Ottawa Employment Lawyers assisting with Termination & Severance Packages
When an employee is terminated, their employer will often present them with a termination and/or severance package at the time of termination. In these situations, emotions are heightened, and it can be difficult for the employee to properly appreciate the short and long-term implications of the terms being offered. Signing a termination or severance package signifies acceptance of the terms, and this is not the time to take that step. Any employee who has been presented with a termination or severance package should always take the documents away for careful consideration with a skilled employment lawyer before committing themselves to anything.
The lawyers at Champ & Associates have been advising employees at all levels of both the private and public sector of their rights for several years. They have earned a reputation for their fearless dedication to employee advocacy in the event of termination. They will review the fine points of all termination documents, ensuring their client fully understands each point, and guide them with the best pathway forward for success.
When an employee is terminated without cause, be it wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal, they are owed certain entitlements with respect to compensation as well as other issues such as benefits, bonuses, and commission payments. Termination and severance packages are created by the employer and therefore may not always adequately satisfy the employee’s rights under both statutory and common law. For this reason, employees should never sign these documents without receiving comprehensive advice first. In addition to employment legislation and established common-law concepts, the terms of an employment contract may limit or increase an employee’s entitlement following termination.
Termination Pay Entitlements in Ontario
Under the provincial Employment Standards Act 2000 (ESA), employees are entitled to a certain amount of notice upon termination. This is a basic entitlement, but employees are often owed much more than what is set out in the legislation. In addition to statutory requirements, the common law has developed over time to extend termination pay based on judicial precedent. Despite the minimums specified in the ESA, most employees can expect to be awarded approximately one month of notice per year of employment under the common law, although it’s an individualized analysis and the amount can be more or less based on other legal factors.
Employees also bear some responsibility to mitigate the damages they suffer as a result of termination. For example, an employee must make reasonable efforts to secure a new job within an appropriate amount of time.
The lawyers at Champ & Associates will review your termination and severance package as well as the circumstances surrounding your termination in context with the industry you work in. In Ottawa, there are several unique employment situations that each come with their own practices and entitlements. The Champ & Associates team has extensive experience working with clients in various employment scenarios abundant in the Ottawa area, including federally regulated employees, public service roles and cross-border employment scenarios.
What is the Difference Between Termination Pay & Severance Pay?
Termination pay and severance pay are often used interchangeably, however, they have different meanings and represent separate entitlements. Termination pay is meant to compensate employees for the notice period they are entitled to, in lieu of actual notice. Severance pay, on the other hand, is intended to compensate an employee for the time they’ve spent with their employer in recognition of their years of service. Severance pay is not applicable to every situation. In order to qualify for severance pay under the ESA, the following factors must be present:
- The employee must have been with their employer for at least five years; and
- The employer must:
- Have a payroll totalling at least $2.5 million annually; or
- Have terminated at least 50 employees in a 6-month period due to closure of all or part of the business.
Both severance and termination pay entitlements can be affected by terms set out in the employment contract, and so it is key to review any contract with a skilled employment lawyer prior to signing to avoid unwanted surprises upon termination.
Contact Champ & Associates for Strategic Advice Relating to Termination and Severance Packages
Termination from one’s job is most often highly emotionally and financially taxing. The employment lawyers at Champ & Associates are dedicated advocates for employees, helping to ensure they receive the compensation they are due. They will work to negotiate terms on your behalf or represent your rights in litigation or alternative dispute options where necessary. To discuss your matter in confidence, please contact the firm by telephone at 613-237-4740 or reach out online.