News

Roper Greyell Lawyers Named to Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2016

November 2016

We are pleased to announce that seven Roper Greyell lawyers have been ranked in the 2016 edition of Who’s Who Legal: Canada.

Meet our lawyers who have been recognized for their expertise:

Thomas A Roper Q.C.
Gregory J Heywood
Delayne Sartison Q.C.
Michael Wagner
Sandra Guarascio
Gavin Marshall
James D Kondopulos

About Who’s Who Legal

Since 1996, Who’s Who Legal has identified the foremost legal practitioners in business law based upon comprehensive, independent research. It is impossible to buy entry into this publication.

Roper Greyell Featured on BCBusiness.ca

October 2016

James D. Kondopulos highlights five critical mistakes to avoid in the lead-up to labour arbitration. For more details, please read our article on BCBusiness.ca or click here to register for our 2016 Labour Arbitration Update.

Roper Greyell Ranked in the 2017 Edition of Chambers Canada

September 2016

We are pleased to announce that Roper Greyell has been ranked as a leading employment and labour law firm in the 2017 edition of Chambers Canada. Thomas A. Roper Q.C., Delayne Sartison Q.C. and Gregory J. Heywood were also ranked individually.

Meet the Roper Greyell lawyers who have been recognized for their expertise:

Thomas A. Roper Q.C.’s “reputation in Vancouver and beyond is of the highest standing.” One source commented: “He is very efficient and very sound in his approach – a leading lawyer.”

Delayne Sartison Q.C. was first ranked by Chambers Global in 2012 and in this year’s guide moved to a Band 2 ranking in British Columbia. Chambers Canada refers to Delayne as a lawyer who “inspires confidence in peers and clients alike” and clients “pinpoint her as ‘a clear leader’ in British Columbia.”

Gregory J. Heywood “earns praise for his skills in litigation and arbitration, and for his flexible approach.” One source described him as “top-notch” and commented: “He understands the industrial relations climate in BC.”

All quotes are from Chambers Canada 2017.

Click here to view the 2017 Chambers Canada Guide.

About Chambers Canada

Chambers Canada is a well-respected legal publication that ranks the world’s best lawyers and law firms. Rankings are based on in-depth research and interviews conducted by over 150 highly qualified researchers.

 

Roper Greyell Welcomes New Associate, Tamara Navaratnam

September 2016

Roper Greyell is pleased to welcome new associate Tamara Navaratnam to the firm.

Tamara graduated from the Juris Doctor program at the University of Victoria in May 2015. During her time in law school, Tamara volunteered with Pro Bono Students Canada as a Tenancy Advocate. She spent her final semester abroad studying at the National University of Singapore.

Prior to joining Roper Greyell, Tamara articled at a large regional firm in Vancouver.

Pro Bono Going Public 2016

September 2016

In September, over 100 lawyers will provide free legal advice in New Westminster, Vancouver, Kelowna and Victoria to raise awareness and funds for BC’s pro bono programs.

On September 9th, our own Gregory J. Heywood, Julie Menten and Christopher Munroe participated in Access Pro Bono Going Public 2016 at Victory Square Park in Vancouver.

We are proud to have raised over $9,000 to support Access Pro Bono programs across the province.

To read more about Access Pro Bono Going Public 2016 click here.

 

 

Roper Greyell Featured on BCBusiness.ca

September 2016

Jennifer Russell shares five important tips business owners need to keep in mind before moving forward with any workplace investigation. For more details, please read our article on BCBusiness.ca.

Best Lawyers Recognizes Roper Greyell Lawyers

August 2016

We are pleased to announce that six of the firm’s lawyers have been listed in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada.  Lawyers were selected based on feedback from peers within their region and legal practice areas.

Join us in congratulating the following lawyers:

Click here to view the Best Lawyers website.

About Best Lawyers

Since 1983, Best Lawyers has become a definitive guide to legal excellence. The peer-review publication is based on a confidential survey in which thousands of leading lawyers rank the legal abilities of other lawyers in specific practice areas.

