As employees and employers navigate the uncharted waters COVID-19 has brought business and the economy, many have questions – about their layoff, about rehiring, about return-to-work regulations and more.
“I enjoy employment law because of the immediate impact it can have for a business or individual. Someone is in a time of crisis and you’re helping them, or you’re helping a business prevent a crisis with proper preparation,” explains Lalonde, who moved to Cranbrook eight years ago with his wife and children, appreciating the lifestyle the community affords.
Today Lalonde practices across the Kootenays, and when not at work, enjoys spending family time in the great outdoors, mountain biking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter.
That accessible, community-minded approach resonates with his clients.
“I find people appreciate working together because they can put their problems on me – it’s a relief for them, but because of my training and experience, it’s not a ‘problem’ to me,” says Lalonde, who in addition to Employment Law, also maintains a general practice that includes Corporate and Commercial Law, Family Law, general Civil Litigation, and Wills and Estates.
Working with employees
If you’ve been laid off or let go, and feel you have recourse, it’s important to know that you have options, Lalonde says, noting that people sometimes avoid seeking legal help because of the anticipated expense.
However, employment law issues can often be addressed quickly, and depending on the case, Lalonde can take it on contingency. That means that rather than charging hourly fees, he’ll receive a percentage of the amount the client receives – either through settlement or court decision – if the suit is successful.
“You don’t just have to accept your layoff,” Lalonde notes.
Working with employers
For organizations, undertaking work now to prevent employment-related legal issues later can save both headaches and money.
Amid everything else employers need to do, that attitude can be: “If a problem comes up, we’ll deal with it then.” But often it’s far more effective to prevent issues in the first place, with well-crafted contracts and well-defined rights and responsibilities for both employer and employee, Lalonde says.
From drafting employment contracts to understanding the correct way to handle terminations, many common issues are well-defined in the law.
However, “with new case law coming all the time that changes the legal landscape, whether you’re an employee or an employer, it’s crucial to work with a professional who’s on top of it,” Lalonde notes.
To learn more, visit mzalaw.ca or call