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Vancouver Litigation & Appeals Law Blog

Workplace harassment should not be left to fester

For business owners in British Columbia, it is important to develop effective strategies to manage emerging workplace issues. Employment disputes can be damaging to any company, especially if problems are left unaddressed and allowed to escalate. Some potentially serious problems include issues relating to discrimination, harassment or bullying in the workplace. In these specific circumstances, some employees may remain silent for years out of fear of reprisal or retaliation.

One former employee of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently told a Judge in Provincial Court how she still suffers the consequences of a sexual assault that happened in her Vancouver workplace in 2009. The woman alleged that an inspector who has since retired, assaulted her sexually in a washroom that was locked. The accused man has pleaded guilty to the charge which was filed in May 2016 -- five months after he retired.

Business litigation: Protecting domain names

The internet has developed into a primary source of marketing for many businesses. Domain names are important marketing assets, and laws and regulations are in place to regulate related matters in British Columbia and across Canada. Sometimes disputes arise that require resolution through business litigation.

Domain names are addresses of websites. Like the physical address of a business, they guide visitors to a company's online entity. Domain names are protected in a similar way to the protection offered for trademarks. They must be registered and no other business may register the same domain name. Domain names in Canada typically end in .ca. Foreign companies with a business presence here can protect their Canadian market by registering a .ca domain in addition to the one registered in their country.

Common causes of business litigation

Any number of circumstances may give rise to disputes in a business context. When such disagreements occur, the parties may not be able to find resolution through simple negotiation. In such cases, a business may decide to pursue business litigation

In British Columbia, some of the common disputes that lead to business litigation involve financial investments. Clients who find reasons to be unhappy with their investment brokers may choose to leave it to the Court to resolve the issues. These cases could include unethical behavior by brokers and investment fraud. Other common causes for business disputes involve intellectual property violations such as copyright, trademark or patent infringements.

Employment disputes: Employee caught stealing confidential info

Accreditation Canada, a not-for-profit organisation that helps healthcare institutions across the country qualify for accreditation, had to resort to the courts for an injunction to stop two former employees from using stolen confidential information. Such employment disputes can have devastating consequences for any company.

Strict sexual harassment policy may prevent employment disputes

Successful businesses in British Columbia are typically those in which employee-management relations are built on trust and mutual respect. Employment disputes may arise when these two aspects are not present. Such clashes frequently follow accusations of sexual harassment, which could be detrimental to any business.

Sexual harassment allegations frequently involve supervisors or anybody who has some level of power over his or her victims. Business owners may be able to prevent such behaviour by taking a few simple steps. The most logical first step might be to establish a written sexual harassment policy that includes the procedures to report such harassment or to file a complaint. This policy could be posted in a prominent position in the workplace for all to see.

Employing ADR To Resolve Business Disputes

With the significant expenditure of time and costs associated with litigation, individuals are increasingly looking to alternative methods to settle conflicts. One broad category that has gained attention over the years in business circles is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR is a mechanism used to resolve conflicts amicably, without going to court. Two possible avenues of ADR are mediation and arbitration.

Business Dispute Resolution Through The Litigation Process

Thousands of business disputes arise each year in the province. Many are resolved out of court through direct negotiation or alternative methods. Others require stronger measures - one of which is litigation. Unlike portrayals in popular media, a lawsuit is not a quick, one-time dramatic appearance in court. It is a multi-step process that takes time - typically over a year from start to finish. Yet, resolving a lawsuit need not necessarily take parties through every stage.

Employment Termination - Three Methods For Providing Reasonable Notice

In Canada, employers have the right to terminate an employee's employment for any reason except based on age, gender, race, etc. Some dismissals occur due to serious causes such as theft, dishonesty or breach of trust, others for poor performance or for no cause at all. The latter, known as terminations without cause, are permissible so long as the employer provides the employee with reasonable notice.