Getting fired can be one of the most stressful experiences anyone will go through in their lifetime. Following a termination, it is imperative to obtain advice from a knowledgeable employment lawyer as soon as possible to fully understand your options, receive clarification about your rights, address any potential risk, and ensure you walk away with the most advantageous arrangement.
At Sultan Lawyers in Toronto, we represent employees throughout the termination process: we can review your termination package, negotiate with your former employer, and represent employees in any litigation that may arise. We provide the protection you need following the termination of your employment. Let us focus on the legal aspects of your termination so that you can focus on moving forward and finding new employment.
Most provincially regulated employees in Ontario are entitled to notice of termination or pay instead of that notice (unless they have been terminated for cause). This also applies to employees who have been constructively dismissed.
Under the Employment Standards Act, any employee who has been employed for at least three months is entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of that notice. That is, an employee must be told a certain number of weeks in advance of their termination that they will be fired and must continue working for that period of time, or they must be let go right away but paid for the period of their notice.
So, for example, if an employee has been employed with a company for less than a year, the employee is entitled to one week’s notice during which time he will continue to work. In the alternative, if the company wishes to release the employee immediately, they can pay a week’s salary up front (i.e. the same amount of money they would have paid had the employee continued to work for one week).
The length of notice (or pay in lieu of it) is calculated as follows:
|Length of Employment||Notice Required|
|Less than 1 year||1 week|
|1 year but less than 3 years||2 weeks|
|3 years but less than 4 years||3 weeks|
|4 years but less than 5 years||4 weeks|
|5 years but less than 6 years||5 weeks|
|6 years but less than 7 years||6 weeks|
|7 years but less than 8 years||7 weeks|
|8 years or more||8 weeks|
It is important to note that this is the bare minimum that terminated employees are entitled to under the legislation. Under the common law, notice of termination is generally much higher than what is provided under the Employment Standards Act, and will take many factors into account including: the age of the employee, how long they were employed, their level of responsibility (i.e. were they an executive or other high-ranking position), their probability of finding comparable work, and how close they are to retirement, among other factors.
While many people refer to severance packages when they talk about termination packages, the term severance actually refers to something else under Ontario law. Severance pay and termination pay are not the same.
Severance pay is the compensation provided to long-term employees whose employment has been “severed”. It is intended to compensate them for the losses that come with the end of lengthy employment, such as loss of seniority, and similar. Only certain employees are eligible for severance, depending on the size of the employer, and how long the employee worked there.
Most employees in Ontario work in industries that are provincially regulated. A smaller number of Ontario employees, however, work in industries that are regulated by the federal government, including banking, radio and T.V. broadcasting, airlines, telecommunications, railways, and shipping. Instead of the Employment Standards Act, these employees are subject to the Canada Labour Code, which also provides for minimum standards that employers must comply with when terminating an employee.
Under the Canada Labour Code:
It is important to note that the Canada Labour Code only provides for a minimum threshold of rights. Under the common law, many employees may be entitled to much more notice or pay in lieu of that notice. You should never accept a termination package before consulting with a knowledgeable employment lawyer first.
The knowledgeable employment lawyers at Sultan Lawyers have advised hundreds of employees across various industries and sectors following their termination. We regularly review termination packages and represent employees in negotiating more beneficial terms for their departure. Where necessary we represent employees in wrongful dismissal and constructive dismissal complaints. When you are our client, you can count on our persistence in achieving the best results. Contact us online or at 416-214-5111 for a consultation.
“I want to sincerely thank Sharaf Sultan and his team for their assistance. Right from the beginning, I knew they were extremely knowledgeable and hard working. I also had confidence that Sharaf and his team understood my perspective and that they were prepared to work hard to receive the best result possible. Sharaf and his team were always professional and diligent when providing legal services. He truly went above and beyond my expectations. The whole team provided honest and precise services and they managed to solve any problems that arose during my case. I would definitely work with them again!!”C. Bell
“Kristine Gorman of Sultan Lawyers was terrific in helping me get a Canadian work visa. Responsive, friendly, but mostly incredibly thorough and efficient, she was a life line for when I needed wise counsel and focused expertise.”D. Baum, Ph.D., D.Min. Management Consultant
“Sultan Lawyers provided a great experience during a difficult time with my employer. Kristine was extremely thorough and knowledgeable when reviewing and articulating the risks and details of my severance package. I am thankful for Kristine as her expertise enabled and empowered me to confidently make a decision on my options.”James V.
“I wholeheartedly endorse Sharaf and Alexandra for their employment expertise and their impressive level of client service. Not only was their legal counsel top-notch, but Sharaf helped me navigate the tricky emotional waters related to my matter in a healthy way. He saw the big picture and helped me toward the best possible outcome for me now and into the future. As a lawyer myself, I realised that the smartest thing I could do in my circumstances was to have excellent legal advice, and Sharaf and Alexandra went above my expectations. It was empowering to work with them, and I can't thank Sultan Lawyers enough!”N. Haras
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