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I was laid off from my job after 6 years, going on 7 years, last week. I was told it was not personal and had nothing to do with my performance at all. It was done on a Thursday and I had already started my shift and was a half hour into it when I was called to speak with the owner and director. I was told they had already consulted with a lawyer and I was entitled to 6 weeks termination pay to be paid out over 3 consecutive payrolls. I am 54 going on 55 years old and when I did the employment calculator they said I should be receiving 8 month termination pay, not 6 weeks. At the end of the discussion they asked me to sign the termination form because I was returning my key, uniform etc. I did. Am I still entitled to the 8 months termination pay?

Hello, and thank you for your question.

First, and foremost, it is critical that individuals presented with a severance offer do not sign any agreement until reviewing with an employment professional first. Your employer cannot force you to sign anything the day of your termination and should always provide you with time to consider the offer.

More often than not, if you sign off on a package indicating you agree to the terms, you will be prevented from pursuing anything more than what is offered to you within the agreement. However, there are some instances where you can get around it. This will depend on the wording of the termination letter (including whether or not there was a "full and final release"), and the total value of the offer you were provided.

Based on your synopsis, if you do have almost 7 years of service as mentioned, and were provided only 6 weeks' pay, there may be an argument that the employer cannot rely on the fact you signed the termination letter to prevent you from pursuing anything further. This is because 6 weeks' pay is likely your "minimum" entitlement - and you do not have to sign anything to receive your minimum entitlement as this is automatically owing in most circumstances. Therefore, we may be able to argue that there was a "lack of consideration" provided to you for signing the agreement and it is unenforceable as a result.

In order to make this assessment, it would be necessary that you provide further information, including a copy of the termination letter itself, and arrange for a consultation with one of our legal professionals to have the matter reviewed.

We would be happy to help!
The Lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP
Direct Tel (Toll Free): 1-855-821-5900     Email: webquestions@stlawyers.ca     Web: www.stlawyers.ca
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