In Ontario if you have lost your job several factors in your legal claim against the employer can decide whether your damages are awarded in full or reduced. We examine the subject of mitigation when it comes to your job search efforts and how they can strenghten or weaken your case.
You’ve been terminated and have engaged a lawyer to handle your case. You may still be dealing with the emotional effects of losing your job, and the last thing you are thinking about is looking forward and securing new employment.
Your lawyer advises you to begin your job search and to keep details of your efforts. This is because the law references the principle of mitigation that requires dismissed employees to make a concerted effort to find similar employment. In fact, many strong cases have been derailed because the employee has either not made these efforts, or has not kept detailed documentation of their search efforts. In these instances, the damages you can claim may be substantially reduced. Here are some suggestions on how to manage your job search:
1. Keep a hard copy file – you should begin by keeping a detailed file of all the job applications you send out as well as the cold calls or introductory calls you make to prospective employers. Keep a record of dates the applications were sent or the calls were made and the names of the contacts at the companies. The more relevant documentary evidence you can gather, the stronger your case becomes.
2. Track your expenses – you are allowed to claim reasonable expenses you incur in the process of looking for another job. Document and keep all your receipts for expenses such as office supplies, photocopies, transportation, and other relevant expenses.
3. Search often – it’s important to demonstrate that your job search efforts are consistent and regular.
4. Build a professional resumï¿½ – your resumï¿½ and cover letters will become evidence that is used in your case. A clearly inadequate resumï¿½ may be referenced as a reason that you have been unsuccessful with your job search efforts.
5. Apply for a number of positions – if you are finding it difficult to find similar positions within your specific area of expertise, you need to broaden your search to include jobs that may be outside of your specialty but might otherwise be acceptable.
6. Follow up – once you’ve applied for a position or have had an interview, you should follow up with the prospective employer and again, be sure to document the results of your follow-up contact.
7. Outplacement counselling – an outplacement counsellor can assist you in focusing your attention on transitioning into new employment. You should make use of this service, primarily for developing your resumï¿½, polishing your interview skills, and helping you to tap into the hidden job market.