Allan Black QC has been appointed to the Vancouver Police Board.
Kas Pavanantharajah has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, a human rights organization that provides support services to women, girls and children at the risk of involvement, involved in or affected by the criminal justice system.
In this case, Black Gropper represented MoveUP in successful policy grievances against FortisBC Energy Inc. and FortisBC Customer Service Centre (the “Employers”). The grievances challenged the Employers’ interpretation of “active duty” in the collective agreements to disqualify members on modified hours of work from accruing sick leave until they returned to their pre-disability hours or are permanently accommodated into a position with reduced hours.
Black Gropper successfully argued the Employers’ practice was discriminatory under section 13(1)(b) of the Human Rights Code (the “Code”). Arbitrator Bell found that sick leave in the collective agreement was a status-based benefit, and the Employers’ interpretation was prima facie discriminatory as it disregards the purpose of the sick leave benefit. Arbitrator Bell declared that the Employers’ interpretation of “active duty” as requiring return to pre-disability hours contravened the Code. In reaching these conclusions, Arbitrator Bell found the reasoning in two Ontario decisions on similar issues particularly persuasive Rouge Valley Health System and ONA (Ng), Re, (2014) 119 C.L.A.S. 87 (Trachuk) and Health Sciences North and CUPE, Local 1623 (A), Re, (2017) 130 C.L.A.S. 291 (Trachuk). This marks the first time the findings in these cases have been adopted in this Province.
Black Gropper represented the BCTF and the local Teachers' Association in this case where we secured the Grievor’s reinstatement by successfully invoking the doctrine of double jeopardy to bar the Grievor’s termination. The School District terminated the Grievor in 2019 for “dishonesty”, asserting that he was dishonest during the investigation that led to his suspension in 2016. While “dishonesty” was not explicitly indicated in the previous Letter of Reprimand as a reason for his suspension, we successfully argued that, in arriving at its decision to suspend the Grievor, the School District necessarily considered and addressed issues concerning the Grievor’s honesty. The Arbitrator determined that it would be contrary to policy considerations favouring the finality of settlement to terminate the Grievor in 2019 for substantially the same conduct for which it suspended him in 2016. In a subsequent award, we also obtained backpay for the Grievor for the period in which he was unjustly dismissed.