WE Charity Layoffs and Severance Pay

we charity, layoffs and severance pay

WE Charity announced on August 13 that 22 full-time employees at their global headquarters in Toronto will be laid off. The fixed-term contracts for an additional 59 employees will not be renewed at the end of August

The embattled charity says its financial position has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization also pointed to “recent events,” which include a political controversy involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government’s decision to award the charity a $900-million student volunteer grant program.

WE Charity recently laid off 450 contract workers originally hired to help manage the federal government’s program.

The Toronto Star reports that the laid off the individuals were hired on either fixed-term contracts or as independent contractors. The charity organization made the decision after a political scandal brought and end to the deal with the government.

According to the Toronto Star, WE Charity provided the impacted workers with compensation based on the amount of time they had worked with the group.

WE Charity and Severance Pay Facts

WE Charity employees in Ontario or British Columbia who are facing a layoff or termination have employment rights, especially concerning the severance pay they are owed.

All employees in a non-unionized environment are entitled to severance pay during the COVID-19 pandemic if they are terminated, or let go, from their job. A company doesn’t have the option of “suspending” their legal obligations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

If an employee is let go from their job, they must be provided with the proper amount of severance pay.

Many companies anticipate that their employees are largely unaware of these rights, whether under a provincial Employment Standards Act (ESA) or common law. In other cases, employers are legitimately unaware of their obligations to workers during the termination process.

The employment lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP have represented numerous employees in the charitable sector over the years in severance package negotiations. We have successfully secured much larger amounts for individuals employed across a variety of positions.

Have you been laid off by WE Charity? Has your contract been cancelled?

Talk to the team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. Our employment lawyers in Ontario and BC can help you get full compensation.

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Early end to a fixed-term contract

Was your fixed-term contract with WE Charity cancelled early, before the end date? You are still owed the balance of the contract.

Contact our firm to have your contract reviewed to find out what your full rights may be.

The truth about independent contractors

Have you been hired by a company as an independent contractor? The reality is, you may actually be an employee in the eyes of the law. This misclassification happens quite often, whether accidentally or intentionally.

Individuals mislabelled as independent contractors are owed full severance pay when they are let go by their employer. You can use our pocket employment lawyer to find out if you might be an employee. We recommend that you talk to our team to find out what your status truly is, and how to secure your termination rights.

How to properly calculate severance pay

Employers often incorrectly calculate severance pay. There is a belief that severance pay comprises a week or two weeks for every year of service an employee has with the company.

That formula does hold true when determining an individual’s MINIMUM severance pay amounts, under Ontario and British Columbia‘s respective ESA. The ESA sets the basic amount of compensation that an employee should receive when let go from their job.

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When confirming a person’s complete severance package, it is vital to do so using “common law” methods. Our court system determines what compensation a worker should receive when they lose their job. For non-unionized employees, the main factors of termination pay are age, length of service, position, and ability to find new work. Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay. These factors apply to employees that have been let go from WE Charity.

Use this helpful severance pay tool to determine your severance pay range.

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Incorrect Severance Packages and Wrongful Dismissal

Severance packages are often miscalculated by employers when dismissing a worker without cause. Approximately 90% of employees experience a wrongful dismissal when they lose their job. In other words, workers who are let go are not given the correct amount of severance pay under common law.

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Meaningless deadlines on severance offers

A common myth suggests that when a charity, like WE Charity, fires an employee, the employee must accept a severance offer within a matter of days. If that severance offer deadline passes, that person’s right to severance pay expires. That is completely false. You have up to two years from the moment of your layoff or termination to obtain the severance package that you deserve.

Employees at this particular charity should be aware that a 3 or 5 day deadline will not impact their ability to legally pursue a severance package with out team’s assistance.

Termination “for cause”

In a termination “for cause” the employer does not have to provide severance pay to the outgoing employee. The employee must be given their accrued wages and vacation pay.

What many employers and employees don’t realize is that a vast majority of these types of terminations are not valid, simply because the reason for dismissal is not serious enough to warrant a termination without severance pay.

A true dismissal for cause is reserved for the most serious workplace misconduct (think dishonesty or theft). Generally speaking, a termination for cause does not apply when an employee is late for work, or fails to pass a performance improvement plan.

In cases where the employer is unable to prove that they had just cause, the employee is owed full severance pay.

Ministry of Labour or Employment Standards Branch

If you lose your job at WE Charity, or any charity for that matter, it is imperative that you do not consult with the Ministry of Labour in Ontario or the Employment Standards Branch in British Columbia. As noted earlier, they are unable to secure your full severance pay. They can only obtain your minimum termination pay according to government policy.

Once you file a claim with either one of those provincial bodies (depending on which province your live or work in), you relinquish your right to file a claim with one of our skilled employment lawyers.

Before you seek advice from the Ministry of Labour or the Employment Standards Branch about your dismissal from WE Charity, contact us to discover the full extent of your rights.

Don’t sign on the dotted line!

If you wish to explore all of your options post-termination, do not sign any severance offer, termination papers or exit agreement that WE Charity may provide you with. Once you accept a termination package, you eliminate our ability to negotiate fair severance on your behalf.

Our employment lawyers in Toronto, Vancouver employment lawyers and employment lawyers Ottawa have helped thousands of individuals across Ontario and BC. Contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need, and the compensation you deserve.

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