Severance Package: Beware of Employer Pressure & Time Limit for Signing

If you have just been terminated and offered severance pay, you may feel pressured to sign a severance package under stress within an unreasonably short time frame. Your entitlements will not be voided if you do not sign a severance package right away. Short deadlines may be a tactic used by employers to get employees to agree to less severance pay than they are entitled to.

Can employers pressure you to sign a severance package by the next day?

Upon termination from employment, employees are often presented with a severance offer or
“severance package”, which includes a deadline by which the employee must return the offer to the
employer. This package usually includes some form of “release”, releasing the employer from
liability and barring the employee’s ability to pursue litigation against their former employer.
Asking an employee to sign a severance package by the next day is unreasonable and is often an indication that employees should take the time to ensure that the proposed package is fair.

What to do if you are being pressured to sign a severance package

It is important for employees to understand their rights and entitlements upon termination. Employees should not give in to the pressure to sign off on a severance offer without having reviewed their options.

Employees should ask their employer for enough time to have their termination package
reviewed by an employment lawyer. When you discuss with an employment lawyer, you may ask them to request more time from your employer on your behalf in order for you to have the offer properly assessed.

What to consider when assessing a severance package

There are numerous aspects that employment lawyers will assess when reviewing a severance package, such as the length of service, the circumstances of termination, the wording of the contract, whether the entitlements to minimum employment standards were respected, the entitlement to common law working notice, the entitlement to bonuses during the working notice, whether the wording of the contract can legally limit certain entitlements.

Employment law is very specialized and fast-changing. At Monkhouse Law, we are up to date on new court cases and have been on the winning side of some of the important decisions that have come out of Ontario Courts with regards to severance pay. For example, in Paquette v. TeraGo an employee in Ontario was awarded bonus payments for the applicable reasonable notice period following a without cause termination despite the bonus plan’s express terms that the employee must be actively employed.

How much does it cost to fight for more severance?

There are many options for affordable and efficient legal representation. At Monkhouse Law for without cause terminations, we offer reasonable hourly rates or contingency fees.

If you have been terminated and presented with an offer from your employer, legally you have time to take your time and decide how you want to move forward. Do not give in to the pressure and sign the severance package without first having it reviewed.

Contact Monkhouse Law Employment Lawyers for a free 30-minute phone consultation to be informed of your rights and entitlements.

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