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Preview: Screwed by Open Text

Screwed by Open Text

A blog about how Open Text screwed all the Hummingbird employees, authored by Randy Charles Morin.

Published: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 18:25:01 GMT

Last Build Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 18:25:01 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2007 Randy Charles Morin

Pink Slip Party

Mon, 29 Jan 2007 18:25:01 GMT

Just a reminder, tomorrow is the pink slip party for Hummingbird at Dave and Busters [map]. Everybody is invited, whether you were laid off, quit or still work there. I'll arrive at 6PM, but we'll start between 6-7PM. I'll be leaving around  9PM, but you can stay as late as your want. Please tell all our friends. This'll be fun!

Draft of Letter to PM

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 23:50:34 GMT

This is a draft of a letter I intend to send to the Prime Minister of Canada. I will also be re-drafting for the Premier, all Ministers in ridings where Open Text does business and all Open Text customers. I will also create an online form that'll make it easy for you to send your own copies of this letter to each of the above. Please review for me. Typo corrections will be rewarded with bonus karma.

Dear Prime Minister Harper,
I'm sending you this letter to ask for your help in an employment disaster that has occured in the province of Ontario. A few months back, Symphony, an American company agreed to purchase Hummingbird, a public Canadian company. In the weeks following, another public company Open Text outbid Symphony and took over Hummingbird. They have proceeded to shut down nearly all of the operations and lay off nearly every employee that I knew. They have failed to pay termination pay according to mass termination laws in Ontario. They failed to pay severance to many employees who worked their for years and were let go for no reason other than to kill a competitive company. They failed to pay vacation pay that was rightfully owed these employees. Further, they threatened not to pay severance pay to employees who did not sign agreements to waive their right to legal action or government complaints. I refused to sign the agreement as they only intended to pay me 2 weeks severance and they told me I would not get my severance because of it. Most employees signed this agreement under obvious threat and because they did not know their rights. I beg you to help us convince Open Text to pay out the deserved amount to the laid off employees. I believe their are 500 votes from x-employees and another 5,000 votes from friends and family waiting for you if you can help us.
Thank you very much,
Randy Charles Morin

Pink Slip Party

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 22:46:41 GMT

The Hummingbird Pink Slip Party will be January 30th at Dave and Busters [map].

Update: We'll start around 6PM, but I suspect most people won't arrive till 7PM. I'll be staying till around 9PM, but you can stay as late as you want.

Employment Standards Claim

Thu, 18 Jan 2007 22:42:46 GMT

Today, I wrote my Employment Standards Claim against Open Text. I decided that I'm filing a complain on the vacation owed and will sue for the missing termination and severance pay. The reason I'm doing this is because I estimate they owe me about $6,000 in vacation and the Ministry can only order the company to pay a maximum of $10,000 total. Since I'm expecting much more than $10,000 in termination owing, I'll sue for that part as I would only be eligible for another $4,000 beyond the vacation owing. Also, I received two emails from Hummingbird personel specifically detailing that I was owed the $6,000 and it should be an open and shut case.

If you want to file a claim, then you the form at the following address.

Pink Slip Party

Sun, 14 Jan 2007 22:06:01 GMT

I'm going to organize a Pink Slip Party for late January. Just a night to get together for a few drinks. Best days are Tuesday to Wednesday. Best location is near the old HQ in Markham (maybe Dave & Busters). Any day or location suggestions? Any days you can't make it?

Rules of Severance

Sat, 13 Jan 2007 15:18:34 GMT

I was asked about severance by an employee who worked for Hummingbird for 4 years and didn't get any. According to the Employment Standards Act, Hummingbird only has to pay severance to people who have worked there 5 or more years. But, if you sue them for severance, then would always get some awarded by the courts.

Also, if you want to get these entries in your email inbox, then you'll find a subscription widget in the right sidebar. Simply enter your email address and click Subscribe. Thanks!

