Laid off article

Laid Off? Know Your Rights Within Employment Law

Business and growing uncertainties have led to many companies resorting to layoffs of their employees. Given COVID-19’s negative impact, these uncertainties remain within some businesses and industries. This article attempts to give a brief overview of layoffs and what you as an employee can do if you are laid off.

I’ve Been Laid Off. What Does This Mean?

Due to Covid-19, many businesses were forced to decide on continuing their business as is or adjusting to the slower, downturned economy and downsizing. As a result, many businesses chose the latter option and laid off many employees. With this option, the employer would end the workers’ employment with the company, with the plan of rehiring or recalling the employee back by a certain date.

However, it is important to note: If a temporary layoff exceeds the time period as prescribed by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), then this temporary layoff would likely be considered a permanent ending of the employment relationship, and thus considered a termination. Depending on various employment factors, an employee could be entitled to termination and severance pay if this happens.

What Am I Entitled To If I Am Laid Off?

First, review what your employment agreement states about being laid off and termination entitlements. Due to recent precedent-setting cases, most employers draft their employment contracts to include specific clauses to limit their liability. Companies are now including layoff clauses to be protected from lengthy and expensive litigation.

If a layoff extends beyond the maximum length allotted under the ESA, it would likely be considered a termination. At this point, the employee would be entitled to certain contractual or statutory minimums. Depending on the employee’s situation, they could be entitled to notice or pay in lieu notice or severance under the ESA or Common Law.

What If I Don’t Have An Employment Contract?

If you are in a situation where you are unsure if you have an employment agreement or you have been working without one, your employment tenure would still be considered bound by a verbal agreement. Under this agreement, employees are still entitled to certain rights under the common law.

At common law, if an employee’s lay off transforms into a termination, the employee would be entitled to reasonable notice of termination or payment in lieu of notice instead. Depending on an employee’s age, position and length of service, an employee may be entitled to up to 24 months of notice in some cases.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Laid Off?

Given the uncertainty around return to work measures and COVID’s lingering effect on businesses, some employers will need to make important decisions regarding their employees and staffing needs.

As an employee, if you were temporarily laid off and did not have an employment contract, you can take recourse. Ask your employer the terms surrounding your temporary layoff and when they plan to bring you back to work.
Regardless of if you have an employment contract, talk to an experienced employment lawyer at Achkar Law about your situation and see what next steps are available for you.

Contact Us

Whether you are an employer or an employee looking for assistance with your workplace issues, disputes or employment relationships, our team of experienced wrongful termination and human rights lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at +1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.

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Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to serve as or should be construed as legal advice and is only to provide general information. It is in no way particular to your case and should not be relied on in any way. No portion or use of this blog will establish a lawyer-client relationship with the author or any related party. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected].