Field Law - Edmonton Calgary Yellowknife

Christin Elawny
Lawyer

Bar Admissions
2008 - Alberta Bar
2007 - Manitoba Bar

Practice Areas
Labour and Employment
Education
Litigation
Workplace Human Rights

  • How best to communicate termination policy changes

    Our client: In 2015, the Canadian operations branch of a multi-national firm in the energy industry had to process several terminations in Alberta following an economic downturn.

    Where we began: The company was concerned about payments to employees under its existing termination policy and about managing payouts in the future. Complicating matters was that employees were aware of the existing termination policy and many considered the payment under that policy to be a retirement benefit. Employee morale was already low because of the terminations to date, and the client did not want to be perceived as unfair or to draw attention to its changes in the termination policy. Since the company planned more terminations in the near future, it wanted to implement the new policy in a timely way in order to limit future payouts.

    Our approach: Christin proposed several key policy revision options that addressed the client's business objectives. These included providing a certain number of weeks per year of notice/pay in lieu of notice up to a maximum number of weeks, staggering the effective date of the new policy based on seniority and communicating any change to the policy individually to each employee to ensure its enforceability.

    The result: The termination policy amendment allowed the client to revise the wording of its existing policy which would have presented vulnerabilities with enforceability if there were litigation. While a large number of employees were subsequently terminated without cause, very few employees challenged the policy.

  • A creative, out-of-court resolution to a difficult termination claim

    Our client: In 2016, an oilfield products company needed to negotiate a number of settlements with former employees who were terminated without cause.

    Where we began: One of the terminated employees was contesting the client's offer, demanding a larger payout. Christin needed to find a creative solution as her client was unwilling to waiver from the amount of its last offer. Despite that fact, the client wanted to make the offer more enticing as there were risks it could cost them even more if the matter went to trial.

    Our approach: Christin proposed that the client re-table their last offer and send the cheque for the settlement funds to the opposing counsel on trust conditions. Christin reasoned that cash in hand would entice the difficult former employee.

    The result: The offer was quickly accepted and the matter was closed, achieving a great result for Christin's client.