The Lay-offs are Coming! How to Deal with Dismissal or Termination in a Recession

Grinhaus Law
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By: Bryan Kravetz and Aaron Grinhaus

Canada has experienced incredible economic growth over the last decade. That growth may now be coming to a slowdown, and if some of the major bank analysts and economists are right, Canada is heading into a major recession. Recessions mean less consumption, less business, less jobs and, unfortunately, firings to cut costs.

Employees should be aware of their rights upon being terminated without cause, whether the employer calls it a “firing”, a “lay-off” or a “cut-back”. Certain rules apply under the Employment Standards Act and the common law of Ontario, most notably notice requirements or pay in lieu of notice of job termination. This means that depending on how long you have worked for your employer, your age, your salary and other factors, you may be entitled to a longer notice period before losing your job or payments to help you weather the forthcoming unemployment. The more difficult it is to find a job in one’s field, the more likely it will be that a court will award a higher termination payment.

Employees should be aware that some employers dismiss employees and do not provide them with adequate termination pay. This is concerning, especially in the current economy, when it may take employees more time to find a suitable replacement position than normal. Some employers offer the minimum amount of termination pay to their employees along with a demand that they sign both a settlement agreement and a release of rights within a short period of time. Employees often feel scared, embarrassed and vulnerable after being terminated, and so they do not realize how much bargaining power they have relative to their employers and succumb to the unfair pressure put on them.  Employers do not want to be dragged into court and therefore they are willing to negotiate an improved termination package in exchange for a signed release, in the hopes of preventing any future legal claim against them. With that in mind, it is in your best interest to take enough time to review what an employer is offering, and to retain legal counsel to assist in this regard.

In light of the above, employees should make every effort to contact an employment lawyer before signing any agreement. Being terminated from your job is life-altering, and the lawyers at Grinhaus Law Firm will navigate you through this difficult time in order to protect your rights while also ensuring that you receive what is properly owed to you. Grinhaus Law Firm is a boutique law firm conveniently located in mid-town Toronto. We have the experience and expertise necessary to help you.  For more information on this topic, feel free to call or email us to see how we can help.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED ON AS SUCH. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU CONSULT WITH A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL.