In my experience, I usually find that companies are inclined to negotiate better terms of severance once legal counsel is visible. Leverage is found in the threat of litigation and the associated costs of defending a claim. Therefore, a lawyer’s letter, formulated appropriately, can encourage a company to negotiate. If you have obtained proper advice and your former employer is knowledgeable and reasonable, there should be a strong chance of resolving your situation favourably at an early stage.
Time is not always of the essence – I’ve seen many recently dismissed employees jump at the first offer of severance that they are given simply because they cannot afford to wait or are afreaid they will receive nothing else unless they accept the deal immediately. The fact is that your right to compensation is not relinquished simply because you have attempted to negotiate better terms.
For more information on Reasonable Notice and Severance packages, please see my free employment law advice page on Severance Packages here.
Daniel A. Lublin is a Toronto Employment Lawyer specializing in the law of wrongful and constructive dismissal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.