Personal Finance

Question on Severance Pay

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  • Nov 10th, 2017 8:17 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Jun 19, 2009
61 posts

Question on Severance Pay

Hi,
I was wondering if anyone has any information or experience regarding severance pay. I'm asking on behalf of my father. He has worked for a Toronto restaurant business as a chef for over 22 years until his retirement age of 65 a year ago. He then switched to part-time work of 3 days per week. The business shut down its branch a year ago with management first saying the owners didn't renew their lease as it got too expensive, followed by then needed to shut down and do repair work. They never opened again and didn't inform my dad anything also. The restaurant workers were a part of a union, one that has been useless also. I was wondering what, if any, severance pay is my dad entitled to or what can he do about it. The restaurant business still has a few other branches so they didn't go bankrupt or so.
Last edited by accesskb on Nov 9th, 2017 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
9 replies
Deal Addict
Feb 29, 2012
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Richmond
Every case is different. Check with your local law society and see if you can get a free half-hour consultation with an employment lawyer to advise you.
Member
Mar 25, 2012
447 posts
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Kelowna
I agree; short answer: it's a complicated best not answered on a forum. There are legislated minimum levels of severance pay (in B.C., it's one week of severance pay for each year of full-time equivalent work, prorated accordingly for part-time work or years that were part-time, to a maximum of 8 weeks). Employers can pay more but you also mentioned this was a union shop and also that it was a bankruptcy. You'd need to have your dad check with his union local for the latest copy of their collective agreement re: severance entitlement and what the recourse is (the union may be the one that fights for it in court). However, as it's a bankruptcy, if each location was a separate legal entity, you may have to line up among other creditors for a share in any severance and it would likely involve court action and would be expensive.

Cheers,
Doug
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Jan 27, 2007
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Peterborough
Lawyer up. There is no formula to severance cases. Facts are never the same.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 19, 2009
61 posts
dmehus wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 12:47 pm
I agree; short answer: it's a complicated best not answered on a forum. There are legislated minimum levels of severance pay (in B.C., it's one week of severance pay for each year of full-time equivalent work, prorated accordingly for part-time work or years that were part-time, to a maximum of 8 weeks). Employers can pay more but you also mentioned this was a union shop and also that it was a bankruptcy. You'd need to have your dad check with his union local for the latest copy of their collective agreement re: severance entitlement and what the recourse is (the union may be the one that fights for it in court). However, as it's a bankruptcy, if each location was a separate legal entity, you may have to line up among other creditors for a share in any severance and it would likely involve court action and would be expensive.

Cheers,
Doug
No, the restaurant didn't go bankrupt. The company still runs restaurants elsewhere. Some employees were moved to other locations as my Dad found out when he stopped by other restaurants to eat one day. I feel the union was useless and just there to leech money. They said they were in talks to the owners and that was it.

I'm wondering what rights my Dad has and if its worth getting a lawyer. The company has quite a few restaurant locations I believe and probably has lawyers advising them too for them to just shut the restaurant without informing employees (or my Dad) what they were planning to do.
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Mar 23, 2008
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Your father should be talking to the Employment Standards office to begin with. But I'm a bit confused on the time-line...

He was working full time for a long time. Then he switched to part-time. How long was he working part-time? And after some period, the restaurant closed their doors on that location?

From the Employment Standards page FAQ:
What if the employer does not follow the ESA?

If an employee thinks the employer is not complying with the ESA, he or she can call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 416-326-7160 or toll free at 1-800-531-5551 for more information about the ESA and how to file a complaint. Complaints are investigated by an employment standards officer who can, if necessary, make orders against an employer-including an order to comply with the ESA. The ministry has a number of other options to enforce the ESA, including requesting voluntary compliance, issuing an order to pay wages, an order to reinstate and/or compensate, a notice of contravention, or issuing a ticket or otherwise prosecuting the employer under the Provincial Offences Act.
Do you know how much notice he was given? Was he paid ANY severance? What does the union agreement say about severance?

C
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 19, 2009
61 posts
CNeufeld wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 3:26 pm
Your father should be talking to the Employment Standards office to begin with. But I'm a bit confused on the time-line...

He was working full time for a long time. Then he switched to part-time. How long was he working part-time? And after some period, the restaurant closed their doors on that location?

From the Employment Standards page FAQ:


Do you know how much notice he was given? Was he paid ANY severance? What does the union agreement say about severance?

C

Thanks.. I'll look more into the Employment Standards office.

Yes, my dad has worked at the restaurant as a full-time employee for over 22 years, then switched to part-time and worked for a year before the restaurant shut. It will be a year this December since the restaurant closed.

He was not given any severance at all.. There was a talk for months in the restaurant among employees and even the union rep who said the restaurant might be closing due to slow sales and that the owners didn't want to renew the lease of the space. Then on Dec 31st, a sign was posted on the front door of the closed restaurant that they were closing for renovation. Ofcourse, that wasn't the case. They shut it down. Union representative kept informing my Dad that there were in talks with the owners regarding any compensation etc but now they never got back. My dad doesn't read well and believes anything/everything they tell him. Its just been recently that I decided to look up on it after hearing about severance pay on the news.
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Apr 21, 2014
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Alberta
accesskb wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 2:32 pm
No, the restaurant didn't go bankrupt. The company still runs restaurants elsewhere. Some employees were moved to other locations as my Dad found out when he stopped by other restaurants to eat one day. I feel the union was useless and just there to leech money. They said they were in talks to the owners and that was it.

I'm wondering what rights my Dad has and if its worth getting a lawyer. The company has quite a few restaurant locations I believe and probably has lawyers advising them too for them to just shut the restaurant without informing employees (or my Dad) what they were planning to do.
This is a very unique situation because your dad retired but then came back as part time. So that reset the clock imo (I’m not a lawyer). It would be a completely different circumstance if he was laid off while pre-retirement. Beat to do a consult with a lawyer on this one. It’s not so cut and dry. Also if it wasn’t a corporately owned store it’s harder to go after the owners.

Edit: my bad. I thought he retired and came back but it just looks like he reduced his hours to part time. He should be owed a severance but if the business has shut down it’s really hard to get any severance. The courts would only award him money for work performed, like if he didn’t receive his last paycheck.
Sr. Member
Mar 1, 2016
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since this is union work, i would check the severance as part of the union agreement.
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Nov 28, 2007
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foreigncontent wrote:
Nov 10th, 2017 8:02 am
since this is union work, i would check the severance as part of the union agreement.
Yeah, if he has a union contract there is nothing employment standards act is going to do for him...beyond that part time work for a year = basically no severance anyway

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