We are pleased to offer our members in Atlantic Canada this session on workplace investigations with speakers Sonia Regenbogen and Tara Erskine, QC.
General counsel, and the human resources professionals within their organizations, are spending an increasing amount of time guiding the conduct of formal and informal investigations of workplace complaints. This is in part a response to the increasing requirements of human rights and occupational health and safety legislation as well as internal workplace policies. The complaints that require investigation may relate to complaints of workplace harassment and discrimination, issues related to just cause misconduct, violations of workplace policies, or other difficult issues.
In light of this area of increasing responsibility, in our experience, General Counsel are welcoming the opportunity to continue to improve their skills and experience in order to be better prepared for the rigors of guiding workplace investigations and managing the litigation that flows from the investigation of workplace complaints.
9:00am Welcome and Introduction
9:30-10:30am Roundtable discussion about key issues General Counsel need to be aware of in relation to workplace investigations. A discussion of topics such as solicitor-client privilege, determining who should conduct an investigation, issues related to apprehension of bias, proper communication and record keeping. A deep dive into how to manage critical issues and obstacles that arise in the course of a workplace investigation.
10:30am Coffee Break
11:00am-12:00pm Roundtable discussion about the key issues General Counsel encounter in managing the litigation of cases that relate to the conduct of a workplace investigation. Review of damage awards in sexual harassment cases arising out of the #metoo movement and other high profile litigation. Learn from the investigation mistakes that are highlighted in decisions from courts, arbitrators, and human rights tribunals. A discussion about the emerging issues and challenges and how to effectively respond to them.
12:00pm For those that wish to, the group will head out for a fun, social lunch at the nearby Bicycle Thief. Lunch will be provided by WGCC. Please let us know when you register if you will be joining us for lunch.
Q&A welcome throughout!
Sonia Regenbogen is a partner in the Toronto office of Mathews Dinsdale. Sonia is frequently retained to conduct independent workplace investigations into allegations of workplace harassment, discrimination and other employee complaints, and has been recognized by Who’s Who Legal as having a “top reputation” as a workplace investigator. She also has extensive experience advising on the conduct of investigations, including the implementation of an investigation, decision making, report writing and communication of findings.
A member of the Law Society of Ontario, Sonia sits on the board of the Canadian Employers Council. For over a decade Sonia has represented Canadian employers at the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, and presently is Employer Spokesperson on the ILO Application of Standards Committee which supervises international labour standards. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Queen’s University Faculty of Law where she taught Employment Law for more than a decade. She has also taught Employment Law at Osgoode Faculty of Law. She has completed the Mediator Training Course at Harvard Law School and uses this training to assist her clients resolve even the most difficult disputes.
A recognized expert in the labour, employment and human rights law, Sonia has been recognized each year since 2010 by Who’s Who Legal among the world’s leading management labour employment lawyer and by Best Lawyers in Canada since 2018.
Tara Erskine, QC is a partner in the Halifax office of Mathews Dinsdale, which recently celebrated its second anniversary. Working from the Halifax office, Tara provides strategic advice to employers across Canada and works as a partner with human resource professionals and in-house counsel. She counsels her clients on all conceivable day-to-day employment matters, ranging from conducting sexual harassment investigations to developing plans of action for employees seeking accommodation of disability, religion, and family status. She defends employers in court facing wrongful dismissal claims and in grievance arbitration. Tara assists in the defence of human rights complaints and acts for employers in matters before labour relations boards.
A member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, the Law Society of Ontario and the Law Society of Alberta, Tara is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) (formerly CHRP). She has completed negotiation training at Harvard Law School and the Canadian Mediation Institute. In 2003, she spearheaded the founding of the Canadian Association of Counsel of Employers (CACE) and was its first director. Tara served as a Commissioner (Part-time) of the Canadian Human Rights Commission from 2014 to 2017.
Tara was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2016. She has been recognized as a leader in Labour and Employment Law in Canada in Who’s Who Legal – Canada since 2017 and by Best Lawyers in Canada in the field of Labour and Employment Law.