On January 29, 2013, the law blog for the suddenly unemployed was re-branded “Labour Pains: an employment law blog for employers and employees.” For those who are interested and for those who will permit me a bit of self-indulgence, here are the hows and whys behind the name change.
The law blog for the suddenly unemployed was launched on April 1, 2012. In a post that has since been deleted, I introduced the blog and mentioned that the reason that the blog was titled “the law blog for the suddenly unemployed” was to cover the often-overlapping worlds of personal injury law and wrongful dismissal. At the time, I was working at a different law firm, practicing in both of the areas of personal injury and employment law.
Although there were initially some posts about personal injury cases and income replacement benefits, it quickly became apparent that the true focus of this blog would be employment law issues. Accordingly, posts about personal injury matters were removed. The name, however, stuck.
When the blog was started it was actually started under the name “Sean Bawden’s law blog for the suddenly unemployed.” The URL reflected the ownership and the whole thing was as much an experiment as anything.
If one believes the statistics provided by blogger, that first month in April 2012, with all of 14 posts, saw the blog receive 1030 pageviews.
Most of those pageviews came from one of the last posts of that first month, You Can’t Do That on the Internet, which looked at the law surrounding whether employees could be fired for their extra-curricular on-line conduct.
The numbers and early support only served to reinforce the idea that perhaps I had something here worth doing. By only June of 2012, the blog was receiving roughly 2,000 pageviews a month.
For a while the blog and I carried on.
In November of 2012, I changed firms. Sean Bawden’s law blog for the suddenly unemployed became Kelly Santini LLP’s law blog for the suddenly unemployed. Aside from a name change, however, not very much changed; not content, not approach, not even the URL.
Over the past 15 months however, I have changed, as one is wont to do. My practice has changed. Whereas I once practiced almost exclusively for employees, the “suddenly unemployed” if you will, I found myself practicing more and more for employers.
Given that at least one purpose of this blog has always been to explain employment law concepts to clients (such as the requirement to repay EI upon receipt of wrongful dismissal damages: E.I. E.I. Oh! or the duty to mitigate one’s damages: Explaining One’s Duty to Mitigate) I found myself referring more and more employers to "the law blog for the suddenly unemployed." That was sometimes awkward.
There is no doubt that my practice is more balanced between employers and employees than it ever has been. The same is true of all the employment lawyers at Kelly Santini LLP and is a point of pride. We like acting for both sides and believe that we bring a pragmatic and experienced approach to both employers and employees given that we often find ourselves advising from the other side of the table.
So, discussions began a few months ago about potentially changing the blog's name.
Going back to the numbers, since being posted the most frequently referenced post on this blog has been that of Fired After Maternity Leave. Since its publication on August 31, 2012 it has been viewed 4,500 times. The post Pregnant Employees are Entitled to Greater Notice of Dismissal has been viewed over 1,500 times.
More importantly, most of the cold calls I have received have concerned parents (mostly women, but a handful of men) being fired after taking parental leave. As an homage to the same, “Labour Pains” was selected for the blog's new name.
Labour Pains reflects the challenges of employment law faced by both employers and employees. Employers, I have experienced, often find employment law too charitable and employee friendly. Employees, on the other hand, often find the law too business focused and not responsive enough. Both sides have valid arguments.
Therefore in January of 2014 the blog underwent two fundamental changes. First, it got a new URL, www.ottawaemploymentlaw.com, moving the blog away from just me. Second, it got its new name.
Again, if one believes the statistics, a lot has changed since the blog was launched. In January 2014 alone, the blog received 9,700 pageviews. I find that number incredible. Thank you.
Although the blog has a new name, one that expressly references the fact that the blog is equally for employers as much as a it for employees, the fact remains that little will likely change. The blog has long provided “takeaways” for both employers and employees and the goal was never to advocate any one side’s position.
For those who have followed and supported the blog for these past 21 months, thank you. You can expect more of the same.
Thoughts and feedback are welcomed in the comments section below.
Sean P. Bawden is an Ottawa, Ontario employment lawyer and wrongful dismissal lawyer practicing with Kelly Santini LLP, and part-time professor at Algonquin College teaching Trial Advocacy for Paralegals and Small Claims Court Practice. He is a trustee of the County of Carleton Law Association.