Bait and Switch – When Your Employer Is Sold
Wrongful Dismissal Claims: When An Employer Plays Bait and Switch
Dave called me up last year. He worked for the same Collingwood construction company for 27 years. He was good at what he did and was well paid.
Last year, the company announced that Dave’s construction unit would be sold. The word went out that all jobs would be preserved, but there was one little hitch — employees had to sign this piece of paper.
That paper proposed to gut Dave’s 27 years of seniority. By signing it, he agreed that he would start afresh with the new company. He agreed that, if later terminated, he would only get termination pay based on his time of service with the new company.
But Dave trusted the company and its managers, all of whom transferred to the new company. And, everyone else was signing the paper, so there was comfort in that. So he signed.
A year later, he was terminated and was offered termination and severance pay based on one year of service, not 27. Ouch. Had he not signed the paper, he could have negotiated a severance and termination package at the time of the reorganization. But the bait had been laid, the switch carefully plotted and it was see you later, Dave.
Lesson learned: If you have lengthy seniority and if your company is reorganized, speak to our office before signing anything that guts your entitlement to a generous severance.