Is the Four Seasons being stingy when it comes to severance pay?

Is the Four Seasons being stingy when it comes to severance pay?

The old Four Seasons Hotel, which will soon be converted to a condo building (Image: Danielle Scott) 

The storied Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville is going condo, but not without a snag or two: several laid-off banquet servers are accusing management of cheating them out of some of their severance pay. Most of the employees involved worked at the hotel for decades and pulled in some decent paycheques once their tips and service charges (paid by clients up-front to the hotel and fully taxed as income) are factored in. But in talks with the servers’ union, the hotel excluded the service charges from the severance agreement, basing the pay-outs solely on wages—meaning there are some massive gaps between what the workers were earning, and what they’ll be getting as severance. An example: Alex Litkowski worked for the hotel for 26-years and made a whopping $80,000 last year; but, because his hourly wages added up to only $19,000, that’s all he’ll get from the hotel, which is obligated to provide a year’s pay to longtime employees. The dispute, now in arbitration, is another sign that hotel workers are aggressively looking out for their interests. That said, the unionized workers at the new Four Seasons on Bay Street, which will open this summer, will be paid less than the workers at the old location—and the three other new luxury hotels in Toronto are all non-union. [Toronto Star]