What happens if I am too sick to work, or to look for work?

Courts have long taken the position that an employee’s job search needs to be reasonable. This takes into account the reality that if a person is too sick to look for work or to start new work, it should not be held against them. 

In a recent Ontario case, an employee’s settlement with his former employer was partially contingent on his searching for new work. However he became seriously ill after making only one job search phone call, and subsequently went into kidney failure. The court ruled for the employee, stating that the employee was required to make reasonable efforts to look for work “as long as he was capable of doing so.” While his health meant that he was no longer obligated to continue his job search, it did not erase the employer’s requirement to pay out their agreement. That said, if the evidence is that you would not have been able to work even if you still had a job, a court can reduce your severance.