Negotiating a Severance Package

  • Have you lost your job and been offered a severance package?
  • Or even worse, have you lost your job and not been offered any severance?

Whether you were dismissed for cause, offered a severance package, or constructively dismissed, we can work with you to determine a strategic approach to maximize your recovery. That can only be done once we understand your circumstances, and you understand the legal regime. This will include answering questions like:

  • Are you better off with a lump sum or salary and benefit continuance?
  • Should you be looking for new work, and what happens if you find it?
  • Are you entitled to bonuses, commissions, or other variable compensation during the notice period? And what about entitlements that accrued while you were still working?
  • Can you recover your legal costs?
  • Are you entitled to compensation for the manner in which you were dismissed?
  • What if you were harassed or discriminated against? Can you seek damages for that too?
  • What if the company won’t negotiate? What if they withdraw their original offer?

There are many nuances to severance packages that are often overlooked. People tend to focus on how many months they get, ignoring all other aspects of their situation. For example, we met with one individual who was convinced that he had received a very generous severance package. The company had offered him six month’s salary after five years of his service. Fortunately, his wife insisted that he speak with an Employment Lawyer, and we explained that since his compensation was based largely on commissions, six months of base salary was actually worth more like two months.

Severance Package Reviews

Contrary to popular belief, you are not necessarily entitled to one month per year of service; you may be entitled to much more.

You are also not limited to what the employment standards legislation says, unless you signed a contract that explicitly says so. Although even if you did, that contract, or the termination clause, may not be enforceable. And it sometimes surprises people to learn that, generally speaking, you are entitled to have a package that includes all forms of compensation, such as benefits, bonuses, commissions, and car allowance; your severance is generally not limited to base salary.

E​mployers will ​often impose a deadline by which the employee has to sign – often it is within a few days or a week. DO NOT PANIC. That is the deadline to accept their offer; if you do not sign and return the documents, you will still receive your statutory entitlements, and you can pursue the additional compensation to which you are entitled. Missing the arbitrary deadline does not prejudice your legal rights.

Most employers will agree to extend the deadline, so if you are trying to schedule a time to meet with one of our team, you should ask for more time if necessary. Employers rarely deny this request, as they know that ultimately, their legal obligations have to be met and an arbitrary deadline won’t change that.

How we can help

We will explain the law, which can be quite confusing (especially since your entitlements may be governed by legislation, common law, and/or contract). We will ensure that we understand all relevant factors, including whether there are extenuating circumstances that could entitle you to damages beyond severance. We also explain some of the nuances, like your obligation to make reasonable efforts to find new work and what happens if you are successful, and the pros and cons of lump sums versus salary and benefit continuance.

Finally, we will review the package you have been offered with you and assess if and where it is deficient. At that point, we can discuss strategy. After all, you probably do not want to spend $5,000 only to get an extra $2,000. And you may not have a claim to make if you can find new work quickly.

Do not make the common mistake of assuming the package is fair, or that you cannot fight your employer. Seeing a lawyer may seem like an unnecessary expense when your income has just been cut off, but that is the time when you need capable advice the most. We have never had someone tell us that they regretted coming in for a consultation.

Book a Consultation

If you think you may need an Employment Lawyer, then you probably do.