So, it has almost been an entire month of being unemployed. And I guess I haven’t written about it for so long because at first I needed for a few more things to be worked out, then I needed my anger to pass, then I didn’t really care anymore, and now I am ready to share.
Working for a consulting company, we were always looking ahead for the next award to come in. When I started on my project in January, I knew that it would be wrapping up in November and I would need to be assigned to a new project. And as November kept approaching with no known new work coming in, I did question my future. But I was assured by multiple managers that “something would work out”.
With this post, I am just going to present the facts for you. In an attempt to withhold my emotions, present the facts without bias and allow you to draw your own conclusions on the matter.
- When I returned to work at the end of September, I spoke with my manager (who was new to his role, based out of Calgary and only met me once in person previously). He told me that I would have hours on the project until the end of November, then we would have to figure something out for December, most likely using vacation and banked time, then new work would hopefully be available in January.
- I had returned to work on part-time hours, with the remainder of my 40 hours a week covered by Short Term Disability.
- November 3 – the Project Manager Director gave me Working Notice and my last day would be November 20. I learned that a company can either give an employee Working Notice OR severance pay (with no notice). The length of time or payment is based upon your years with the company, outlined by Alberta Employment Standards, and I was eligible for 2 weeks. As they gave me Working Notice, they did not have to pay me any severance. I was told I would have my final meeting on November 20 to go through all the paperwork.
- I was naive to think that a company could not lay you off while on disability. I confirmed with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, that a company can indeed lay you off while on medical leave. The only way you can claim an injustice, is if they laid you off BECAUSE of your disability. This did not apply to me, as they could use the reason of lack of work.
- On November 17 I was notified that my last day would now be November 27. The meeting on the 20th was cancelled and rescheduled for November 27.
- On November 19 I was notified that I will now work until I reach 40 hours a week, and I didn’t need to speak to the Director until that happened (at the time, I was at 25 hours a week).
- My employer kept explaining that these changes were being directed by the insurance company who oversaw my disability. My contact at the insurance company, whom I spoke with on a weekly basis, giving her my health updates since my illness began, explained that she had no say in when I would be laid off, and had no such discussions with my employer.
- On November 30, I was called and told there would be a meeting that afternoon at 3pm. I asked if I was being laid off that day, or if this was my two weeks notice. The Director did not know. She called my Manager to find out and then updated me, that yes, this would be my last day.
- In the mean time, I received an email from the insurance company, notifying me that I was now fit to work 40 hours a week (the previous week I had worked 27) and my disability claim was now over.
- I had my final meeting with HR, the Director and my Manager. When I asked about me being told that I would work until I was at 40 hours a week, I was told that there was a miscommunication between HR and my Director.
- I spoke with three lawyers about this situation. All advised me that the cost of hiring a lawyer to pursue compensation, would be more than what I could expect to get from my employer. Two advised me I could try to take them to Small Claims Court on my own.
- I spoke again with the Alberta Human Rights Commission and Alberta Employment Standards, again being told I had no real claim.
- Alberta Employment Standards dictates that an employer has three days to pay an employee all outstanding severance pay, vacation and banked time, from their last day of work. However, as long as they paid me before the next pay period (every two weeks), even if I submitted a complaint, the complaint would be cancelled. My employer did NOT pay me within these three days, even after multiple requests, but because they paid me within the two weeks, no complaint against them would be followed through on.
And that’s it.
I have chosen to let…this…go…