Workers' Rights in BC, Part 2

  • Recorded on: May 14, 2024

  • Length: 60 minutes


Lawyers Jessica Forman and Jim Wu of Forte Workplace Law answer audience questions about the rights of workers and how to deal with problems at work.


In this webinar, you will learn:

Hours of work and getting paid

  • Whether a worker has the right to choose their work schedule. [3:50]

  • Whether a salaried worker with an annual billing target who receives a bonus for hours billed over target is entitled to overtime pay. [6:25]

  • Whether an employer can require a worker to work overtime hours and, instead of paying them time and a half for the overtime hours, require them to take equivalent hours off from work another day. [9:15]

  • What to do if your employer says they can only pay you in cash, under the table. [10:15]

Leaves and benefits

  • How reducing a worker’s hours from full time to part time affects their vacation pay. [11:45]

  • Whether an employer must allow a worker to take unpaid vacation time. [12:55]

  • Whether a worker who is injured (and can no longer do their job) and takes a permanent medical leave is entitled to severance. [14:25]

  • Whether an employer can exclude workers who work 20 hours per week from benefits given to workers who work 35 hours per week. [17:20]

Working conditions and human rights

  • Whether it’s legal for workers at the same organization to be treated differently under work from home policies. [19:05]

  • Where to go for help for your manager’s rude and condescending behaviour if your employer doesn’t have a human resources department. [20:45]

  • How an employer can meet their duty to accommodate a worker who has a mental health disability and is underperforming at work. [22:35]

  • Suggestions for approaching prospective employers when you have a persons with disabilities designation, and whether prospective employers must accommodate persons with disabilities. [25:40]

Changes to the job

  • Whether the new owner of a company can fire an existing worker or reduce their salary. [28:30]

  • Whether an employer can reduce a worker’s wage by 30% because business is down and they can’t afford to pay what they had been paying them. [31:00]

  • Whether an employer can require a worker to work full time or be fired, and where to go for help. [32:35]

Leaving a job

  • Whether a worker who received a relocation allowance that was conditional on staying at a job for two years must repay the allowance if they quit before two years. [35:00]

  • When a worker can apply for employment insurance and when an employer must give them a record of employment when a company shuts down. [36:10]

  • Whether an employer can restrict a worker from working within a 5 km radius of their business, or from opening their own business, for a few years after termination of their employment. [36:50]

Dealing with problems

  • What a worker can do if they want to make a complaint to the Employment Standards Branch (which can take over a year) but they don’t want to leave their job. [39:55]

Live questions

  • What the law says about perception of behaviour and conduct in the workplace. [43:00]

  • Whether it’s fair, in a contract of employment, to have two termination clauses (one for during the probation period and another for afterwards) as well as a requirement for a worker to give four weeks notice if they quit. [45:15]

  • How long employers are required to retain discipline records and whether a worker can request the removal of those records. [46:45]

  • What a worker can do if they disagree with their manager’s evaluation. [48:25]

  • What responsibility an employer has if they ask a worker to cancel their vacation — for example, for nonrefundable travel. [50:00]

  • Whether a worker’s oral indication they would like to resign in a few months counts as notice. [51:35]

  • Whether a worker has a legal right to leave early from their workplace to pick up their child from school and continue their work from home. [53:30]

  • Whether an employer can unilaterally rescind an accommodation that they provided to a worker. [55:25]


Jessica Forman

Jessica Forman

Jessica Forman is an employment lawyer with Forte Workplace Law. Her practice focuses on assisting employers and employees to solve their workplace problems. Originally from California, where she attended law school and practiced as a commercial litigator, Jessica relocated to Richmond, BC over 10 years ago. She regularly conducts seminars on issues such as harassment and workplace safety.

Jim Wu

Jim Wu

Jim Wu is an employment lawyer with Forte Workplace Law. He drafts and reviews job offers and severance packages, and fights for and defends against wrongful dismissal claims. A former EI adjudicator, he also advises on the ins and outs of employment insurance and represents both employees and employers at the Social Security Tribunal. He is a mentor for the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and can offer services in Mandarin and Shanghiese in addition to English.

Attendee feedback

“It was great! I loved the Q&A format.”

"The speakers are very engaging, helping us understand in layman's terms which is important for us who are not lawyers. Thank you so much!"

“Excellent advice was provided in an exceptionally engaging manner ... if only other presentations could even approach the quality you continually offer.”

“Paula, Jim & Jessica make a great team.”

“So grateful for the webinar. Regrettably, I wished I had this before I was terminated with my other job... Going forward it still applies...Thank you.”

“Having a part two that addressed questions from the audience was great.”

“​​I thoroughly enjoyed the topic, much of which I had not thought about, as a volunteer. Presentation was excellent. Thank you.”

“You are doing AMAZING — thank you so much for this session, very informative👏”

"Like this format, question and answers, direct, clear, simple."

“Thank you Jessica & Jim for this wonderful workshop.”

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This website explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. The cases we refer to reflect real experiences, but names have been changed. See our full disclaimer.

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