Dec 6

Age-Related Termination

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Retirement

Most people picture their retirement as a peaceful time: A time to spend with friends and family and to relax.

But picture this: You have been working for more than 30 years at a company. You have made significant progress within that company and have not only been promoted but also personally commended for your efforts on more than one occasion. Then, one day, your boss informs you that you are no longer needed. There’s no reason for letting you go. You’ve been an outstanding employee. What do you do now?

This scenario isn’t all that uncommon. There are a growing number of senior workers who are not ready to retire just yet. And after devoting years of their life to a company and watching their work benefit that company, they are terminated without cause, leaving them with only two options: retire, or try and find new work.

The Law

If you find yourself terminated in the later years of your life without cause, you may have a case. The courts have found that terminating a worker over the age of 45 makes it difficult for them to obtain re-employment. In the case of Law v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1999) 170 D.L.R. (4th) 1 (S.C.C.) the Supreme Court recognized the hardships workers face when being terminated in their later years, stating at paragraph 101 that:

“…the increasing difficulty with which one can find and maintain employment as one grows older is a matter of which a court may appropriately take judicial notice. Indeed, this Court has often recognized age as a factor in the context of labour force attachment and detachment. For example, writing for the majority in McKinney, supra, La Forest J. stated as follows, at p. 299:

“Barring specific skills, it is generally known that persons over 45 have more difficulty finding work than others. They do not have the flexibility of the young, a disadvantage often accentuated by the fact that the latter are frequently more recently trained in the more modern skills.”

Other important points

If you have devoted a large portion of your career to a specific company, ensure you are getting the proper notice. Have a look at this blog post to see what appropriate notice is and how it can be estimated. It is important to note that the courts have typically awarded longer notice periods to senior workers, due to the difficulty of obtaining new employment.

Furthermore, should you be offered severance, your severance package should be an accurate reflection of your years spent with the company, and the quality of those years.

Every year you work for a company an employee builds up equity in their job, like how you build up equity in a house by paying the mortgage. They are then able to claim for this equity if their employment by requesting often a number of months, or even years, of severance.

Next Steps

Employers looking for assistance with how to advise employees on reasonable packages should contact Andrew Monkhouse today.

If you are an employee over the age of 45 who has been terminated without cause, and you are not satisfied with either your severance package, notice period or the termination itself, a lawyer may be able to assist you. There are several remedies to these problems, including reinstatement, a re-negotiation of the severance package, or a salary/benefits continuation.

Contact Monkhouse Law today to see what remedies are available to you.