Over the years, I have been asked by several clients, who were dismissed due to “poor job performance”, if their company can let them go without providing them with severance pay.
In most cases, non-unionized workers in British Columbia are owed full severance when they are fired or let go, which can be as much as 24 months’ pay.
If you are terminated after a performance review, or for failing your employer’s PIP, here are four things you need to be aware of.
1. Your boss can’t automatically fire you “for cause”
In my experience, companies often use a PIP to justify firing staff for cause – arguing that they didn’t complete it successfully.
This type of dismissal is considered the “capital punishment” of employment law. Your employer doesn’t have to provide you with a severance package and you can’t access employment insurance benefits.
However, the reality is that termination for cause is reserved for the worst kinds of workplace offences, such as serious insubordination, assault or theft.
Not only does your company have to prove progressive disciplinary measures were applied, but that a less severe punishment wouldn’t be suitable.
In most cases, simply failing to meet the goals outlined in your employer’s PIP doesn’t justify firing you for cause. There are a variety of factors that must be considered, including whether the objectives set were reasonable and if you had enough time to accomplish them.
If you are fired for cause, contact an experienced employment lawyer, like the ones at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, immediately.
We can determine if this type of dismissal was appropriate in your situation and help you secure the compensation you are owed if it wasn’t.
One of the firm’s clients, a senior sales manager, was fired for cause after he failed his company’s PIP.
When our lawyers reviewed the plan, they found that the business set unrealistic goals and didn’t provide the employee with the proper support to improve his work.
As a result, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP was able to secure full severance pay for the former manager because he didn’t meet the conditions necessary for this type of dismissal.
2. Performance reviews don’t affect severance pay
The amount of severance pay non-unionized employees in B.C. are entitled to is calculated using several factors, including age, position at the company, length of service and their ability to find new work.
If you are fired after a “bad” performance review, you are still owed full severance pay – unless your employer can justify dismissing you for cause.
To figure out how much compensation you could be entitled to, use our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator tool.
If your company’s offer falls short of what is legally appropriate, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should take legal action.
Our employment lawyers regularly resolve wrongful dismissal claims and can help you secure proper severance.
3. Your boss can’t make major changes to your job
Instead of firing you after a poor performance review or for failing to meet the goals outlined in the company’s PIP, your employer might consider making negative changes to your job.
Non-unionized employees in B.C. can refuse major modifications to their employment. Significant changes, such as a demotion, longer shifts or reduced pay, are illegal.
If substantial adjustments are made to your job without your consent, and your employer can’t justify firing you for cause, the law allows you to resign and pursue full severance pay through a constructive dismissal claim.
It’s very important that you don’t quit your job before speaking with an experienced employment lawyer, like the ones at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.
We can confirm that you have been constructively dismissed, assess your legal options and ensure you receive the compensation you are owed.
4. Your boss can’t pressure or force you to resign
Even if your employer is disappointed with your job performance, they can’t pressure or force you to quit.
One of the firm’s recent clients received bi-weekly emails from her manager – encouraging her to resign.
Despite the employee clearly stating in an email that she wasn’t interested in quitting, she continued to get similar messages from her boss.
After a few months, the emails became so aggressive and forceful that the worker felt she had no other option than to resign.
Since the manager’s messages proved that the employee was ultimately forced to quit her job, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP was able to help her obtain full severance pay through a constructive dismissal claim.
Let an employment lawyer fight for you
If you are fired or let go for any reason, contact an experienced employment lawyer, like the ones at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.
Our firm has helped numerous non-unionized individuals across British Columbia resolve their workplace issues.
We can review your situation, enforce your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you are legally entitled to.
Fired after a performance review? Boss refuses to provide you with severance pay?
Contact the firm or call 1-855-821-5900 to secure assistance from an employment lawyer in British Columbia, Alberta or Ontario. Get the advice you need — and the compensation you deserve.
Sandy Chen is an employment lawyer and senior associate at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, Canada’s most positively reviewed law firm specializing in employment law and long-term disability claims. The firm provides free advice through Canada’s only Employment Law Show on TV and radio.