It well understood that in tough economic times, employers, not employees, carry the higher financial risk. They must do everything they can to ride the tide without job layoffs. Sometimes, businesses have valid reasons for reducing payroll. And the law permits them to make strategic decisions to restructure and make temporary or permanent changes to their workforce. However, the rules and parameters for doing so are specific and clearly stipulated by law.
This matter often gets blurry when employers strategically shift conditions to suit themselves only. They count on employees not knowing any better.
All workers must understand the legal difference between layoffs and terminations. The financial implications are vastly different, depending on which one your employer labels it as.
Layoff or Termination? Legally, They Are Different.
Mass job losses make headline news especially when large employers undergo closures, restructuring or staff reductions. When reporting these unfortunate stories, news organizations tend to use the terms layoff and termination interchangeably. Yet in fact, there is a real and tangible legal difference between the two. Your rights and entitlements differ in both, along with your financial
The law is very specific about definitions for layoffs. With extended layoffs, you remain an employee of the business and your employer must continue your employment benefits. In addition, they must compensate you substantially for the extended layoff. All other layoffs, no matter how they are labelled, are actually terminations, entitling you to termination pay. In the most egregious circumstances, some employers skirt the law by cycling their employees through random sham layoffs. They make work schedules and income so unpredictable that employees end up quitting in frustration, thereby alleviating the employer from their severance and termination obligations.
Insolvency Layoffs and Bankruptcy
If you work for a company in dire financial straits, then insolvency layoffs are a reality, as is a bankruptcy. You will want to read this article carefully, so you understand your rights. When businesses are unable to meet their financial obligations, they can turn to the courts for help. The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act sets provisions for businesses to operate “on emergency life support” in the face of genuine insurmountable financial pressure. What are your rights and entitlements under those circumstances? Will you receive your unpaid wages, severance and vacation pay?
How We Can Help
Lecker & Associates exclusively represent employees of Ontario. For over 35 years, wrongful dismissal cases have been the cornerstone of our practice. We have handled numerous, where employees have been permanently let go, under the guise of a temporary layoff, with inadequate termination pay. This is an area of employment law we understand particularly well.
Furthermore, our litigation experience with precedent setting cases offers us the confidence to wade into uncharted territory. We are not afraid to take on cases, at both provincial and federal levels, to ensure you receive your entitlements.
If you have been unfairly treated by your employer, we are fierce advocates for employee rights and can can likely help you better than anyone else.
Read more about the full range of services we offer. Our experience allows us to handle almost any type of case, no matter how difficult.
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