He regularly appears before the Alberta Labour Relations Board and has extensive experience handling certification applications, unfair labour practice complaints, successor employer applications, common employer applications, and picketing injunctions.
Damon assists non-union employers with drafting employment contracts, implementing employee terminations and defending wrongful dismissal claims. He also defends Employment Standards Code complaints, human rights complaints and conducts Workers Compensation Board appeals.
Damon has appeared before all levels of the Alberta Court, as well as the Alberta Labour Relations Board, grievance arbitration boards, human rights tribunals, Boards of Reference appointed under the School Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Appeals Commission and the Workers Compensation Board Appeals Commission.
Damon represents a large cross-section of employers including retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, food processors, airlines, oil & gas companies, health care providers, utilities, educational institutions, construction companies, banks and mortgage brokers.
Based in Calgary, Damon appears on cases throughout Alberta.
Awards and Recognition:
•Queen's Counsel, 2016
•Labour and Employment Law and Workers' Compensation Law, Best Lawyers in Canada, 2017
•Calgary Labour and Employment Law Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in Canada 2016
•Employment, Labour (Management) and Workplace Human Rights, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
•Labour & Employment, Legal 500 Lawyer Canada
•BV Distinguished Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
•Union Certification Applications
Damon regularly assists employers dealing with union certification applications. He helps them develop effective communication strategies and has successfully defended a number of “no” votes against accusations of unlawful employer interference. On one particular occasion, he was able to secure the dismissal of a certification application on the basis of improper union organizing. The Labour Relations Board held that the union’s misconduct was an “other relevant matter” that warranted the dismissal of its application without counting the ballots.
•Contracting Out to Non-Union Company
Damon successfully defended a unionized Distributor’s decision to contract out the trucking from its Edmonton warehouse to non-union drivers. The arbitrator ruled that the language of the collective agreement did not prohibit the Distributor from using non-union drivers and dismissed the union’s grievance.
•Health and Safety
Damon successfully argued that a long-term care provider was entitled to adopt an influenza vaccination policy that prohibited unvaccinated employees from working during periods of outbreak. The arbitration board balanced the employer’s objective of ensuring its residents’ health and safety against the employees’ privacy rights and ultimately held that the policy was reasonable.
•Discipline and Discharge
Damon has an active arbitration practice and has over 50 reported discipline and discharge cases involving allegations of employee theft, falsification of company records, health and safety violations, workplace violence, illegal drug use, poor attendance, horseplay, insubordination, WCB fraud, willful destruction of property and poor performance.
Damon has argued numerous judicial review applications before the Alberta Courts. He was recently retained by a major health care employer to challenge an arbitration award that reinstated an employee because her union representation rights had been violated. The Alberta Court of Appeal reversed the decision and ruled that the employee’s discharge was valid.
•Common Employer/Successor Employer Applications
Damon has successfully defended a number of common employer/successor employer applications before the Alberta Labour Relations Board. In one of these cases, an open shop contractor was alleged to be operating under common direction and control with a unionized contractor. Although the two companies had common share ownership, the Board dismissed the union’s application on the basis that there was no common control of day-to-day management activities.
Damon has handled a number of matters involving complex technological changes in the workplace. In one of these cases, he successfully defended a warehouse operator’s decision to implement a computer assisted productivity standard. In another, he convinced an arbitration board that a biometric hand scanner did not violate the employees’ privacy rights.
•Collective Agreement Interpretation
Damon helps employers interpret their collective agreements, and when necessary, arbitrates to protect their rights. He recently prosecuted a successful employer grievance to resolve a longstanding interpretation issue for a construction client. This grievance concerned the client’s ability to transfer workers from one jobsite to another without having to them count them against its name-hire ratio. The arbitration board upheld the grievance on the basis that the collective agreement made no mention of transfer restrictions. The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench subsequently confirmed this decision.
• 2017 Labour & Employment Year in Review, McLennan Ross Seminar
• New Employment Standards Regulations for School Boards, McLennan Ross Webinar
• 2016 Labour & Employment Year in Review, McLennan Ross Seminar
• Mock Human Rights Tribunal Hearing, McLennan Ross Duty to Accommodate Seminar and Mock Human Rights Tribunal Hearing
• 2015 Labour & Employment Year in Review, McLennan Ross Seminar
• 2014 Labour & Employment Year in Review, McLennan Ross Seminar
• Three Strikes and You’re Out: When is Progressive Discipline Required, when is Zero Tolerance Permitted? Lancaster House 32nd Annual Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference
• Labour Arbitration Update, 20th Annual Labour Law Review, Centre for Labour-Management Development
• Accommodating Family Status, Attendance Management Programs, Competing Medical Opinions and Top Accommodation Goofs to Avoid, 2014 Accommodation Law Conference, Centre for Labour-Management Development
• 2013 Labour & Employment Year-in-Review, McLennan Ross Seminar
•“Practical Issues in Arbitration: Resisting Union Medical Defences, The Use of Hearsay Evidence in Discipline Cases “, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, 10th Annual Conference
•“Mobbing and Bullying at Work: Dealing with High Conflict Personalities?”, Lancaster House 31st Annual Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference
•“Labour Arbitration Update”, 19th Annual Labour Law Review, Centre for Labour-Management Development
•“The Employee’s Duty to Accommodate, When the Duty to Accommodate Affects Work Scheduling, Accommodation Saturation, Returning to Work after a Lengthy Absence: Practical Guidelines”, 2013 Accommodation Law Conference, Centre for Labour-Management Development
• 2012 Labour & Employment Year in Review, McLennan Ross Seminar
• Major Caselaw and Legislative Update: Analyzing Significant Developments in Labour Law, Lancaster House 30th Annual Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference
• Labour Arbitration Update, 18th Annual Labour Law Review, Centre for Labour-Management Development
• Impact of Delays in Accommodation, Does Your Collective Agreement Violate the Duty to Accommodate, the Procedural Component of the Duty to Accommodate, Accommodating Intermittent Disabilities, 2012 Accommodation Law Conference, Centre for Labour-Management Development
• 2011 Labour & Employment Year in Review, McLennan Ross Semina
Professional Associations, Affiliations & Community Activities:
•Member, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers
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