Employment Law

Report: Veritas Capital sent takeover offer to BlackBerry


After expressing interest in acquiring BlackBerry, private equity firm Veritas Capital has reportedly made an offer for the Canadian technology giant.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that a takeover offer has been sent to the company. The specifics of the deal have not been disclosed.

The potential acquisition comes just months after BlackBerry announced in May that it would conduct a review of “strategic alternatives” to enhance shareholder value.

The company didn’t rule out the possibility of separating one or more of its businesses.

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While Veritas Capital may have made an offer for BlackBerry, the Financial Post reports that others are interested in the smartphone pioneer.

If the Canadian technology giant does come under new management, here are a few things non-unionized employees in the country need to know.

Who pays severance if the new owner doesn’t want to keep certain BlackBerry staff?

If you lose your job as a result of BlackBerry selling the business, then the technology giant must provide you with full severance pay.

In Canada, the person or group who sold the company is responsible for providing proper compensation to affected staff.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains the rights workers have when their employer sells the business on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

If you receive an employment offer from the new owner, and have a good reason for why you don’t want to accept it (i.e. different hours or pay), you can still get full severance from BlackBerry.

Even if you don’t have a good reason for turning down the offer, you can still get a severance package.

However, it’s very likely that you will only receive the minimum amount of compensation required under provincial legislation.

• Sale of business in Ontario: Rights to severance
• Rights to severance in Alberta when your employer sells the business
• Employer sold the business in B.C.? Know your rights to severance

How is severance pay calculated?

Severance for non-unionized employees in Canada can be as much as 24 months’ pay.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta and B.C.

The amount of compensation you are entitled to is calculated using several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Position at the company
  • Length of service
  • Ability to find new work

To figure out how much you could be owed, use our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator. It has helped millions of Canadians determine their severance entitlements.

If your company doesn’t provide you with the correct amount, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should contact Samfiru Tumarkin LLP immediately.

Our experienced employment lawyers regularly resolve wrongful dismissal claims and can help you secure proper severance.

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Can the new owner of BlackBerry make major changes to my job?

In Canada, non-unionized employees at BlackBerry don’t have to accept substantial changes to their job that the new owner of the company might try to enforce.

Major modifications, such as a demotion, longer shifts, or reduced pay, are illegal.

When significant adjustments are made to the terms of your employment without your consent, there is a very good chance that you can treat it as a constructive dismissal.

In this situation, the law allows you to quit your job and pursue full severance pay.

However, you shouldn’t resign until an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP confirms that you have been constructively dismissed.

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New employment contracts for BlackBerry employees

If you are a non-unionized employee at BlackBerry, and the new owner of the business provides you with an employment contract, don’t sign anything before contacting our firm.

In many cases, these agreements take away key protections that would otherwise be available to you, including:

  • Eliminating past service: The new owner might attempt to reduce or eliminate your years of service with your previous employer. Don’t sacrifice your seniority. Length of service is a key factor when determining how much severance pay you are entitled to.
  • Reducing severance pay: Some employers try to use a termination clause to reduce your severance entitlements to the bare minimum. Instead of months of pay, you might only receive a few weeks’ pay if you are fired without cause or let go.
  • Ability to make changes: The new owner might attempt to add a clause that gives them the right to change aspects of your job (i.e. hours or pay) without your permission or lay you off without penalty.

Employers in Canada can’t legally force non-unionized workers to sign a new employment contract immediately or a few days after receiving it.

Our experienced employment lawyers can review the agreement and make sure that your workplace rights are properly protected.

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Do I still have the same rights if BlackBerry is sold to a U.S.-based company?

The short answer is yes. Companies outside of Canada can’t use employment contracts to get around Canadian employment standards legislation.

Even if the new owner is headquartered in the U.S., the company has to adhere to the same employment laws that BlackBerry was required to follow for its Canadian staff.

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Received a job offer? Speak with an employment lawyer

Before signing a new employment contract, have the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review the agreement to make sure your workplace rights are protected.

Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. have successfully represented tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals.

We can help you better understand the terms of the contract and advise you on how best to navigate the situation.

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