December 1, 2014

The Calgary Herald picks up the story of the Syncrude manager fired for cause after a night of regrettable behaviour at a company function. The Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the termination last month:


HRM Online writes of a mysteriously unnamed case case from this summer from the BC Court of Appeal dealing with just cause dismissal based on after-acquired cause. After terminating an employee without cause, the employer discovered text messages on his company cell phone sent during working hours indicating he was looking to purchase drugs for resale. The employee was not happy with the severance offer and sued for wrongful dismissal. The employer defended on the basis that the text messages gave it just cause for dismissal. The court warns that if the employer knew about the conduct before termination and failed to reprimand the employee, it could not rely on those facts to support just cause for termination later on:


Here’s a recent decision following a voir dire in a prosecution under the Alberta Securities Act. The defendants alleged that their s. 7 Charter rights were violated and the prosecution was engaged in prosecutorial misconduct and an abuse of process:

[30] The Commission alleges it has evidence that the accused was selling securities of Locate that breached a number of trade related offences under the Securities Act, including numerous prohibited representations about Locate to potential investors. They also had evidence which I have heard in this voir dire, that the accused failed to obey a Summons issued and served on him to appear for an investigative interview by not appearing at the interview nor attempting to reschedule the interview as was offered to him.

[31] The Commission decided to proceed against him. They had three options: an Administrative Hearing before a Commission panel; seek a declaration of non-compliance in the Court of Queen’s Bench; lay an Information and have a Summons issued initiating a quasi-criminal proceeding in the Provincial Court. They chose to proceed by way of Information.

[32] The defence submits that to make that choice was prosecutorial misconduct. They say this because this process puts the accused in jeopardy of facing more serious sanctions including loss of liberty and higher fines. They say this because a more culpable offender, Drever, who was the operating mind of Locate, was prosecuted by way of the lesser procedure of an Administrative Hearing. Finally, they say this because, in their view, the decision to exercise their discretion to proceed by Information was based solely on the fact the accused did not appear at the interview in answer to the summons when he had valid reasons not to appear, particularly because he had not arranged for counsel or received legal advice. His second reason was because he was going to be in Florida the day of the interview which turned out not to be true. He was in town but ignored the Summons and did not appear nor did he attempt to reschedule.

The court found in favour of the ASC.


 

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner tabled its Annual Report today for 2013-2014 with the Alberta Legislature. The report contains some interesting information about reorganization within the OIPC and amendments to PIPA as a result of the UFCW SCC case. There are some fun statistics and infographics in there along with a summary of important court cases and investigations on pages 36 to 48.

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