Fired because of your age? Talk to a lawyer!

Need a Lawyer? road sign with sun background

 

A recent blog by Toronto employment lawyer Doug MacLeod discussed a December 2012 case where the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (OHRT) awarded a fired, 68-year old employee with 35 years of service $27,000 in damages for age discrimination.

Raymond MacKinnon was self-represented and the employer Celtech Plastics LTD. did not respond to his OHRT application or participate in the hearing.

MacLeod’s primary message was that it is a very bad idea for employers to ignore the OHRT. However, in my view there is a much more important lesson for recently terminated older workers – get legal advice!

While $27,000 for age discrimination is certainly better than nothing, because MacKinnon did not hire a lawyer he essentially forfeited his claim for loss of income after he was fired. First of all, he only asked for an additional $27,000 which amounted to about six months of wages. Then he brought no evidence before the OHRT to prove his wage loss claim.

“I have little doubt that, if asked, the Vice-Chair would have awarded him up to two years of wages if he could show he was unable to find another job since he was fired in 2010,” MacLeod says.

Terminated employees may be reluctant or unable to pay expensive legal bills, but there are cost-effective ways to get preliminary legal advice. The Law Society Referral Service. will give you the name of a lawyer or paralegal within or near your community, who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options.

Also, many employment lawyers work on a contingency fee which means if they take your case you don’t have to pay until your case is settled or you get a favourable ruling from a court or tribunal.

With the abolition of mandatory retirement, more and more people are working into their late 60s or even longer. If the facts reveal that you were forced out because of your age you may be entitled to compensation. Unless you know enough to claim what you are owed, you could be leaving money that should be in your pocket on the table.

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