“Can my employer…” those three little words are the most common start to any question asked of an employment lawyer by a worker. “Can we” is the most common start to questions asked of an employment lawyer by management. The purpose of this post is to address the issue of what employers can do and what am employee’s rights and response can be.
Sunday, 6 July 2014
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
There is no shortage of ways to structure a severance package. A common way for employers to attempt to terminate an employee's employment, while keeping cash flow in check, is to provide the dismissed employee with "salary continuance," i.e. payment of salary over a period of time, rather than paying the employee a lump sum. A question that I am often asked is, can the employer legally require the employee to accept salary continuance?
Like most of the answers in our series Answers to Common Questions, the answer is "it depends"
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
If you get fired and your employer offers a severance package what happens if you think, or are told, that the package is not fair or reasonable? The short answer is that you should advise your employer that you are rejecting their offer and want to be paid more. But, as I am often asked, does that mean that the employee may end up getting nothing?
The answer to the question, "If an employee rejects a severance offer will he or she get nothing?", is almost certainly "no."
Saturday, 22 June 2013
Do you have to sign a release to get a severance package in Ontario? For most employees who find themselves suddenly unemployed, a severance package is often accompanied by a "Full and Final Release Agreement." The employee is often told that, in order to receive the severance package he or she will have to sign the Full and Final Release.
Releases often contain language that essentially says that in consideration of the receipt of the amount offered the employee agrees to waive all claims for wrongful dismissal damages, Human Rights damages, claims for vacation pay and other statutory entitlements, and, less frequently, claims to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
Is an employee legally obligated to sign such a document in order to receive his or her severance package? The answer is "no, but."
How much time do you have to consider a severance package under Ontario law? The answer can both simple and complex.
The simple answers are that you have as long as your employer gives you and that there is no time limit imposed by the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000. So, on the one hand, if your employer gives you a week, you arguably have a week. But, you can also have more time than what the employer says.
Where the issue arises for most employees who find themselves suddenly unemployed is when employers only give the employee a very short period to consider the offer, say one or two days. The offer usually comes with a time limit and a threat that if the offer is not accepted by the deadline, then the employer will only pay the employee the minimum amount required by law.
Two questions come emerge: What is the reasonable time limit? And can an employer arbitrarily impose any time limits?