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Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I have been asked to attend a meeting with my manager that I

Customer Question

Hi Pearl, I have been asked to attend a meeting with my manager that I am uncomfortable with. She has not yet directed me to attend at a specific date and time, however, she has described the meeting as part of "due process". I do not want to meet with her until I have obtained legal advice. I live in Ontario, Canada. Would it be considered insubordination if I did not attend the meeting, and, do I have the right to not participate if I do attend?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Ontario, Canada.
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Union, part-time.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes, please. That I hesitate to contact my union regarding this issue, due to negative experiences in the past. My preference would be to hire a lawyer to represent me if it came to termination.
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 14 days ago.

Hello! My name is Debra (formerly known as Legal Ease). Thank you for your question. I'm reviewing it now, and will post back again shortly.

Expert:  Debra replied 14 days ago.

I am sorry to hear this.

It could be considered in subordination not to attend the meeting.

Unfortunately you don't have the right to hire a lawyer to represent you against the lawyer. Because you are in a union you don't have an employment contract with the employer. The union does. It is the collective agreement. For that reason the union represents you and must do so fairly.

If the union fails to represent you fairly then you can file a complaint of unfair representation with the Labour Board and could seek damages from the union.

But you could not sue your employer.

Your best next step, even though you don't want to do so is to ask for a union rep to attend the meeting with you.

I know that is now what you wanted to hear and I am sorry about that.

Please feel free to post back with any follow-up questions you may have. If you don't have any then I hope I have earned a 5 star rating but if you don't feel that I have please don't hesitate to reply back and let me know what more I can do to assist you. Finally, please know that even after you rate me I will be here for you and you can ask follow-up questions if you think of them later on at no further charge of course.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you:) Unfortunately, I have already declined the meeting (although, it was presented by the manager as a request, not a demand; ie. I was not directed to attend at a specific date and time). That said, if I do attend the meeting, with or without union representation, am I required to participate?
Expert:  Debra replied 14 days ago.

If you want to be cautious so that you keep your job then it would make sense to do all you can to satisfy them if possible.

Sitting there but not co-operating is not any better than not attending really.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I may choose to go the participation route, however, this is a very complicated matter. I really just need to know whether or not I have the legal right to not participate. Please advise.
Expert:  Debra replied 14 days ago.

You cannot be forced to participate.

But you can be dismissed if you don't.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
If I am dismissed, I assume that would also sever my ties to the union, and I would be free to hire a lawyer to sue for constructive dismissal. Is this correct?
Expert:  Debra replied 14 days ago.

No.

You cannot sue your employer. The union would have to grieve. It's not constructive dismissal if the fire you. It's constructive dismissal when you quit because you feel you were driven to quit by the employer.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
if I quit, as opposed to being fired, does that mean that I can hire my own legal representation?
Expert:  Debra replied 14 days ago.

No.

You cannot sue you employer no matter what happens. You are in a union and are required by law to use the grievance process. The contract is the collective agreement and it is the union and not you that is a party to it. They go after the union and the process is mandatory and restricted to the grievance process.

Expert:  Debra replied 12 days ago.

Is there anything more I can help you with at this point in time?

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