Unfair or Forced Severance

When an employer gives insufficient notice of termination without just cause, the employee may be entitled to severance pay under labour law.

Generally, under Alberta labour laws, employees who have been employed at a company for longer than the three-month probationary period have a right to severance if they are fired abruptly without just cause. Eligibility for severance and amounts of severance pay may be influenced by a variety of factors:

  • Cause of termination
  • Length of time a worker was employed
  • Employment insurance coverage
  • The employee’s age
  • The nature of the work
  • How long you are unemployed
  • The manner in which you were dismissed

Employers are expected to weigh these factors fairly and pay severance accordingly. However, this does not always happen. Employers may attempt to miscalculate or skew the amount of pay to their benefit, resulting in unfair or forced severance.

Severance agreements

In some cases, employers will negotiate a severance agreement with an employee that contains a “release” clause. This is a standard clause designed to release the employer from further obligation to the employee upon execution of the severance. Nonetheless, it may be possible to dispute this clause if the agreement was signed under duress or the employee believes they were discriminated against.

How much is fair?

The question is, how much pay is fair severance for your work, given the length of time you have worked, the type of work you do, the pay scale and benefits you were offered and the likelihood of finding new employment?

Very few employees are entitled to only the minimum provided under legislation. Commissions, bonuses, profit sharing, benefits and the loss of pension benefits may all be part of the calculation of damages. Professional employment law advice has the potential to better your position by thousands of dollars.

Ensure you’re getting a fair severance. Call us today

If you live in the greater Edmonton area and were pushed into a forced severance or were paid less than you feel you deserve, contact the Lypkie Henderson Employment Law office to arrange a consultation.