James D. Kondopulos Publishes Article in The Advocate

July 2016

James D. Kondopulos co-authored the article “The Butterfly Effect: Small Perturbation Can Have Big Impact on Employment Relationship” found in the July 2016 issue of The Advocate.

Read James’ complete article here.

BC Government Expands Employment Standards Exemption for Accountants

July 2016

Effective July 19, 2016, the BC Government has expanded the exemption for accountants from the Employment Standards Act to cover all professional accountants now practicing as Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) or enrolled as CPA students. Previously, only the minority of accountants holding the predecessor designation of Chartered Accountant (CA) were exempt while the larger group of accountants holding the predecessor CMA and CGA designations enjoyed full protection under the ESA.  This change means that, in B.C., both accountants working in accounting firms and the larger number of accountants working in industry are not entitled to any of the basic employment rights protected by the Employment Standards Act. These range from the minimum wage to vacation, statutory holiday, overtime and termination pay, as well as statutory leaves such as maternity leave.  Employers who currently provide ESA-based terms of employment to their accountants will no doubt continue to do so, but have greater flexibility in setting employer policies. Because changing some employment policies may have legal implications, employers should get legal advice before making any changes to take advantage of this expanded flexibility.  Employers should be aware that other provinces such as Ontario offer much more limited exemptions from hours of work and overtime employment standards only.

Supreme Court Confirms Canada Labour Code Unjust Dismissal Procedure Available to Federally-Regulated Employees, Even When Severance Is Paid

July 2016
Legal update by: Christopher Munroe

The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., 2016 SCC 29,  that for federal sector employers, employees may claim “unjust dismissal” under the Canada Labour Code (CLC) and obtain remedies including reinstatement with back pay even where the employer is not asserting just cause for “firing” the employee and has offered or paid contractual severance.

A limited number of businesses in Canada are covered by the federal CLC rather than provincial employment laws. Most are either federal Crown corporations or involved in aboriginal government, banking, telecommunications, television, aviation or inter-provincial or international communications or transportation.  Since 1978 the CLC has included a right for dismissed non-union federally-regulated employees with at least 12 months of service to make a complaint of “unjust dismissal” within 90 days of the dismissal.  If a complaint is successful, an adjudicator has broad discretion to order a variety of remedies, including monetary damages and reinstatement.  A dismissal will not be found “unjust” where the employee was terminated for just cause and the remedy is not available in certain situations, such as where the termination is due to the discontinuance of a job or layoff for lack of work or where the employee has another remedy available (e.g. a discrimination complaint).  In the original court decision in Wilson, the Federal Court had ruled that the unjust dismissal remedy should not be available where the employer terminated without cause and offered contractual severance.

The court confirmed that the intent of Parliament in enacting the unjust dismissal provisions of the CLC was to provide non-union federally-regulated employees with protection against dismissal without cause similar to that enjoyed by unionized employees. Accordingly, the offer or payment of severance, however generous and whether or not it satisfies common law contractual notice or severance entitlements, does not make a dismissal “just” and deprive a dismissed employee from seeking a remedy under the CLC.

While this case has attracted a lot of attention, the decision actually confirms a long line of adjudicator and federal court decisions prior to Wilson, and therefore the result is not surprising.  It is important for employers to remember that a dismissed employee only has 90 days to make an unjust dismissal complaint.  Also, an employer can (and should) insist on a release of all claims, including unjust dismissal, as part of a negotiated severance package.  Further, a dismissal due to the discontinuance of a position or layoff cannot be challenged as “unjust” under the CLC.

The purpose of this update is to provide information as to developments in the law. It does not contain a full analysis of the law nor does it constitute an opinion of Roper Greyell LLP or any member of the firm on the points of law discussed. Interested parties are urged to seek specific advice on matters of concern and not to rely solely on the text of this bulletin.

 

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