You may have heard about large severance packages going to prominent people, but unless you’re way up in a company, it’s not very likely that you will receive a huge amount of compensation. Read on to find out some ways to make sure you can get a good deal.
1. Employment Contracts
Typically, any employment contracts you signed when you were hired will dictate how much you’re going to get and how it will be paid out. You might receive the money all at once or paid out in monthly installments. If you’re in a union, a collective agreement might dictate how much you get, and how.
2. Ontario Courts
In Ontario, a judge is most likely to award you one month of pay for each year of service to a certain maximum, usually between 24 and 30 months. The details of your case will determine how much you are awarded. Beyond that, there are some things you can do to make sure you receive the highest possible settlement.
3. Talk to an employment lawyer
Find an employment lawyer you can trust who has employment law experience. Most will offer a free consultation to help you figure out what your options are, and what rights you may have. After this it will be easier to decide if you need to hire legal representation.
4. Keep detailed records
It’s crucial to keep track of any job searches you’ve done, expenses you incur for getting to job interviews or printing resumes, and costs for any career counselling you undertake.
5. Get statutory payments first
In Ontario you are legally entitled to minimum termination and severance payments. Any money you receive will hopefully allow you to relax to negotiate an appropriate wrongful dismissal settlement. Don’t rush into an agreement because you’re short on cash!
6. Exercise stock options
Any stock options must remain valid for the rest of your notice period. If, however, your boss says the stock options expire shortly after termination, you need to exercise the options and track how the stock progresses through the notice period. You might be entitled to any positive differences.
7. Keep track of your benefit costs
Coverage for any employee benefits have to continue for the period of statutory notice but not always for the extended notice period set out in common law. Your lawyer can help advise you on how that will work, but in the meantime, hold on to any receipts for dental, health, or other benefits you pay for during the notice period.
8. Medically document mental distress claims
If you plan to claim damages for mental distress in a wrongful dismissal case, you have to be able to prove how the distress affected your life. Visit a doctor or psychiatrist and make sure his or her notes show the reason for your condition.
9. Record anything that is owing to you
If you’re a sales person, you might have outstanding commissions owed to you. If your employer doesn’t show that you have any pending commissions after you leave, make sure you take good notes before you forget about the sales.
10. Don’t panic
In many cases, people don’t know they’re entitled to mandatory minimums under the law and will sell off their assets or take a horrible offer while under the impression they will be bankrupt if they don’t. Further to that, don’t file a claim with the Ministry of Labour for termination and severance pay; once you do that, you will forfeit any right to sue for more money under common law damages for wrongful dismissal.
Always talk to an employment lawyer first!