When are employees entitled to severance and when are they not? This is one of the most common questions employees would like answered. In his latest video interview in the Globe and Mail, Daniel Lublin, Employment Lawyer has explained that if the employer wants to terminate an employee, it is in their discretion to do so.
“With Cause” or “Without Cause”?
Employers, when terminating an employee, must elect whether to end the relationship “with cause” (i.e., misconduct) or “without cause” (e.g. downsizing, restructuring, etc.) Mr. Lublin explains that when it comes to misconduct, the employee will not be entitled to any severance. The law in Ontario, and often the clauses of employment contracts, stipulates that misconduct in the workplace is ground for termination without severance. However, when terminated “without cause”, the employee is entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of that notice. This can be confusing to employers and employee alike, and there is always a “but”—which is why it is best to consult an expert who will help you determine what your entitlements are.
When will you not be getting severance?
As above, you will not get severance if you are terminated as the result of misconduct or serious misconduct. As opposed to misconduct alone, which entail poor performance or change in opinion of the employee generally, serious misconduct refers to specific actions such as theft, dishonesty, etc. Further, you will not get severance if you resign, no matter the length or merit of your service.
To know if you will be getting severance or not, consult an employment lawyer today.