Recently, the National Post reported that the Hudson’s Bay Co. is eliminating 2,000 positions due to changes in the retail sector. Over the past few years, we have seen employees terminated from the Bay, Sears, Future Shop and Target to name a few. This retail restructuring can leave many employees without work and potentially without fair compensation.
We have reviewed hundreds of severance packages on behalf of employees. Some of these packages are fair and some are really unfair. When the large retailers are laying off hundreds or even thousands of employees at a time, they are often offering limited compensation to each individual employee.
We can tell you whether we think your package is fair. And in many cases, we can help you negotiate a better severance package.
Here are some a few examples of the things we look at:
Notice or Pay
If you were fired as part of a restructuring, you may be entitled to notice of termination, termination pay, severance pay or additional pay in lieu of notice. How much is typically determined through three questions: Is there an employment contract with a termination clause? What are the employee’s right under the Employment Standards Act? Does the employee have any right to additional notice or pay under the common law?
If you have a contract with a termination clause, your employer will try to pay only what is stated in the contract. However, many termination clauses can be attacked as not enforceable. If there is no contract or termination clause, you may be able to receive as much as one month per year of service worked for the employer. This will depend on your age, education, experience, and length of service. It may also be affected if you find another job.
If more than 50 employees were fired when your employer restructured, you should receive at least eight weeks’ notice or pay in lieu – even if your contract states you should receive less. This increases if more than 200, or 500, employees are terminated at the same time.
Overtime and Bonuses
You may be owed more for the work you did before termination. If you sometimes worked more than 44 hours a week then you may be entitled to overtime pay – even if you were paid a salary. Similarly, if you receive a bonus each year then you may be owed a pro-rated share of your bonus up to your termination date.
Discrimination or Harassment
Even if you had an employment contract, you may be entitled to additional damages if you were terminated because of your age, for example, or if you were mistreated while working.
Many people never hire a lawyer. After being terminated, however, some people consult with an employment lawyer for peace of mind because they want to know if their severance package is fair. Getting an answer from an experienced employment lawyer helps them move on with their lives, a may result in increased severance compensation.
If you would like to speak to an employment lawyer about wrongful dismissal or restructuring, you can reach us at MacLeod Law Firm at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.
In an employment contract review, a lawyer can explain which rights you are giving up in the contract and suggest changes to benefit you.
Before accepting a severance package, it’s important to get it reviewed by an employment lawyer to ensure you’re not giving up any of your entitlements.
With many terminations throughout 2020 due to Covid-19, employees are asking whether Covid-19 affects their wrongful dismissal rights.