1. Unless you are terminated for cause, you are entitled to something.
What that “something” will depend on the circumstances. Either the terms of your employment contract, the common law of employment relationships, or the Alberta Employment Standards Code will apply to your situation. Regardless of which applies, you will be entitled to some time to find new employment, or (more likely) pay roughly equal to the salary and benefits during the same period of time.
2. Review your offer letter or written employment agreement (if you have one).
Sometimes employers and employees specify what an employee is entitled to when the relationship ends. It gives both parties added certainty by taking the guesswork out of the equation. Once you have reviewed the employment contract, check to make sure your termination notice is consistent with your legal contractual rights.
If you and your employer do not have a prior agreement then your rights will be determined by the common law and the Employment Standards Code.
Do you have questions about what you’re entitled to after termination?
Ahlstrom Wright’s lawyers are here for you.
Our lawyers have extensive experience in business, administrative and employment law. Contact Ahlstrom Wright for a free case review to discuss your current situation.
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3. The Employment Standards Code is just the minimum of what you are entitled to. You may be entitled to more under the common law of the employment relationship.
The Part 2, Division 8, of the Employment Standards Code specifies the minimum notice or pay you are entitled if you are terminated. It does not apply if your employer has cause to fire you.
The common law may entitle you to more notice or pay than the Employment Standards Code. Your common law entitlement depends on a number of factors related to your employment history, your length of service, your position and your age. In general, the longer you have worked for your employer the more notice (or pay in-lieu) you are entitled to.
You may need to talk to a lawyer about your entitlement.
4. Your employer may ask you to sign a “release” in return for a severance package. Consider having a lawyer review the package and the release for you.
If you sign a release you will probably be prevented from making claims against your employer in the future. You may want a lawyer to review the package to make sure it is fair and to make sure the release is reasonable.
Keep in mind that your employer should not be withholding your Employment Standards Code minimums and your vacation pay until you sign a release. Those are basic entitlements regardless of what you agree to.
5. Even if you disagree with the amount of your severance you are obligated to “mitigate” your losses by looking for new employment.
Terminated employees have an obligation to try to limit the damage they suffer by looking for new employment. Even if you think you are entitled to more it is important that you take some reasonable steps to find new work. Keep a record of your attempts. If you claim more severance from your employer, whether with the help of a lawyer or on your own, you will have to prove that you made an effort to find a new job.