The Handy Guide to Getting Laid Off

We all know someone who’s been downsized. It’s all the rage these days. Sometimes, serious rage. Here are some practical do’s and don’ts.

Don’t sign on the dotted line.
If you get the proverbial pink slip, don’t sign anything right away. If your boss insists that you sign on the spot, something’s up.

Packages are negotiable.
Provinces have laws on minimum termination notice, but this may not be enough. If you have not been released for cause, your package is based on how long it takes you to find another job. Your age, role, service, and yes the emptiness of our economy, are all relevant factors. The courts have outlined ranges based on these factors. So maybe you can negotiate a better deal based upon previous cases.

A lawyer can be your friend.
If you are offered a package, you will likely be asked to sign a release. Once you sign, it’s over. Any other claims you may have are likely covered. And releases often read like a deed of transfer from the middle ages. For this reason, talk to an employment lawyer first. Ask around: Word of mouth is best when it comes to lawyers.

Don’t be stupid.
Right after you are restructured, don’t do anything that may hurt your employer. Don’t take confidential information, slash the boss’ tires, or steal the company toaster. This can give the employer negotiation leverage. It may even jeopardize your package.

Be practical.
Litigation is the sport of kings. If you cannot agree on the package, your only choice is to sue; however, this is expensive and time-consuming. Before you do it, make sure you understand the costs and time compared to your gain. Always consider the practical repercussions.

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