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Hudson’s Bay to permanently layoff more than 600 workers across Canada amid COVID-19

FILE: A woman leaves a Hudson's Bay store in Toronto on November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Hudson’s Bay Co. is permanently laying off more than 600 workers across Canada amid ongoing store closures due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Tiffany Bourre, a spokeswoman for the iconic retailer, says nearly half the company’s department stores remain temporarily closed.

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She says due to circumstances beyond HBC’s control, the company has had to make adjustments.

Bourre adds that HBC is committed to treating each individual affected with fairness and respect during these difficult times.

Yet employment lawyer Lior Samfiru says his firm has been contacted by about 40 HBC workers concerned about the terms of their termination.

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Layoffs for nearly 500 workers come early at Evraz steel mill in Regina – Dec 4, 2020

Samfiru, a partner with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, says the employees have received a so-called working notice, which means they are expected to work until the termination date.

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Yet he calls such a notice when stores aren’t open and employees can’t work “absurd,” and says HBC should be providing payment in lieu of notice.

He suggests that terminated workers are not being offered proper severance, and is alleging wrongful dismissal.

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Samfiru says the workers, both part-time and full-time, have worked for the retailer for between 10 and 30 years, predominantly in sales and middle management at stores in the Toronto area, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.

He says some workers have mentioned specifically a “national restructuring.”

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