Negotiating your severance package in Alberta

Lypkie Henderson

Our Edmonton employment lawyers will help you settle out of court

Being dismissed from your job in Alberta can be a difficult and stressful event. But such circumstances cannot overwhelm your planning for the future. In order to move forward, you need to ensure you are securing the maximum fair severance that your former employer is obligated to pay. In the case that you decide to decline the severance package being offered, you need a solid plan for negotiating your severance package. To achieve the optimum severance, it is paramount that you enlist the experience of an Edmonton employment lawyer who can advise you on realistic outcomes, prioritizing your severance options, and provide legitimate weight to the prospect of a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

How can I maximize my severance pay?

It can be expected that employers will work toward the greatest savings for their own bottom line. In doing so, it is common for employers to present a low-value severance package as their first offer. Remember, the first offer is rarely the best offer. The opportunity for greater severance gains is often found in the cases of improper conduct by the employer, greater levels of employee responsibility, inducement from your former employer, and the consideration of the dismissed employee’s age.

How much time do I have to negotiate my severance package?

If you are facing the challenge of negotiating your severance package, buy yourself time and seek legal counsel immediately regarding your options. In this scenario, most employers will apply tight, and sometimes unreasonable, deadlines on the acceptance of their severance packages. Do not let them pressure you in this situation. Most provincial laws provide an employee up to 2-years to actively negotiate their severance, and possibly engage in wrongful dismissal proceedings.

Dismissed employees should also avoid accepting termination agreements that void their severance pay in the instance they find suitable employment within their severance pay period. This can often be avoided entirely by negotiating a lump-sum settlement arrangement.

Negotiating benefits within a severance package

When faced with the reality of losing employee family benefits, consider what benefits your spouse may offer to your family’s situation. When considering a legal battle for continued benefits, weigh the costs, time, and energy of such proceedings against a basic cash-value settlement for the benefits you stand to lose. If your spouse has a valuable benefits package through his or her employment, negotiating for the cash value of your benefits is often the best course of action.

Acting on stock options pending a severance package

Access to stock options typically disappears upon the event of an employee termination. However, if you were terminated without cause, such as down-sizing or corporate restructuring, you may have a cause of action against your employer for loss of your stock options should your employer not honour these obligations.

Don’t be intimidated by your employer’s negotiation tactics

In some areas of industry there are employers who will project a hard and unwavering stance toward their severance packages. They may suggest that they are not inclined to provide more severance until you have agreed and signed to their initial terms. This is a classic strong-arm tactic that will only void your litigation options and limit your leverage in future negotiations.

Contact our employment law office in Edmonton today

In any case where employee termination is questionable, you are always far better served by seeking the initial advice and opinion of an employment lawyer in Edmonton who can explain your rights as an employee.

If you have any questions about your severance package in Alberta, call our employment lawyers in Edmonton and get a professional opinion on your termination and severance.