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    My boss called me in and has given me a warning that if I don’t perform better I will be fired. Should I consult a lawyer?
    Posted: 2012-11-22 05:00:18

    Traditionally, lawyers were consulted only after the person was fired but not before. Today, more employees are consulting lawyers to know their options. Lawyers are trained in the law, as it exists, and how to deal with it rather than know the policies, history, society, technology, psychology and culture, all combined that govern the employer-employee relationships.

    Many South Asians who are new to the country have difficulty entering the work force and after they enter it, they have difficulty moving up the ladder. Many with very high qualifications are working in low-end jobs far below their potential and ability. To keep your job and keep moving up requires understanding on many different aspects of the relationship between the employer and the employee.

    To find a job and keep it and to move up requires not only a good understanding of your technical skills, but also the social skills. If you have a new boss, there is likely to be tensions. Sometimes, you may feel that you are being bypassed for another whose ethnic origin is more like that of the boss. Getting a lawyer involved and asking him to deal with the employer can be difficult. In a smaller company, it may be better for the lawyer to stay in the background and advise the client on how to deal with the employer as the employer may become defensive. Many who see the lawyer’s letterhead assume that something is wrong instead of seeing the involvement of the lawyer as facilitating the relationship.

    If you are confident of your skills and know how to market your skills with a good resume, you will feel less threatened and you can deal with the employer more effectively. When negotiating your position, it is most important to remember that if the boss is warning you and you are not up to the mark in your performance, it is you that needs changing. The Canadian economy is moving much faster than many countries that South Asians come from. As a result, the company may be undergoing technical changes and you need to keep up with it. In today’s economy, you cannot find a job and assume that you have it made. You have to be constantly improving your skills. An average Canadian is likely to change jobs several times during his lifetime.

    If your boss’s company is taken over by another company, there is a big risk that the management is trying to trim the staff and upgrade the profitability of the organization. If your skill set is marginal, you could be losing your job and the bosses strained relationship is just the tip of the iceberg and he may be preparing to ultimately let you go. He needs some records to show that he has warned you and you have not improved. You need to understand the broader picture of the company. Larger organizations see the employee as only a profit center, and if you are not profitable, you are no use to them.

    The law of constructive wrongful dismissal is developing rapidly to deal with these employer and employee relations in situations where a notice of termination is not given but the employer expects you to leave on your own. In some very large organizations, if you are not being promoted for a long time, it could be a signal that the company wants you to leave. It is important that you learn and understand the corporate culture of the organization that you work for. These are not always written rules. So, you need to learn them from friends and colleagues in the organization. When you consult your lawyer, he does not know these rules and you have to explain the context in which your employer made the comments to you. The lawyer can then discuss what the outcome will be if there was constructive dismissal, which means that you are being fired but are not being given a notice to go.

    Mr. Jay Chauhan has more than 30 years of experience practicing Commercial law, Family law, Immigration law, Wills and Estates, and Litigation. Mr. Jay Chauhan earned degrees, including a Bachelor of Science from the London School of Economics in England; a Barrister-at-Law at Lincoln's Inn in England; a Master of Economics at the Berlin University in Germany; and a Bachelor of Laws at Osgoode Hall in Ontario, Canada. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1972, England in 1965, and admitted as an Advocate in the State of Gujarat, India in 1982. You can learn more about Mr. Chauhan by visiting his website at
    or reading his bio.

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