I made a Small Claims Court claim against my employer. What do I do next?

2. Prepare for the settlement conference

Small Claims Court usually holds settlement conferences by Zoom or telephone. If the hearing method the court chose won't work for you, you can request a different way for the court to have your . For example, you might ask for it to be held in-person. You must make the request in writing to your local Small Claims Court office. You can learn more about making requests in the Superior Court of Justice's Guidelines to Determine Hearing Method in the Small Claims Court.

If your employer files a Defence in time, the court sends a Notice of Settlement Conference to both of you. The settlement conference is supposed to be no later than 90 days after your employer files their Defence.

A settlement conference is a meeting with a judge. The purpose is to:

  • make sure that you and your employer know what each of you says happened and what evidence you plan to use
  • see if there are things you can agree on

If you agree, you might not need to have a trial. Or, if you agree on some things, it might make the trial shorter and less complicated.

If you can't go on the date the court sets for the settlement conference, contact the court office and ask to change the date. If you don't go to the settlement conference and your employer does, the court can order you to pay your employer's expenses for going.

What to bring to the settlement conference

If you have documents that you want to use as evidence, you're supposed to file them with your claim. If you didn't do that or if you now have more documents, you have to:

  • them on your employer, and
  • file them with the court.

And you must do this at least 14 days before the settlement conference.

The court will send you a blank List of Proposed Witnesses [Form 13A] with the Notice of Settlement Conference. You also need to fill this out and serve it on your employer and file it with the court at least 14 days before the settlement conference.

There is more information about witnesses in Step 4.

For any documents and forms, you have to follow the rules about serving and filing. These are explained in Steps 3 and 4 of How do I sue my former employer in Small Claims Court?

Think about what you’d agree to

Before the settlement conference, think about what you would agree to. You might decide to accept less than the full amount you asked for in your claim. For example, some people agree to less because they:

  • don't want to have a trial
  • hope the employer will pay them sooner if they agree

But you don't have to agree to anything at the settlement conference.

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