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Reasonable Notice

15th Jul 2013

I have been on maternity leave for about a year. Two weeks before my scheduled return to work, I was informed that, because of some restructuring within the organization, my role is changing and that I have the option to return or take a severance package.

The details of the package were e-mailed to me and the package will be equivalent to around four months of my salary (which I think is generous considering I only joined the company in May, 2011). In terms of the changes to the job should I choose to return, I will require more “technical” skills, but the rest of the requirements are pretty much the same.

Is this legal? more

I love the tales from the workplace trenches – everyday workplace disputes fuelled by misunderstandings, misapprehension of the law, ignorance or worse. Here are questions from three readers of this column, followed by the advice I would provide: more

I was laid off this summer. After discussing with several lawyers the severance package offered, I was told I deserved more so I contested the offer.

After negotiating various issues, the last offer made to me was ‘taken off the table’ by the employer and the matter deemed ‘closed’ by its lawyer. Can my employer not pay me anything at all because my lawyer and I did not accept the offers they proposed?

I worked with my employer for close to 25 years and was laid off without cause and with no notice due to a change in the company’s business needs. Am I not entitled to the minimum severance offered under employment standards legislation? more

I was terminated without cause from my job recently after working there for three years. The company said it was a business decision. They have given me three weeks termination pay and my benefits until this month. If I agree to sign a “full and final release and indemnity” form they are offering one additional week of termination pay and an additional week of benefits. Is this fair or should I ask for more? more

Dealing with incompetence

By : | Category : Cause for Dismissal, Reasonable Notice, Resignation, Severance Packages | Comments Off on Dealing with incompetence

18th Nov 2012

In this column, I have consistently opined that incompetence is not usually cause for dismissal and that poor performance should not affect severance. But I must admit that the law is not always this clear. What happens when a new recruit cannot perform the job he or she was hired for, despite training, patience and an investment in their performance? Unsatisfied clients have criticized him or her and you regret giving them the job in the first place. This human resources dilemma is not isolated – both employers and even other employees complain about it often. more

Beware of the workplace recruiter

By : | Category : Employment Contracts, Reasonable Notice, Resignation | Comments Off on Beware of the workplace recruiter

It sucks when bad things happen to good people. That is why I am relating the experience of my client below, hoping that her workplace scenario will not happen to you.

Happily employed for more than 17 years, my client received an unsolicited phone call from a headhunter encouraging her to interview for a more senior role at another company. Following a series of interviews where all of the basic terms of the job were discussed, including salary, title and starting date, my client was offered the job. She then resigned from her current position.

However, as is often the case, the headhunter later forwarded an employment contract containing some language that had not been discussed. This was the first problem. Unless an employment offer is made conditional upon signing a contract, it is too late to later send one, especially one with punitive terms. more

10th Nov 2012

It’s possibly the worst fraud in workplace law – corporations, with expensive lawyers and deeper pockets, insisting that employees sign one-sided contracts that reduce their legal rights. And employees, without bargaining power or an understanding of the law, not realizing their interests have been undermined. This is the tale of one nameless client who may learn this lesson the hard way. more

Shortly after obtaining her real estate license, Marilyn Patterson found herself in a pickle. Patterson, a Customer Service Supervisor for the Bank of Nova Scotia in Pitt Meadows, BC, was summoned to a meeting and told that her work as a realtor may conflict with her employment at the Bank.

Patterson saw matters differently. She had previously performed other part-time work outside of the Bank and without any objection. Further, other employees at her branch had second or third jobs, which the Bank did not oppose.

When it came to her work as a part-time realtor, however, the Bank decided to take a stand arguing that by recommending financial services and products at the Bank, Patterson could be in a “potential” conflict with her work in real estate. Patterson was told to abandon her work as a realtor otherwise she would be fired. more

About to leave on a much-needed vacation, Lerae Bigelow thought she had made plans for just about everything. But when her boss demanded that she cancel her trip at the last minute, she realized there was one contingency she had overlooked – her own dismissal.


One individual’s story, related below, should make people pause before hiring their next lawyer. Always enquire what percentage of a lawyer’s time is spent practicing in the area he or she is needed for – so that you do not pay for their education. more