Question: I worked for my employer for 8-1/2 years. Recently, an incident took place at work, and five days later I was placed on “administrative leave, pending further investigation.” I was never contacted, or interviewed, for my version of events. Two days later I received my final pay and unused vacation pay by direct deposit. I wrote back, insisting that I was not at fault, and demanding a copy of my employment file. That day I received an email telling me the investigation was re-opened, and was asked to come in to HR. What should I do? How do I respond? What are my options?

Serge, Ontario, Canada

Answer: I must first admit that I am not at all familiar with Canadian employment laws, or the employment customs of Canada. For this reason, I must suggest that you consider the wisdom of consulting with an experienced employment attorney resident in Ontario. (If you would like, we can locate one for you.)

With that in mind, I do observe one important thing, and ask that you take note of it, as well: your former employer responded to what you wrote. That is key to keep in mind. The lesson: what works will likely continue to work. Why don’t you consider putting your version of events, and by “events” I mean everything that happened to you, from the incident through today, and consider sending it to the company President (or CEO), and perhaps even the members of the Board of Directors of the company. Consider telling them why, after 8-1/2 years, this is not fair, and suggests to you that something irregular may be taking place. Tell them what you want: a fair, open hearing, and your job back – with back pay.

Your letters must be clear, calm, focused, and – most of all – respectful. Otherwise you will not have much credibility. This is in the general nature of how we frequently “negotiate” to help employees get fair treatment. Speak the truth, go to the source, tell them what you want, and what is fair, which is the same thing in your case.

Hope that’s helpful. Let us know if we can locate an experienced Ontario employment attorney for you.

Best, Al Sklover

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