While we work with individuals at all stages of the employment relationship, from reviewing offers to addressing ongoing issues, the vast majority of individuals come to see us when they have been offered a severance package.
Contrary to popular belief, you are not necessarily entitled to one month per year of service. You are also not limited to what the employment standards legislation says, unless you signed a contract which says so. And 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 comprised of all forms of compensation, and not just base salary.
People tend to focus on how many months they got, not recognizing that they may not be receiving all of the compensation they should during those months.
For example, one individual was convinced that he received a very generous severance package, being six months after he had only been employed for five years. 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.
So how do you know if your package is fair?
You come to see us. 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 where it is deficient. At that point, we can discuss strategy. After all, you probably do not want to spend $5,000 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.