Employment Law Conference 2016


Course Date: May 5, 2016

Total: 11h 41min

Day 1: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Welcome and Introduction

Matthew Cooperwilliams — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Simon Kent — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

Wrongful Dismissal Settlements and Awards: Making and Defending Mitigation Arguments, and Other Creative Solutions

  • mitigation: key principles, trends in reduction awards, and the use (or misuse) of experts
  • creative approaches to settlements and judgment structure: predicting the success of future mitigation efforts; the use of the trust approach, partial summary judgment approach, and contingency approach

Andres Esteban Barker — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver
Valerie S. Dixon — Miller Thomson LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

Leveling the Playing Field or Destroying the Turf? The Significant Role of Legal Counsel in Resolving Workplace Disputes

  • the difference between employment law and other litigation: the influence and importance of ongoing relationships
  • personality differences, management styles, and workplace bullying: which is which?
  • the life cycle of an employment dispute: from miscommunication to no communication
  • problem solver or vigorous advocate?:  knowing which legal “hat” works best and when
  • fanning the flames or putting them out?: the importance of constructive letters, phone calls, and meetings in resolving employment disputes
  • the influential role of legal counsel (positive/negative) during workplace meetings, informal mediations, and employer investigations
  • ongoing employment is often “priceless”: maintaining relationships versus seeking compensation

Marli Rusen — Marli F. Rusen Law Corporation, Victoria

Benefits Issues Relating to Employment Law

  • employer responsibilities related to the administration of benefits plans
  • negligent misrepresentation relating to benefits
  • benefit continuation during the notice period

C. Nicole Mangan — Richards Buell Sutton LLP, Vancouver
Jennifer D. Wiegele — Miller Titerle + Company LLP, Vancouver

Lunch with Featured Speaker: "Sustainable Employment"

  • the role that lawyers (and HR professionals) play in enabling successful, long-lasting employment relationships for their clients
  • how to incorporate sustainability principles into all aspects of the employment relationship, from hiring to firing
  • examples of “unsustainable” employment law practices, and the harm they can cause both employees and employers

Simon Kent — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

Frustration of Contract in the Common Law, Human Rights, and Arbitration Context

  • common law test for frustration of employment and the consequences
  • human rights considerations: frustration and the duty to accommodate
  • employment standards tests
  • arbitration issues: the impact of the collective agreement
  • overarching issues and best practices

Danny Bernstein — Roper Greyell LLP, Vancouver
Michael R. Kilgallin — Roper Greyell LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

The Use of "Waiver of Tort" in Employment Litigation

  • overview of the restitutionary remedy, waiver of tort
  • how waiver of tort has been treated by the courts in employment litigation
  • (as the law currently stands) how it can be used as an effective tool in an employment litigator’s arsenal

Colin J. Edstrom — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Nazeer T. Mitha — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver

Directors & Officers Liability in the Employment Context

  • overview of liabilities imposed by Canadian federal and provincial law on directors and officers in the employment context
  • detailed consideration of D & O liability for
    • unpaid wages under the Business Corporations Act and employment standards legislation
    • unremitted source deductions—income taxes, EI premiums, and CPP
    • management of pension plans
    • occupational health & safety
  • employment practices liability coverage
  • best practices

Heather Hettiarachchi — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver
Erin Kizell — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

 Closing Questions & Comments

Matthew Cooperwilliams — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Simon Kent — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

Reception hosted by Harris & Company LLP

The Blackbird Public House, 905 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver


Day 2: Friday, May 6, 2016

Welcome and Introduction

Matthew Cooperwilliams — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Simon Kent — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

Cross-Canada Application of Bhasin v. Hrynew in Employment Law Cases

  • what is the common law duty of honest performance of contracts established in Bhasin?
  • a review of Canadian case law that has considered the application of Bhasin to employment law issues
  • circumstances where the duty may be triggered across the life of an employment contract
  • how this contractual duty may apply to employment contracts in BC

Blair W. Curtis — Tevlin Gleadle Curtis Employment Law Strategies, Vancouver
Carolyn Janusz — Black Gropper, Vancouver

Networking Break

Intellectual Property Issues in Employment Law: Do You Know Who Owns Your IP?

  • the basic rules of IP ownership in statute and common law
  • employment agreement clauses which govern IP ownership
  • avoiding some common issues that arise in the employment context

Mat Brechtel — Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP, Vancouver
Christopher S. Wilson — Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP, Vancouver

Case Law Update

  • key cases
  • analysis and trends
  • effects on practice

Lanny Robinson — Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, Vancouver
Cameron Wardell — Overholt Law – Barristers & Solicitors, Vancouver

Networking Lunch

Working with the Employee Who Has PTSD

  • characteristics associated with PTSD and how they can impact workplace environments
  • accommodation techniques for PTSD employees
  • legal framework for issues arising for PTSD employees

Gwendoline Allison — Foy Allison Law Group, West Vancouver
Richard D. Hart, CArb — Director and Conflict Management Specialist, ProActive Resolutions, Vancouver

The Duty to Provide Work and the Impact on Non-Working Working Notice

  • the issue of the duty to provide work recently explored in the SCC decision of Potter, 2015 SCC 10
  • general principles that apply to the analysis and particularly the sorts of contracts that this law impacts
  • the impact Potter might have on non-working working notice (i.e. the ability of an employer to give working notice but not require an employee to report to work during the period of working notice)
  • proposals for matters employers and counsel may wish to consider when drafting express contractual terms

Rodney W. Sieg — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

The Blurring Line: Off-Duty Conduct, Employer Sanctions, and the Place of Remorse in the Workplace

  • recent incidents of off-duty conduct and resulting employer sanction
  • the feminist legal perspective: victim blaming, double punishment
  • the employer's interest and the use of policies to govern off-duty conduct
  • the employee's interest and the right to privacy, freedom, and self-expression when not "on the clock"
  • the employer's duty to investigate
  • the role of the apology and remorse in potential reinstatement

Melanie Samuels — Singleton Urquhart LLP, Vancouver

An Update on the Law on Restrictive Covenants

  • enforceability of various provisions
  • common law rights without restrictive covenants (fiduciary duty, duty of confidence)
  • proving damages

Eleni Kassaris — Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Vancouver
Donovan G. Plomp — McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Vancouver

Closing Questions & Comments

Matthew Cooperwilliams — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Simon Kent — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver