Wrongful Dismissal–Rightful Severance Pay

By: Robert D. Katz, R.S.W

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act requires employers who lay-off workers to provide a little bit of notice or a little bit of severance pay. Don’t be fooled. Most workers are entitled to a lot more. Unless a worker has been fired for just cause the employer will likely have to pay considerably more than the minimum amount of severance. Workers who lose their jobs for any reason other than flagrant violation of ethics or rules should see a lawyer before they accept the minimal severance benefits prescribed by the law.

If you have lost your job and were offered only the minimum, check ‘Bardal ats of The Globe and Mail.’   This is case law; Mr. Justice McRuer’s decision affects many workers who are laid off or fined:

Click here to read document

Disabled workers are especially vulnerable to lay-offs and dismissals – and sometimes to overt discrimination. Many companies think they can avoid paying severance pay to longstanding employees by telling them they are being let go due to a reorganization or change in the job description.

Every long-term worker should consider consulting an employment lawyer if they are laid off with only the minimum. Disabled workers may also discuss their case with The Human Rights Legal Support Centre [part of the Ontario Human Rights Commission].



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Bob has spent virtually his entire adult life working it the field of labour and employment. He spent more than twenty years with the federal Department of Human Resources and Social Development, including positions as a counsellor, special needs counsellor, supervisor, counselling consultant, and manager. He is a co-founder of Vocational Rehabilitation Associates and the principal of Robert D. Katz Rehabilitation Ltd.

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