Sidewalk Trip Defects

Posted by Johannes Schenk on February 20th, 2006 — Posted in Municipal Law

Trips and fall cases on City property usually fall within the policy defence line of cases. Bracken v. City of Vancouver et al, 2006 BCSC 136 is one such case. Bracken is a straightforward case but it is interesting for revealing the Vancouver City sidewalk repair policy. The policy distinguishes between trip 1 and 2 defects (less than one inch deviation) which do not require immediate repair and trip 3 defects (greater than one inch deviation) requiring immediate repair.

A fall caused by an unrepaired 1 inch deviation has a much greater chance of attracting liability than a 1/2 inch deviation that resulted in a fall.

Reference Letters

Posted by Johannes Schenk on February 17th, 2006 — Posted in Employment Law

As an employer do you have to give a reference letter when you terminate an employee without cause?

It’s an area you want to be careful with. Reference too good, you run the risk of problems with the next employer. Reference refused or luke warm, you run the risk of a damages claim with the employee.

One thing for sure, neither side should use a reference letter as a bargaining chip in settlement negotiations. Judges don’t like it and employers run the risk of having to deal with bad faith claims.

See Ashby v. EPI Environmental Products Inc., 2005 BCSC 1190, for a useful summary of the BC position on reference letters.

Harrassment Damages : $950,000.00

Posted by Johannes Schenk on February 1st, 2006 — Posted in Employment Law, Human Rights Law, Labour Law

In Sulz v. Attorney General et al, 2006 BCSC 99, a female RCMP officer was awarded damages in the amount of $950,000.00 for harrassment she suffered at the hands of her supervisors. The damages are largely for psychological injury, past and future wage loss.

The case discusses jurisdictional issues and parallel actions under the Federal Human Rights Act and under the legislation governing the RCMP.

A word of caution: be nice to your employees.