Labour & Employment Law Blog

Does My Employer Need to Provide Me with Work?

Does My Employer Need to Provide Me with Work?

Did it ever happen to you that you were sitting idle at your desk for weeks on end while getting paid? Sure, it may feel good to get paid to do nothing but at a certain point, it’s going to start to get old. You will stop deriving pleasure from your work (there is no work) and you will begin to wonder if your days within the organization are numbered. Career advancement? Forget about it. However, is an employee entitled to get work from their employer or is your only choice to simply get up and quit without a severance package?

In the past, there were recognized exceptions to the employer’s duty to provide work. The duty to provide work was reserved to employment contexts where there was a perceived benefit from the actual performance of the work. For instance, if you were an actor, a radio or television performer or a top executive who derived reputational benefit from the work, the law would imply the obligation to provide work.

In the last decades, however, Canadian employment law has recognized work as one of the most fundamental aspects in a person’s life and an aspect of a person’s sense of identity, self-worth, and even emotional well-being. While the recognized exceptions were not done away with, they are now regarded as useful indicators that an employer has implied contractual obligations. As a result, employers do not have unfettered discretion to withhold work from their employees either in bad faith or without a justification, and to the extent that such a notion was ever valid, it has been overtaken by modern developments in employment law.

The Bottom Line

As such, we can say that if your employer fails to provide you with work, that action of withholding work may constitute constructive dismissal. It will not matter what type of job you have or do. For instance, an administrative assistant or high-ranking manager will both have an implied right to perform the work. This is because the common law has changed so that now an employer cannot withhold work from an employee either in bad faith or with malice or without justification. Whether this is the case will be determined based on the context of the matter and the facts at hand.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.