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Privilege

Supervisor's defamatory appraisal of dismissed employee protected by qualified privilege

In Dawydiuk v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2010 BCCA 353, the BC Court of Appeal addressed whether the contents of an email written by a dismissed employee's supervisor were defamatory and , if so, whether they were  protected by the defence of qualified privilege.

Background 

Ms. Dawydiuk began her employment with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ("ICBC") in 1988 as a clerk. At the time of her dismissal in 2004, she was 38 years-old and in a managerial position.

Ms. Dawydiuk had been off work since June 2003, first on a sick leave and then on a maternity/parental leave.  She was scheduled to return to work on October 4, 2004.

On July 5, 2004, while still on leave, Ms.Dawydiuk was phoned by her supervisor and advised of a restructuring that had resulted in her position being eliminated. Her supervisor advised her of two other available managerial positions, however, and asked her to let him know which one she would like.  read more »

Presentation: "The Law on Workplace Investigations: An Update on Key Developments"

I presented a paper on The Law on Workplace Investigations: An Update on Key
Developments
today at the BC "Employment Law Conference 2010" Continuing Legal Education (CLE). The paper can be found at the bottom of this post. The topics I covered were:

  1. Does an Employer Have a Common Law Duty to Provide the Employee with a Fair Hearing/Conduct an Investigation?
  2. What Exposure to Liability/Damages Does an Employer Face for Failing to Properly Conduct an Investigation?
  3. Conducting the Investigation
  4. The Use of Lawyers as Expert Witnesses on Workplace Investigations
  5. Recovery of Costs Associated With Investigating Criminal Wrongdoing
  6. What Duties do Employees Have in Relation to Workplace Investigations?
  7. Privilege Concerns and Workplace Investigations

The last time I presented at the Employment Law CLE - in 2006 - my topic was Reference Letters.

Does an employer have to produce a third-party investigator's report in the course of litigation?

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Does an employer have to produce a third-party investigator's report in the course of litigation?

The BC Supreme Court addressed this issue recently in Bank of Montreal v. Tortora, 2009 BCSC 1224, where the defendant former employees brought an application seeking that the Bank of Montreal (the "Bank"):

  1. produce the documents in a third-party investigator's files; and
  2. provide a list of documents over which it claimed privilege that satisfied the requirements of Rule 26(2.1) (i.e., list the documents individually and describe them so that the validity of the privilege claim could be tested).

Background

The Bank dismissed two long-term employees on December 3, 2008 and filed a lawsuit against them on January 6, 2009, claiming that:  read more »

Presentation: "Reference Letters"

I presented a paper on "Reference Letters" at the Employment Law Conference, Continuing Legal Education seminar that was held in Vancouver on May 11 and 12, 2006.