Bait (You, The Employee), Switch and See You Later – When Your Company Is Sold

Dave worked for the same construction company for years — twenty-seven years, as a matter of fact. Last year, the company announced that it was going through a reorganization and 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 his John Henry.

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 a lawyer from Owen Sound before signing anything that guts your entitlement to a generous severance.