Q: I've received the severance required by the Employment Standards Act, am I entitled to anything more?
A: Most employees in British Columbia are also entitled to "reasonable notice" pursuant to the common law. This entitlement is determined in the Supreme Court (or Small Claims Court for claims under $25,000). Common law reasonable notice is generally more than the minimums set out in the Employment Standards Act and is influenced by a number of factors including your agreed length of service and the nature of your job. Termination without reasonable notice is commonly known as "wrongful dismissal".
Q: How much does it cost to challenge an employer's severance package?
A: Sometimes after an initial consultation where I explain your rights and options, you are able to negotiate a fair severance directly with your employer. Other times, a formal demand letter is required. Often, an employer will require you to take steps in the litigation process before a settlement can be reached. In unusual situations, you will be forced to go to Court to secure a fair disposition. No two cases are the same so it is impossible to predict, at the outset, how much will be involved. I will work with you to set reasonable budgets for each step to ensure the the legal fees are a reasonable expenditure compared to the desired outcome.
Q: How long does it take?
A: It depends on how far into the process we have to go to achieve your desired outcome. There are procedures in the Rules of Court which allow for expedited proceedings in which case you could be in trial in as little as 5-6 months following termination. Not every case falls within these Rules but many wrongful dismissal cases do.
Q: My employer is pressuring me to sign something quickly, what do I do?
A: In most situations, if an employer is pressuring you to sign something quickly, it is because it is in their, and not your best interest. You should seek legal advice before you sign anything. It is contrary to the Employment Standards Act to require you to sign something in order to receive your Employment Standards severance pay.
Some answers to common Employment Lawyer Questions
Please look at our employment lawyer questions and answers but if you think you have a case then call us at (604)763-4533