Severance negotiation tips?

Here’s the (somewhat simplified) scoop.

My wife and I work for the same company in the same department although we have different supervisors. My wife’s supervisor recently quit, and I applied for his position. The supervisor for this position (coincedentally my current supervisor) has made me an offer. The only issues are that the company will not (understandably) let me be my wife’s supervisor. At the time I expressed interest in the position, my wife and I made it clear that if there were another position available for her in a different department, she would be perfectly happy to stay with the company.

Our Human Resources department now claims there are no other positions currently available. This is fine, but if they are essentially laying my wife off if I accept this position, do you think she is entitled to any severance pay? She has been with the company for over twelve years. I believe that legally they are not required to give her anything, but what should my negotiating stance be? I’ll probably end up taking the job one way or another, but I was wondering if anyone had any negotiating tips as far as getting her some type of severance.

It 's really best to check the employment standards in your area.

She MAY not be LEGALLY entitled to any severance pay (as opposed to termination pay) but your Employment Standards/Labour Board (or whatever it’s called where you are) might at least set out guidelines and your employer may be willing to use them. If she does turn out to be legally entitled to some sort of severance pay, your employer may follow any guidelines slavishly and just give her the minimum.

I’m not sure that severance pay can be “negotiated”. Negotiation implies that both parties have something the other one wants, in this case it may be completely up to your employer.

Good luck.