Target has officially announced that it is pulling out of the Canadian retail market. Where does this leave the tens of thousands of Canadian employees affected by the retail giant’s decision?
In Ontario, mass layoffs trigger specific rules regarding the minimum amount of notice (or pay) owed to departing employees. The usual calculation of minimum statutory termination notice does not apply in these circumstances. Indeed, employers are legally obligated to provide an enhanced minimum notice period. The minimum notice owed will depend on the total number of individuals affected by a mass layoff.
Target will be eliminating more than 500 positions in Ontario. Therefore, dismissed employees can expect to receive at least 16 weeks’ notice (or pay) under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). This is the minimum required by law. It is important to note that employees are not required to sign releases (i.e. documents indicating that they waive their rights to sue Target) in exchange for this minimum amount.
Depending on a number of variables, including age, position, tenure, salary, and the terms and conditions included in an employment contract, dismissed employees are frequently entitled to considerably more than the minimums prescribed by the ESA. However, it is fairly standard for employers to provide initial severance packages that only include the minimums, or slightly more than the minimums. Many unfortunately accept these low severance offers based on a misguided belief that they are fair.
According to numerous reports, Target has earmarked $70 million to cover the severance owing to its Canadian employees. For the reasons discussed above, those impacted by Target’s mass layoff are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice to ensure that they receive their fair share of the $70 million fund.
The lawyers at Singh Lamarche LLP have experience dealing with mass layoffs and are well positioned to assist those impacted by Target’s decision to leave the Canadian retail market. In an effort to minimize costs, the firm provides discounted group rates for those interested in receiving comprehensive legal advice with similarly situated colleagues.