Employer sold the business? 3 key rights you have

When an employer sells their business the sale could result in an individual losing their job, or the new owner might decide keep them on.

If your workplace comes under new management, you still have rights as a non-unionized employee.

Here are the top three you need to be aware of when the business changes hands.

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1. The seller of the business must provide severance if you lose your job

If the new owner of the business doesn’t want to keep you, then your employer must provide you with full severance pay.

A severance package can be as much as 24 months’ pay. Your entitlements are calculated using several factors, including age, position, length of service and ability to find new work.

READ MORE: 5 ways to determine if your severance package is fair

To figure out how much compensation you might be owed, use my firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator tool.

If the company’s offer falls short of what is legally appropriate, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should file a claim to ensure that you receive what you are owed.

2. You don’t have to accept major changes to your job by the new owner

In Canada, making large unilateral modifications to an employee’s job are illegal. Some examples includes a demotion, pay cut, reduced hours or a negative change to commission.

READ MORE: The ‘big 5’ workplace rights most often overlooked by employees

If you receive a job offer from the new owner, but it includes different hours or pay, you may be able to turn it down and get full severance pay from the seller of the business.

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Even without a good reason, you can turn down the offer and still get severance. However, it’s likely that you will only receive the minimum amount guaranteed by provincial or federal legislation, depending on the type of industry you work in.

READ MORE: What to know if your field is federally regulated

Several of my clients have told me that the new owner of their business initially offered them their same job, but then made significant changes shortly after they began working for the company.

If this happens to you, the law allows you to resign from your job and seek full severance pay through a constructive dismissal claim.

Before handing in your resignation, speak to an employment lawyer, like the ones at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

READ MORE: The most common myths about severance pay, according to an employment lawyer

3. The new owner inherits your length of service if they hire you

In most cases, your years of service with the company don’t go out the window when the business comes under new management. Your length of service is a key factor in determining your severance entitlements if you are fired without cause or let go.

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If the new owner provides you with an employment contract, carefully review it before accepting. In my experience, some employers try to get out of recognizing a worker’s length of service in the new agreement.

READ MORE: Given a new employment contract? Review these key clauses, employment lawyer says 

While many individuals believe that they need to sign quickly to protect themselves, these contracts often take away protections that would otherwise be available to you.

The new owner can’t force you to sign the agreement immediately. If there is anything in the contract that you are unsure about, have an employment lawyer review it.

My firm can ensure that it contains the correct clause to protect your seniority.

An employment lawyer can help you enforce your workplace rights

Even if the new owner of the business isn’t based in Canada, your rights don’t change. Companies can’t use employment contracts to get out of Canadian employment standards legislation.

At Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, we have helped tens of thousands of individuals in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. resolve their workplace issues.

READ MORE: 5 of the most common work situations where getting an employment lawyer can help

If you are fired or let go for any reason, our lawyers can review your situation, enforce your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you are owed.

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Lost your job after your employer sold the business? Being pressured by the new owner to sign an employment contract immediately?

Contact the firm or call 1-855-821-5900 to secure assistance from an employment lawyer in Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia. Get the advice you need — and the compensation you deserve.

Lior Samfiru is an employment lawyer and co-founding partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, Canada’s most positively reviewed law firm specializing in employment law and long-term disability claims. He provides free advice as the host of Canada’s only Employment Law Show on TV and radio.

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