You meet an employment lawyer at a BBQ: what question do you ask?
Toronto, ON — When employment lawyers Stuart Rudner and Natalie MacDonald are out at social events, from barbecues to cocktail parties, people want their expert advice. However, it’s always one question which comes up the most and, it’s related to money.
The top question they face, at almost every party, is: "Isn’t it true that if you are let go from your job, you’re entitled to a severance package of one month per year?"
“It happens all the time. I get this question at parties so often I wait for it. But my response to the question on severance pay is ‘not necessarily’,” explains Rudner, co-founder, Rudner MacDonald LLP.
“Working out severance is complicated, and there is no mathematical formula that applies. Rather, the court looks at a number of factors,” adds MacDonald, co-founder, Rudner MacDonald LLP.
According to MacDonald and Rudner, there are other common questions they will face while attending summer social events:
- From employers: do I have to give someone a lump sum payment as severance? The answer: No, there’s no rule as to how much. However, how you structure the severance package very much depends on the particular circumstances. For example, working notice allows the employer to retain the employee’s services. It’s not appropriate in all cases: it may work, for example, when a company is closing a department, but not when you have an employee who is underperforming. Which leads to this question:
- From employees: do I have to stick around and work if my employer is offering working notice? The answer: yes.
- From employees moving to a new job: do I have to give notice? The answer: Yes, you should, but there’s no rule as to how much and, leads to this question:
- From employers: my employee didn’t give notice. Can I sue? The answer: Only if you can prove it cost the company income. For example, if your director of sales quit without providing notice and had sales calls set up with potential clients you may be able to sue if you can prove loss of income.
- From employers: if I catch my employee stealing, can I fire him/her on the spot? The answer: No. You need to be sure they were engaging in this conduct and then, you can discipline him/her. It’s risky to fire without cause.
- From employees: someone at work is making inappropriate comments on a regular basis, what can I do? The answer: report it to your employers as they have a responsibility to investigate.
According to MacDonald, “The courts have consistently recognized that work is a fundamental part of a person’s life and that the employment contract is unique and ought to be approached completely differently from the commercial contract.”
Rudner and MacDonald offer a combined 27 years of experience. They provide senior counsel to employers and employees on all aspects of the employment relationship, including policy and contract drafting, hiring process issues, terminations, performance management, discipline, employment contracts, human rights, workplace bullying, harassment and social media issues. The firm’s team of lawyers and assistants share a passion for employment law as well as a dedication to assisting with workplace issues. Every day, the firm focuses on providing clients with solutions to workplace issues.
Rudner MacDonald LLP has been selected as one of the top three Employment & Labour Law firms in Canada, according to the inaugural Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Awards.
The firm has also been lauded for its work in social media, and was selected as a finalist in the 2016 Legal Marketing Association Toronto Chapter annual ‘Your Honour Awards’.
Both Rudner and MacDonald have been repeatedly named among Canada’s Top Employment Law Practitioners – a comprehensive directory of the top employment law and immigration law practitioners in Canada.
About Rudner MacDonald LLP
Rudner MacDonald LLP www.rudnermacdonald.com is a boutique employment law firm working with employees and employers. Co-founded by Stuart Rudner and Natalie MacDonald, both have written critically-acclaimed books embraced by courts and members of the bar. Stuart Rudner is the author of ‘You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada’. Natalie MacDonald is the author of ‘Extraordinary Damages in Canadian Employment Law’.
Follow Stuart Rudner on Twitter: @CanadianHRLaw
Connect with him on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/canadianhrlaw
Connect with Natalie MacDonald on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nataliecmacdonald
Find Rudner MacDonald LLP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rudner-MacDonald-LLP-Canadian-Employment-Law/558832834157581?ref=ts&fref=ts