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Labour and Employment Lawyers in Toronto
Labour & Employment Lawyers

Tel: (416) 590-1900
Fax: (416) 590-1600

17th Floor, Yonge/Eglinton Centre
2300 Yonge Street
Suite 1750
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1E4

"Work  is one of the most fundamental aspects in a person's life, providing the individual with a means of financial support and, as importantly, a contributory role in society.  A person's employment is an essential component of his or her sense of identity, self-worth and emotional well-being."

-- Chief Justice Dickson, in Reference re: Public Service Employee Relations Act (Alberta), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 313 (Supreme Court of Canada),
at page 368.



Attorney Stephen Du tells departing employees how to secure:

Job references: keeping your reputation out of the rumour mill.

Professional reputations built over a lifetime may be destroyed overnight should you fail to secure (a) timely reference letters, (b) cover story to your co-workers, and (c) seal of your personnel file against nosy third-parties.

Secure timely reference letters.

First of all, request favourable letter of recommendation before, rather than after you’ve left the company.  This letter should include starting date of your employment, position(s) held, responsibilities undertaken, and reference to your having performed all job duties in a professional and satisfactory manner.  If supervisors are too busy to write something up for you, then draft it yourself, and have your letter signed by a qualified boss/officer of the company who actually worked with you and therefore in position to know you well. 

Too many times, well-meaning employers will promise you the world as far as references are concerned, but quickly lose interest once you’ve left the company.  Finally, better for your letter not to contain specific reason(s) for your departure, so that you’re left with maximum flexibility to offer whatever reasons you feel are appropriate under various circumstances of new job interviews.

Cover your story from workplace gossip.

Secondly, request that co-workers be notified of your departure reasons in writing so as to dispel the typical false rumours about your termination.  Whereas a positive company-wide memo may assist you in landing a new job for an industry contact/competitor, false rumours and water-cooler innuendo spread rapidly through narrow industries.

Seal your personnel file.

Finally, ask your employer for express promise that your personnel file, performance reviews, medical claims, attendance records, alleged misconduct, etc.. will be effectively sealed from third-party access.  At no cost to the employer, your boss’ written assurance of confidentiality will enable your departure with maximum personal privacy and reputation intact.


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