26 weeks' severance added to 54 weeks' working notice

Severance is separate compensation, regardless of whether notice is working or paid out: Court
By Ronald Minken
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/10/2012

The Ontario Small Claims Court has reinforced the importance of providing statutory severance in strict accordance with the terms of the province’s Employment Standards Act, 2000. The decision provides that since the legislation indicates that severance must be provided in a lump sum — unless the employee agrees to receive the payment in installments — statutory severance must be paid in addition to any working notice provided to the employee. As a result, the employee in this case, who received 54 weeks of working notice — well in excess of all statutory payments owed — was awarded an additional lump sum payment of 26 weeks for severance.

The employee, Shirley Mattiassi, worked for Hathro Management Partnership and Toronto law firm Thomson, Rogers, for 26 years. On Nov. 16, 2009, Mattiassi received notice of termination indicating that she would be provided with 54 weeks of working notice, ending on Nov. 30, 2010. Mattiassi worked the 54 weeks of notice, during which time she received her regular pay.

On Nov. 19, 2010, Hathro provided Mattiassi with a letter reminding her that her employment would officially come to an end on Nov. 30. Additionally, this letter included a cheque for $8,041.67, representing an amount equal to about two months of her regular pay. This gratuitous payment brought the total amount of notice provided by Hathro to 62 weeks.