The Fundamentals of HR Law: What Business Owners Need to Know

Join us for: The Fundamentals of HR Law: What Business Owners Need to Know

The Richmond Hill Board of Trade has developed the Vanderburgh Certification Series to provide great new educational opportunities for our members.

This series of 3, 90 Minute Sessions will be led by Stuart Rudner of Rudner Law

To introduce you to our guest educator we wanted to share with you his latest video blog. To view it please click the link to his YouTube Channel or view the transcript below for content.


Video Transcript

Today I want to warn people against accidentally settling their severance claim. How is that possible you ask? It’s not unusual for us to see people who come to us after initially having discussions with their former employer. They may have received a severance package and either consulted with friends or family, or otherwise thought about it themselves, and sent off a hasty response to HR saying I want X instead of the Y that you offered. And sometimes HR writes back and says okay. What does that mean in that case? Does that mean that you have a deal? We often see situations where the person goes through that exercise, then they come to us, and we tell them that although they asked for X, they really should have been asking for two times X, and we now send a letter on their behalf to the former employer who is bewildered by the fact that they thought they had agreed on a settlement with this individual and now they’re getting a letter from their lawyer. So you never want to have that informal discussion with your former employer until you properly understand your rights and obligations. If you’re entitled to two years, don’t offer to settle for six months, and that’s what some people do and it can come back to haunt them.

One recent example of this is a case involving Bombardier. In that case there were three individuals who were let go and they sought legal advice, had a consultation, then they directly wrote back to Bombardier and said that they would accept the initial offer if Bombardier gave them a certain amount of money toward their legal costs. Bombardier wrote back and said they agree, and they sent the individuals updated settlement documents, which the individuals refused to sign, went back to their lawyer, and filed a claim. In response, Bombardier moved to have the claim dismissed, saying it had been settled, and in fact there was an agreement in place. The defence on the part of the individuals was that there was no signed agreement, therefore they should not be held to it. And ultimately they lost.