Termination, Severance, And Negotiation

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If you have worked for many years, you are in a unique situation. It’s vital that you pay attention to each step you take.

First, if you have been asked to accept/sign a severance offer, wait, don’t sign!

Despite what your employer may say, you have two years to claim your severance. However, once you sign and accept the severance package, you cannot later claim additional severance under the common law. This could be many thousands of dollars you could have received due to your age and experience.

At Achkar Law, we specialize in employment law, particularly wrongful dismissal and severance negotiation. We are uniquely qualified to get you higher rewards. See our reviews! In nearly all cases, we settle amicably and economically for higher payouts.

Employers often leverage your stress to pay you less severance or termination pay than you are entitled to. Unfortunately, they often succeed because: 

  • You’re under pressure to take what seems generous 
  • You want to put this humiliating experience behind you
  • You’re worried about your references and don’t want to upset them further
  • The wording of your employment contract appears to be on their side

Employment contracts often contain things that are not enforceable and the difference to you can be many months of severance versus weeks. 

Due to your age and unique situation, judges also have the ability to award you even more than what the Employment Standards Act entitles you to. This is known as Common Law Severance Pay. You may also be awarded damages depending on your employer’s conduct.

  • You’ve put in a lot of time working in your industry
  • You are qualified and experienced – well above the junior employees who are straight out of school
  • Your age (while you are capable of working for much longer) can be used against you when you are seeking alternate employment
  • Leaving after years of service may require you to start from the bottom again
  • It may be difficult to attain the same level of seniority ever again

Paying you less than you are entitled to is wrong. It violates your rights and can seriously hamper your ability to transition into a new position or retire comfortably.

Scroll down and speak with our intake team today to learn about your situation and how we can help.


A reasonable severance package in Canada varies substantially based on the circumstances of the employee. While there are many factors which can contribute to the calculation of a reasonable package, there are common factors which are typically considered, known as the Bardal factors.

Employees can try to negotiate alone, but almost always, a lawyer can get them more. Seeking the advice of an experienced employment lawyer helps a dismissed employee understand whether the severance package they are offered is reasonable in comparison with what a judge will likely give them.

An employment lawyer is likely in the best position to assess the appropriate severance package of an employee who has been let go. A good lawyer will know how and when to negotiate, and when to initiate a Statement of Claim to get defendants to pay you through settlement or a court order.

Yes – having your employment terminated by your employer is the same as being fired or let go. A termination of employment is either with or without cause, which affects whether or not you are entitled to termination pay. Sometimes employers try to claim that a termination is for cause when it is not. Wrongful dismissal is when an employee is told they are in fact fired or dismissed.

As an employee, if your employment is terminated without cause – that is, through no fault of your own, you are entitled to termination pay, or common law reasonable notice or pay in lieu. If you are an employee and have been terminated, contact an experienced employment lawyer to help assess your case.

In Ontario, employers are able to dismiss an employee without reason – as long as the reason is not related to Human Rights. Employers have to provide the appropriate amount of notice or termination pay to the dismissed employee. The appropriate amount of notice will largely depend on the employment agreement if applicable, and if not, on common law reasonable notice.