June 02, 2011

Employers can now find themselves liable to pay significant monetary damages for mental distress or injury to an employee’s dignity. In what circumstances will damages for mental distress or injury to dignity be awarded? How much can employees expect to receive? How can employers minimize liability? Our expert panel will address these and the following issues:

  • Mental distress – Employment contracts and collective agreements:What limits have courts placed on claims for mental distress damages made under an employment contract? What limits exist if such a claim is made under a collective agreement? How broad is the remedial authority of an arbitrator in claims for mental distress? When will damages be awarded for mental distress? To what extent are employers being held liable for the actions of their managerial staff?
  • Discrimination and injury to feelings and dignity – Human rights legislation: What kind of discriminatory conduct attracts damage awards for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect; loss of self-esteem; mental anguish; or pain and suffering? When will accommodation policies themselves be regarded as discriminatory? When do arbitrators have the authority to award human rights damages/remedies? When will courts award human rights damages/remedies?
  • Quantum of damages – Current trends: How much can employees expect to receive as damages for mental distress? What can they expect to receive for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect resulting from discrimination? When are punitive damages available? When are legal expenses recoverable? Are the tests and the results different under an employment contract than they would be under a collective agreement?
  • Ensuring compliance, minimizing liability: What measures should employers institute in order to ensure compliance with legal requirements under collective agreements, employment contracts and human rights legislation? What responses should they make to human rights claims and complaints to reduce liability? What approaches should unions adopt to protect and support employees and to minimize union liability for unfair representation?

This audio conference has been approved by the following:

  • The Law Society of British Columbia for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • The Law Society of New Brunswick for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • The Law Society of Saskatchewan for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • This 1.5 hour program can be applied towards 9 of the 12 hours of annual Continuing Professional Development required by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Please note that these CPD hours are not accredited for the New Member Requirement.