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All employees have certain rights in the workplace, even if they may not be aware. Employee rights refer to the legal entitlement to fair treatment. However, those rights can vary by an employee’s employment status. 

Technically, all employees are workers, but all workers are not employees. Employees have all workers’ rights but also more rights and responsibilities. If you want to know your rights as an employee in Toronto, you should meet with a Toronto employment lawyer.

5 Employee Rights in Toronto

The following are the employee rights in Toronto

1. The Right to Receive a Payslip

All employees in Toronto must be given a payslip on the day they get paid or before. A pay slip must break down your pay for the relevant period, including statutory deductions, such as tax or National Insurance. The payslip can be given as a hard copy or a soft copy. The contents of a pay slip include:

  • Gross pay and net pay (pay before deductions are made and pay after deductions are made)
  • Variable deductions, which can vary by your pay. Variable deductions can include income tax, National Insurance, Student Loan repayments, or pension contributions
  • Fixed deductions should be explained in a separate statement. Fixed deductions must be sent to employees before they get their first payslips and updated annually.

·         A payslip should also have a tax code.

2. Employees Must not be Discriminated Against

Discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employee is mistreated based on the protected characteristics of employment, including:

·         Age

  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy or maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Discrimination can take two forms– direct or indirect.

Direct Discrimination 

Direct discrimination occurs when unfair treatment is based on the protected characteristic of employment. For instance, an expectant mother should not be subjected to disciplinary action if they had morning sickness and were late for work– this would be considered direct discrimination.

Indirect Discrimination 

Indirect discrimination occurs when specific rules that apply to certain employees are only reasonable theoretically but unfair in practice. For instance, forcing all employees to work one Saturday a month would be indirect discrimination against employees who consider that Saturday to be a holy day, such as the Jews.

Objective Justification?

Objective justification occurs when discrimination is justified. For example, if a surgeon can no longer perform their duties due to deteriorated eyesight, the surgeon can be allocated other duties by their employer to protect patients. What should victims of discrimination in the workplace do?

The following are the steps you should take if you believe you’re a victim of discrimination in the workplace

  • Check if you’re legally covered;
  • Determine the perpetrators; it could be an employer or colleagues;
  • Identify the type of discrimination that applies to your case;

Employees can then decide the best way to resolve the situation; they can address the issue with the perpetrator or seek legal advice.

3. Health and Safety

Employers are expected to provide safe and healthy work environments for their employees. A work environment that prioritises the health and safety of employees should have the following:

·         Clean toilets;

·         Washbasins;

·         Clean drinking water;

·         Ensuring the workplace is clean, ventilated, and well-lit;

·         Proper maintenance of working equipment.

4. Statutory Maternity and Paternity Leaves

Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to a 52-week Statutory Maternity Leave that is divided 2: 

  • The first 26 weeks are called Ordinary Maternity Leave;
  • The last 26 weeks are called Additional Maternity Leave

Employees who qualify for maternity leave can decide not to take all 52 weeks at once. However, they must take a two-week rest after their baby’s birth. The rights of an employee are protected while they’re on maternity leave.


Maternity Pay should be equal to an employee’s regular wage. Employees qualify for SMP if they:

  • Earn a minimum wage rate;
  • Provide a 28 day’s notice to their employers;
  • Demonstrate that they’re pregnant using a letter from a doctor or midwife;
  • Have worked for a specified period.

5. Protection Against Unfair Dismissal

Employers must provide a valid reason when terminating an employee. The law requires employers to provide sufficient notice to employees and be fair when ending their contracts. A fair dismissal should be based on:

  1. The conduct of an employee;
  2. An employee’s performance;
  3. Redundancy;
  4. The legal requirement needed to perform your job. For instance, a driver who has lost their driver’s licence cannot continue driving.

You can also have your contract terminated for some other substantial reason outside of these four. Unfair dismissal occurs in the following ways:

  • When an employee is dismissed for being a member of a trade union;
  • When termination involves a statutory right, such as the right to a break;
  • When an employee is dismissed because of whistleblowing– reporting wrongdoings at work;
  • Employment terminations involving the protected characteristics of employment, such as race, religion, and more.

Employment rights ensure employees have access to conducive work environments. You should consult an employment lawyer to learn more about your employment rights.

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