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Court has jurisdiction over defamation action brought by unionized employee against employer

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

The BC Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court decision that held that a public school teacher's defamation action against his principal and school board was a matter that arose under the collective agreement and was thus not within in the court's jurisdiction.

Background

The teacher, while off on a medical leave, attended the school and caused a disturbance that resulted in criminal charges and disciplinary action by the BC College of Teachers. (The College's disciplinary action was subsequently overturned by the court on the basis that the teacher had been incompetent due to his medical condition).

As part of the same court action, the teacher brought the defamation action in relation to comments the principal had allegedly made to a police officer.  read more »

BCTF to seek leave to Supreme Court of Canada on "political protests" case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

It was reported in an article in today's Vancouver Sun that the BC Teachers Federation will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on the "political protests" case.

The BC Court of Appeal dismissed their (and the Hospital Employees Union's) appeal in a decision handed down on February 4, 2009.

BC Court of Appeal hands down decision in "political protests" case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

In a decision handed down on February 4, 2009 - British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia Public School Employers' Assn., 2009 BCCA 39 - the BC Court of Appeal ruled that the political protests/work stoppages conducted by members of the BC Teachers Federation and the Hospital Employees Union in 2002 were "strikes" in contravention of the BC Labour Relations Code.

In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal ruled that while the definition of "strike" in section 1 of the BC Labour Relations Code infringes the freedom of expression guarantees in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the infringment is justified under Section 1 of the Charter.

The Court of Appeal further ruled that the defnition of "strike" does not infringe Section 2(c) or Section 2(d) of the Charter.

The Court of Appeal's decision upholds - in the result - previous decisions of the BC Labour Relations Board and the BC Supreme Court (2007 BCSC 372).

"Transfer of Jurisdiction Handbook on Employment Issues"

The First Nations School Association ("FNSA") has prepared a "Transfer of Jurisdiction Handbook on Employment Issues" (September 11, 2008). As stated in the introduction, the Handbook:

...is aimed mainly at Participating First Nations that will take jurisdiction over education pursuant to the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act (Canada), the First Nations Education Act (BC), and various jurisdiction agreements. The purpose is to identify steps that schools and Participating First Nations can take to prepare for the transfer of jurisdiction in connection with employment issues.

The Handbook has three parts:  read more »

Can a "professional" have his/her notice entitlement limited to that in the BC Employment Standards Act?

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

Mr. Wong, a chartered accountant, was hired by UBC in a newly created position of Controller, commencing on September 3, 2002.

The letter confirming his employment stated that the terms and conditions of his employment would be those found in two agreements that UBC had entered into with the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff. One of these agreements contained the following terms in relation to notice:

An employee terminated during the probationary period for reasons other than just cause shall receive notice or pay in lieu of notice in accordance with the provision of the Employment Standards Act.

UBC ended up not implementing Wong's position and thus his employment was terminated just under 7 months later. UBC took the position that, in accordance with the employment contract, it was required to provide him with only 1 week's pay. However, "out of courtesy", it had paid him 1 month's salary.  read more »