The saying goes, “Just because you think everyone’s out to get you doesn’t mean they’re not.” And sometimes the opposite is also true.
QUESTION: I’ve held the position of operations manager for the last five years. My company is going through restructuring because profits are way down. After 12 years of being employed with this company I have been advised that as of two weeks from now I am going to be the purchasing manager, a position that presently reports to me. I will lose some money but not a lot. A number of other managers are being moved around and while I know this is not aimed at me personally, it still feels humiliating. Do I have to accept the change?
Long ago, the concept of reasonable notice of a termination evolved in the courts. It was held that it was unfair for employees, where there was no just cause for their termination, to lose their means of support without any notice whatsoever. If there was no egregious behaviour warranting an immediate termination of the relationship, employees should be forewarned that the plug was about to be pulled. In the 1930s, it was thought that nobody was entitled to more than six months’ notice. If you provided working notice, “Jack, you’re finished in six months”, no pay in lieu of that notice needed to be provided.
If you are terminated without just cause, you can bring a claim for pay in lieu of notice. Your obligation, however, is to mitigate your damages. That means that you must show the judge that you have made reasonable efforts to look for new employment and if you were offered reasonable alternative employment, accepted it. If you turn down that reasonable job offer, the judge will pretend you did and deduct any money you could have made from your award.
See if you can identify the employment law violations which arise in the following story of Burt, the Elf
QUESTION: My job has been outsourced to Mexico and last week I got a letter saying that I am terminated four months from now with a severance package to follow. A co-worker told me that the company gets credit for my working notice and that it reduces the total package I am entitled to. Is that true? How can it be part of a package if I have to work during that period of time?
QUESTION: Until recently, I was the general manager of a company. After 5 years of service, the chief executive officer told me that he was tired of me undermining and questioning his authority (I thought we had a good relationship) and that he was letting me go. He told me that he would be forwarding me a letter offering me 11 weeks’ wages. Is this right? Can he do this?