If Your Employer Terminates You; Why Should You Leave Money On The Table!
There are few things more emotionally disturbing or stressful as losing your job. In fact, stress inventory scales measure the stress of losing your job in the top 10 stressful life events. It is ranked with life stresses such as death of a spouse or close family member and being put in jail. When very stressed it is hard to make good life choices and decisions. Sometimes it is hard to think clearly. In these situations, it is even more important to engage a professional who can help. When terminated from your job, they are generally legally required to give you termination notice or pay you instead of giving you notice. There are laws in place that state the minimum amounts to be paid to you. Yet, under the common law, you may be owed much more than that. DO NOT SIGN A RELEASE Until You Meet With A Employment Lawyer. Once signed, it is very very difficult to go back to you employer to increase your termination pay.
How Much More Money Should I Get When Fired?
There are many factors that go into how much money you should get in a severance package when you are let go from your job. A lawyer who focuses on employment law will go over all the factors that will determine how much (and how to maximize) your final package will be. At Kahane Law, our employment team has secured multiple time, for an individual employee, almost $1,000,000 in additional severance pay. These situations are unusual. They involve very specific situations, but after a flat rate fee review, if you choose to hire us, we do not get paid anything more unless you get more money than you were originally offered. An article in the Toronto Star indicated that 75% of severance packages reviewed were inadequate.
Warning About Employer Tactics
Many employers give employees that have been terminated a very small window to make a decision. When fired, many people are stressed and emotional. It is a hard state of mind to be making uninformed decisions that affect your future. They will say that if you do not sign the agreement as presented within a day, that the agreement will be pulled. Do not get pressured by short timelines to sign an agreement that is not fair to you. They may even say that you will get nothing. This is not acceptable behavior. The agreement that you sign and related release can have a significant impact on you. You do not need to delay excessively, however, a day or two to get proper legal advice is important.
In case the idea of getting what you legally should get is not enough, the Top Ten Reasons To Hire A Lawyer To Look At Your Termination Pay include:
1 ) If it seems really low to you, it probably is!
If you worked at a company and are fired after 6 months, do not expect a huge severance package. (Unless you are the CEO of a large corporation – in unusual circumstances) If you have been at the same company for many years and your severance package seems very low, there is a good chance that it is. Caution! There are many online severance package calculators. These cannot go into the detail of a proper review of your specific situation. There are several reasons for why a severance package review is more effective (which means more money for you) than a generic calculator.
2) Did the company only offer the minimum termination pay under the Employment Standards Code?
Most employees are owed common law notice rather than just the minimum under the Employment Standards Code. This is assessed by looking at a variety of factors such as length of service, age, title etc. Even if your employer indicates that under the code they are offering an extra week or month, it is worth your while to have your severance package reviewed with a lawyer. Common law notice provisions, those that are handed down by the Alberta Courts, can be significantly more than the Code allowances.
3) Is the company asking you to sign a release?
If you are asked to sign a release, speak to a lawyer. If you sign a Release you cannot go back later and sue the company for anything related to your employment so you should be sure you know what you are signing. You need to understand the nature of the rights that you are giving up. You also need to know if what they are offering you, in terms of termination pay, is fair.
4) Have your benefits been extended or has the company given you an amount in lieu of lost benefits?
What you are compensated for by your employer often involves more than just a paycheck. You also receive benefits like heath care benefits. Most common law notice severance offers should include either an amount of money for lost benefits or an extension of those benefits. If you will be out of work, it is nice to know that you will not have the added expense of health, dental or drug costs to deal with also.
5) Are you close to early retirement with the company?
The amount of your severance offer and the items included in your offer will differ if you are close to early retirement with the company. Like many areas of law, the specific situation that you are in may have a bearing on what you may receive under common law termination pay. If you are in this situation, make sure that you speak to an employment lawyer.
6) Are there any allegations of human rights violations or discrimination by the company?
Not all employers behave ethically. There are some that violate human rights or discriminate. Examples include situations with gender discrimination, sexual discrimination or violating human rights. If there has been any discriminatory conduct on the part of the company either prior to or during the termination, you may have an argument to increase the severance offer. A severance package review lawyer will research the amount of additional compensation you may be entitled to based on current case law.
7) Do you already have another job offer from a new company?
There are two aspects to this one. When you get a new job and how much you are earning at your new job will impact whether or not you should accept the severance offer from the former employer. The other factor is that some severance package agreements have provisions that either create or expand non-competition agreements between you and the company. They may also create or expand non-solicitation agreements.
8) Were you on maternity, parental, sick or disability leave when you were terminated?
Companies are required to follow the laws in Alberta and Canada. There are specific laws that protect individuals in some situations. These include maternity, parental, sick and disability leave. If you were on leave at the time of termination, you may have an argument for increased severance. Again, your employment lawyer will do proper research to find the most current cases that are most similar to your situation to determine the amount of additional termination pay you may be entitled to.
9) Is the Company recognizing your entire length of service?
How long you work for a company will affect how much termination pay they are required to give you. Determining the length of your service or employment is not always as easy as it seems. Have you always worked for the current employer offering the severance or was there a time when the company was amalgamated or bought out by another company. Changes in company names, ownership or control group may not reset your date of service. The length of your service with your current company may also be longer in specific situations. If you were you actively recruited from another secure position to join the company offering you a severance package, your severance package offer could be increased. There are different ways that this may have been arranged,including your employment contract.
10) For peace of mind and to know whether you have been treated fairly.
It only makes sense to get a reasoned opinion from a lawyer to determine whether your former employer is treating you fairly. Getting that opinion will help you to make a hard decision when most employees are too stressed to understand the ramifications of the options presented. Being terminated form a job is one of the top 10 life stresses as measure by psychologists. Trying to argue that you were not in a proper frame of mind is a difficult and expensive fight to take to the courts. It is far better to make the right choice, before you sign any release, the first time!
How Expensive Is A Severance Package Review?
A severance package review is not as expensive as people think. At Kahane Law we believe in flat rates, wherever we can offer them, so that people know what they are paying before they agree to work with us. For under $900, you will receive a complete severance package review and written opinion that you can take to your employer when negotiating. Want us to negotiate for you? No problem. We negotiate and settle your termination pay settlement on a contingency basis. This means that we only get paid a percentage of any additional money/benefits that we negotiate for you.
Getting The Help You Need Before Signing A Release
When you are terminated, you do not know how long it will be before you are back to work. Maximizing your severance pay means protecting you and your family. Your home and ensuring that you families needs are met. The Lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary can help review your severance package. CALL OR EMAIL TODAY. We can be reached at 403-225-8810 locally in Calgary, Alberta or toll-free at 1-877-225-8817 or email us directly here.