Complaining Aloud

Fri, 12 Jan 2007 01:57:02 GMT

Another thing that I've been discussing with several x-HUMCs is that I intend on sending email and snail mails to the Prime Minister, Premier and various Ministers in the ridings where Open Text has offices. There has also been the thought of sending emails to x-HUMC customers and maybe even Open Text customers. If you want to help, then compiling a list of these email addresses and mailing addresses would be a great help. Simply paste the addresses here in the comments and I can take it from there. Thanks!

Class Action Lawsuit

Fri, 12 Jan 2007 01:53:43 GMT

Some of the x-HUMCs have been asking about a class action lawsuit. This is definitely possible, but it's really up to each individual to do what is best for them. If you are owed less than $10k, then a class action lawsuit is likely a waste of your time and filing a complaint may be the better way. If you are owed more than $10k, then a lawsuit might be a good path. Note that I don't seem to see how you can file a group complaint with the ministry.

If you are interested in a class action lawsuit, then send me an email []. Note also that signing the compensation package doesn't not preclude you from joining a class action lawsuit, as you signed the package under duress.

Suing or Filing a Complaint

Thu, 11 Jan 2007 18:53:35 GMT

Many people have been asking me about a concern whether filing a complaint with the Ministry of Labour would limit your right to sue. I called up the ministry help line (416-326-7160 or toll free at 1-800-531-5551) and specifically asked this question. The answer is yes and no. You cannot file a complaint on vacation pay and then sue about vacation pay later, but you can file a complaint on vacation pay and sue about termination later. That is, you can file a complaint and sue, but they have to be separate issues. In many case, Open Text has screwed the employees of vacation pay, severance and termination pay.

Also remember, that the ministry can only force Open Text to pay up to $10,000. So don't file a complaint, if you are owed more than that. Let's take a look at an example. Say Hummingbird owed me $5,000 in vacation and $15,000 in termination. You may consider filing a complaint for vacation and suing for the termination, but it would not be smart to file a complaint for both.

Some employees have also said that Hummingbird is laying off 49 every 4 weeks in order to circumvent the mass layoff rules. Again, I asked the ministry about this and they said that circumventing the rules in this way is not right and that a ministry could still rule in favor of the employees.

We're Not Alone

Mon, 08 Jan 2007 13:16:36 GMT

It appears Open Text is getting sued in many countries. I heard they already lost in court in France and are being suied in Switzerland too!

Ministry of Labour Thoughts

Sun, 07 Jan 2007 20:27:07 GMT

This is an email I sent to a few people last month.

To all people concerned,
I just got off the phone with the Ministry of Labour and they have told me that the layoff at Open Text as I described qualifies as a mass termination and that all the employees were suppose to be given months of notice, not the amount paid. They also paid me less vacation than I was due and I have confirmed that they did this to more than just me. Last, they did not give me my ROE in-time and we can file a second complaint with the federal goverment for this issue. I have also talked to a lawyer, but we determined that it's best to file the complaint first and get that part over with without getting lawyers involved. We calculated that Hummingbird underpaid the laid-off employees in the millions of dollars.

I'm going to put together a website where employees can find out more and how to register complaints. Anybody interested in getting their fair money from Open Text should respond. Please also send this to all friends who were laid off.
Stay tuned,

define Duress

Sun, 07 Jan 2007 20:14:33 GMT

Here's a common application of duress in law.

Duress also exists where a person is coerced by the wrongful conduct or threat of another to enter into a contract under circumstances that deprive the individual of his or her volition.

Open Text made you sign your severance package under threat that your severance would be taken away if you didn't. In fact, I have an email from Open Text saying exactly this. Therefor, you are all absolved from the severance contract you signed, because you signed them under duress.

Wecome x-Hummingbird

Sun, 07 Jan 2007 19:34:20 GMT

Welcome to x-Hummingbird a blog where x-Hummingbird employees can all share information about how we got screwed by Open Text and how we can get are just desserts.