Assessing Your Severance Package
Termination notices almost always leave employees shell shocked. While this reaction is understandable, it should not stand in your way of receiving full entitlements as a terminated employee. You may not understand the intricacies of the law to determine whether your employer has compensated you fairly. Indeed, some will count on this. This is why you must exercise your right to seek legal advice. Do not let unreasonable deadlines, which are not enforceable, drive you into making hasty decisions. Never sign a severance package release until a lawyer has vetted your documents.
Many factors come into play when lawyers engage in negotiations for a severance package. While the law stipulates minimums, our common laws inject a second, more subjective layer of conditions into the calculations. This is why it is critical to engage an experienced lawyer to maximize the value of your severance package.
Signing The Severance Package Release
If you have just lost your job, do not sign the termination letter or severance package release until an employment lawyer has vetted the documents properly for you. Any experienced lawyer will offer this solid advice because these documents are legally binding. Once you execute them, you sign away any further claims of damages against your employer. At the least, let your lawyer confirm that you have received all your entitlements.
There are very few circumstances where a judge will invalidate a signed release. Here is one of them.
Fired Without Severance
Every employee who is terminated in Canada is entitled to minimum notice and severance. While the amounts differ in each province, they generally depend on your length of service and the size of your employer’s payroll. The only reason why you could get fired without notice and severance is a for-cause dismissal with proof of willful misconduct. And when this happens, your employer’s case better be locked down airtight because the law imposes a very high burden of proof on them.
Seek legal advice if this has occurred to you. The law is on your side.
Contract Workers & Severance
Employers can no longer treat contract workers as “independent contractors” if they perform tasks just like employees. The dependent contractor classification is protected by law and affords qualified contract workers the same rights and entitlements as employees.
This includes your rights to fair notice and termination. Seek legal advice if you were let go without a severance package because your employer deemed you to be on-contract.
Bankruptcy & Severance Pay
If you work for a company in dire financial straits, then insolvency layoffs are a reality, as is a bankruptcy. 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?
Legal Fees are the main reason why people avoid seeing a lawyer. We can likely alleviate much of that anxiety at the very first meeting. An initial review of your case is usually free. Furthermore, for the majority of cases, our fee is charged as a percentage of the settlement we obtain for you.
We take on a vested interest in seeing your case succeed.
Legal fees should never deter anyone from seeking their entitlements.