Christin Elawny

Christin Elawny: Attorney with Field Law

Biography

Christin Elawny is a labour and employment lawyer helping both non-unionized and unionized employers in Alberta and Manitoba with complex claims, planning and other employment-related needs.

Christin's clients seek her help with issues such as hiring and termination planning, defending claims and grievances and developing preventative policies and procedures for employment agreements that protect employers and support workplace human rights. She has appeared before the Provincial Court of Alberta, the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba.

Clients appreciate Christin's practical focus on their business objectives and her ability to plan and mitigate risk from every perspective of the employer-employee relationship. Christin's clients regularly turn to her when they're facing difficult employment-related issues, such as:

•Collective bargaining and agreements administration
•Discipline and termination, wrongful dismissal claims and grievance arbitration
•Workplace human rights and Provincial and Federal Human Rights Commission complaints
•Employment and executive agreements and severance agreements
•Employment standards and hiring practices
•Discrimination, duty to accommodate employees and respectful workplace policies
•General management of employees, in union and non-union settings
•Planning and developing policies and procedures

Many of the issues employers face relate to human rights, and I work with clients on establishing policies and procedures around human resource issues such as validating sick leaves and long-term disability. In addition, the use of medical marijuana in the workplace and impending legalization of marijuana has created a lot of questions and issues for employers.

Christin helps employers plan for the future and believes that proper planning and development of policies and procedures will ensure compliance and mitigate vulnerabilities.

Outside of Work

Christin loves being a mom and enjoys fitness. She is an avid reader (some of her favourite books include Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and The Dark Tower series by Stephen King) and she is a literacy advocate who believes that developing the ability to read is one of the most important aspects of contributing to a positive society. She supports literacy in the community by working with CanLearn.

Presentations

Past Presentations

The following is a list of presentations, seminars or speaking engagements previously given by Christin:

Labour and Employment: 2016 Year in Review Field Law Clients and Guests February - April 2017
Family Status Accommodation Seminars Field Law Guests November/December 2016
Labour and Employment: 2015 Year in Review HR Professionals and Industry Professionals January - March 2016
Is your Workplace Toxic? Field Law Clients and Guests October 2015
Labour and Employment: 2014 Year in Review HR Professionals and Industry Professionals January - February 2015
2013 Year in Review Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA - Lethbridge Chapter) May 2014
2013 Year in Review Human Resource Institute of Alberta (HRIA - Red Deer Chapter) March 2014
Labour and Employment: 2013 Year in Review HR Professionals, Industry Professionals January 2014
2012 Year In Review Human Resource Professionals January 2013
2011 Year in Review Human Resource Professionals, Industry Professionals February 2012
2009 Year in Review HR Professionals January 2010
Hiring Practices & Downsizing Business at Breakfast Seminar March 2009
Alberta Human Rights Panel Decisions Re-Balancing Employers' Rights Seminar January 2009

Volunteer / Pro Bono

CanLearn Society Director 2014-Present

Published Works

Articles

Alberta's Minimum Wage is on the Rise Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) September 2016
Clarifying Irving: Can an Alberta Employer Implement a Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy in a Safety Sensitive Workplace? Labour and Employment Alert June 2016
Gender Identity and Gender Expression Are Now Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination Under The Alberta Human Rights Act Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) January 2016
Occupational Health & Safety Human Resources Institute of Alberta October 2015
Determining Reasonable Notice: Is Character of Employment a Less Important Factor? Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) September 2015
Wal-Mart Could Not Thaw the Statutory Freeze by Closing its Store Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) August 2014
The DSM-5: Noteworthy Changes from DSM-IV - An Employer's Perspective 32nd Annual Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference June 2014
Injunction Granted: Public Service Salary Restraint Act Guts the Bargaining Process Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) February 2014
Impact of Union Representation Clauses in Alberta Management Rights Journal May 2010
Wal-Mart Wins This Round Labour and Employment E-Bulletin November 2009
Multiple Births - An EI Claim for Each Parent? Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) October 2009
The Impact of Influenza A (H1N1) Virus In The Workplace Connections Fall 2009
Biometric Technology in the Workplace: Preventing Buddy Punching Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) Special Privacy Edition, Summer 2009
The Impact of Influenza A (H1N1) Virus In The Workplace Workwise (Labour and Employment Law) May 2009
The Biggest OHS Law Story of 2008, Bar None Perspective March 2009

Experience

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.

Areas of Practice (4)

  • Labour and Employment
  • Education
  • Litigation
  • Workplace Human Rights

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
403 260 8583  Phone
403 264 7084  Fax
www.fieldlaw.com
University Attended:
Laurentian University, Bachelor of Arts, 2003
Law School Attended:
University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Laws, 2006
Year of First admission:
2007
Admission:
2007, Manitoba; 2008, Alberta
Memberships:

Professional Associations

Calgary Bar Association Member 2008-Present
Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers Member 2015-Present
Canadian Bar Association Member 2003-Present
Law Society of Alberta Member 2008-Present
Law Society of Manitoba Member 2006-Present

Reported Cases:
Reported Cases: The reported cases below belong to Christin and are representative of Christin's experience. Alberta Teachers' Association v. Buffalo Trail Public Schools Regional Division No. 28 2013 ABQB 283 Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta 2013; Alberta Teachers' Association v. Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 1 2012 ABCA 45 Alberta Court of Appeal 2012; Cotton and Chard v. Ridley Canada Ltd. 2008 MBQB 37 Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba 2008; Bethany Care Society v. Alberta Union of Provincial Employees [2008] AGAA No.70 (Francis) Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award 2008
ISLN:
920841424

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Calgary, Alberta

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