If your employer is terminating your employment without cause (that is to say, not because of any wrongdoing on your part), you may be given a severance package with a release stating you agree that what you’re getting is what’s required by law, and to get it, you must give up your right to claim any more money.
But what does your employer have to pay you by law? And is that all you’re entitled to?
Before you sign anything, you should keep three things in mind:
1. Most employees and employers in Ontario are governed by the provincial Employment Standards Act, which requires employers to give notice, or pay in lieu, between one and eight weeks, depending on length of service.
2. But courts have recognized the common law notice period which varies based on different factors. Your type of employment, your length of service, your age, the availability of similar employment suitable to your training and experience—all of these factors could entitle you to significantly more than the minimum under the ESA.
3. Your release will likely have a clause stating that you have had the opportunity to seek independent legal advice before signing it. Take advantage of that opportunity—if you sign it without doing so, you may not be able to make a claim against your former employer later.
The lawyers at Alemi Law Group are experienced in employment law matters, can review your severance offer and advise about your rights and possible entitlement to further payment.
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