Post-Termination Compensation: Ensuring Payment of Bonuses, Commissions, and Incentives.


Navigating the aftermath of employment termination can be challenging, especially when it involves the payment of bonuses, commissions, and other incentives. Understanding your rights and the necessary steps to claim these earnings is crucial. At Workplace Sage Legal, we approach each case with compassion and a commitment to securing what you rightfully deserve.

Understanding your Compensation Rights:

When you are terminated from your job, it’s essential to know which components of your compensation are due to you. Typically, this can include base salary, bonuses, commissions, RSUs, PSUs, stock options, and other performance-related incentives that were agreed upon in your employment contract.

Bonuses and Commissions: These are typically tied to specific performance metrics. However, whether these are payable post-termination depends on the contract terms and the nature of the dismissal.

Incentives: Other incentives, such as stock options or profit-sharing plans, also have specific clauses that dictate their treatment upon termination.

Legal Framework:

The entitlement to post-termination earnings in Ontario is primarily governed by the Employment Standards Act, along with the terms outlined in your individual employment contract. The Employment Standards Act contains a broad definition of wages, which includes any monetary remuneration payable by an employer to an employee under the terms of an employment contract. Although there are certain exceptions, the key is understanding how these legal frameworks apply to your unique situation.

Contractual Terms: Always start with your employment contract. Some contracts have clear clauses stating the fate of bonuses and commissions if employment is terminated. Whether terminated with cause or without can also affect this outcome.

Precedents and Case Law: Legal precedents play a crucial role. Courts have sometimes ruled that employees are entitled to compensation that they would have reasonably expected to earn had they not been terminated.

Steps to Ensuring Payment:

1. Review Your Employment Contract: Identify all relevant clauses related to compensation and termination. Understanding these details is pivotal.

2. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your performance metrics, targets achieved, and correspondences about your compensation.

3. Consult a Lawyer: Engaging a lawyer who specializes in employment law is crucial. They can provide guidance tailored to your situation, ensuring that your rights are protected.

4. Negotiate: Often, compensation issues can be resolved through negotiation without proceeding to litigation. A lawyer can effectively negotiate on your behalf.

5. Litigation: If negotiation fails, litigation might be necessary. Your lawyer can advocate for your rights in court to secure the compensation you are entitled to.

Combating Challenges:

Terminated employees often face challenges such as employers who are unwilling to pay, unclear contractual terms, or disputes over the conditions under which targets were met. Overcoming these challenges requires a strategic approach, combining legal expertise with a thorough understanding of contractual obligations.

Case Studies:

In our practice, we have encountered numerous cases where employees were denied their rightful bonuses and commissions after termination. For example, a client was terminated without cause and was initially denied a substantial year-end bonus. We successfully argued that the termination terms and the timing did not exempt the employer from paying the bonus, which was clearly earned during the period of employment.


Securing post-termination compensation like bonuses and commissions requires a clear understanding of your employment contract, a meticulous gathering of evidence, and competent legal representation. At Workplace Sage Legal, we are dedicated to navigating these complexities with you, ensuring a process that is not only successful but also affirming and supportive.


If you are dealing with the aftermath of a termination and are unsure about your entitlements, it is crucial to seek legal advice promptly. Ensuring you receive all compensation you are entitled to is not just about financial gain—it’s about affirming your rights and the value of your contributions to your former employer.

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