operation, it can be a challenge just to identify the correct entity to engage with. Champ & Associates has dealt with this issue on multiple occasions. They will identify and locate the proper corporate entity (or entities) from which to seek remedies for their client.
Questions of Jurisdiction
Ontario law provides for an implied term in most employment relationships which says that fair notice must be provided in any termination without cause. This deceptively simple concept is the cornerstone of all wrongful dismissal cases in the province.
Having originated in British common law, this concept was not adopted by American civil law. Although this issue is governed at the state level, no state in the United States mandates the idea of reasonable notice and so as a result, each state provides minimal or no severance payments to employees after termination. Given the above, it is no surprise that any employee with a connection to both Ontario and the U.S. would seek to have their matter decided here.
Ontario law allows for a continuation of Ontario legal jurisdiction where the original employment contract was formed in the province. This can also include situations where the “employment relationship” did not necessarily involve a written agreement.
When an employee is then transferred to work in a different jurisdiction, it is a presumption that Ontario law follows. This is particularly so where the transfer is for a fixed or roughly fixed time period, with the intent that the employee will return to Ontario.
All of the above, however, presumes there are no contractual terms to the contrary. Once again, this highlights the importance of carefully reviewing an employment contract with a skilled employment lawyer prior to signing. There are many potential pitfalls to be aware of and the lawyers at Champ & Associates will ensure you are fully aware of all terms in your contract before you commit yourself to them.
Contact the Ottawa Employment Lawyers at Champ & Associates for Skilled Representation on Cross-Border Employment Issues
When asked to relocate to a new country for work, there are many factors to consider beyond finding accommodation and arranging immigration issues. It is also important to consider what will happen if you run into a dispute with your employer in the new location. Before signing an employment contract or accepting the terms of a promotion, it is important to ensure you have reviewed everything with an experienced employment lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.
For those who are employed away from home, or employed in Ontario with a company based elsewhere, the employment lawyers at Champ & Associates can help. They will find the best method for resolving your issue in order to set you up for the greatest chance of success. To discuss your matter in confidence, please contact the firm by telephone at 613-237-4740 or reach out online.