BUAD 374 Employment Law – Fall 2020
This assignment will be marked out of 10. It is due to be submitted to Turnitin
on Friday, October 2, 2020.
Mia was born and raised in Germany. As a young adult, she began to experience
emotional problems, marked by bouts of anxiety, episodes of spontaneous crying,
and withdrawal. At times her depressive episodes led to thoughts about suicide,
but she never acted on them. She sought help from her family doctor, and received
counselling, which enabled her to continue working without significant absences.
Mia emigrated to Canada five years ago. She married and settled in Kelowna. She
then applied for a job as a hostess at the Withered Vine Shoppe, a wine and tapas
dispensary downtown. The job paid minimum wage, and there was no group
benefits plan associated with the offer. The Shoppe also had no policy regarding
When Mia applied for the hostess position she did not inform the owner who
interviewed her, Herb Hartless, about her history of emotional problems. She felt
that they were entirely personal, but she was also concerned that the social stigma
associated with mental health matters might undermine her chances of getting the
Herb was impressed with Mia, and she was the successful applicant. Her duties at
the Shoppe consisted of helping to open the bar, preparing the tapas, serving
customers and entering sales information in the Shoppe’s computer system.
Mia worked 42 hours per week, but she was only paid for 40 hours. She banked
the other two hours, which she utilized to leave early on Friday afternoons in order
to attend therapy sessions. She told Herb that she was receiving counselling for
marital problems. While this was true, Mia did not inform Herb that it was a
psychiatrist she was seeing, not a counsellor, and that she was receiving powerful
medication for acute depression.
After a year of employment at the Shoppe, Mia’s emotional issues began to surface
at the worksite. Her attitude changed. She became curt and impatient with
customers. Herb noticed, too, that her personal appearance seemed to be
deteriorating, and that she was becoming “distant”. Most concerning, however,
was the fact that Mia commenced, on occasion, to burst suddenly into tears in front
of customers, which required her to step outside to collect herself.
She told Herb that she was having marital problems and that she was under stress.
Herb explained to her that customer service at the Shoppe was very important, that
he was concerned about her attitude, and that she had to keep her personal
problems away from the workplace. Mia told him that she would try to do better.
A few weeks later, Herb attended at the Shoppe before opening time and found
Mia in a sleeping bag on the floor. She told him that she and her husband had
parted, and that she had nowhere else to go. Mia again burst into tears. Herb
consoled her, but he also said that she could not sleep at the Shoppe. Mia said she
could stay with a friend until her “personal issues” were resolved.
A few weeks passed. Mia attended at work, but her demeanour was flat. By now,
Herb was coming to believe that several of his other employees would be better
able to deal with the Shoppe’s customers. At least one regular customer had told
Herb that she did not want to be served by Mia, as her manner was “off-putting”.
Then, late one night, Herb received a call from Mia. She told him that she was
“totally stressed out”, she could not sleep or eat, and that she would need “a couple
of weeks off” to “get her head together”. Herb was annoyed, but he agreed to
Mia’s request. He told her, however, that she needed to return to work after the
two weeks’ “rest period” had come to an end.
Two weeks passed. Herb then phoned Mia and reminded her she needed to report
to work the following day. Mia apologized, but said she was “not yet ready”. She
asked for a further two weeks’ leave. In fact, Mia was undergoing daily therapy
with her psychiatrist, but she did not disclose this to Herb.
Herb was upset. He told Mia she need not come to work the following morning,
but that he would call her later in the day.
Assume you are a human resources consultant Herb has retained in the past to
advise regarding hiring and firing issues. After his discussion with Mia, Herb calls
you. He tells you he has had enough of Mia’s “attitude” and that he wants to “let
her go”. He asks you for a memorandum setting out your advice, and a plan for
“dealing with Mia”.
Prepare an opinion memorandum for Herb. It should be 5-6 pages long, inclusive
of any cover page, using 12 point type, and 1.5 line spacing. You should refer to
any binding statutory provisions that are applicable to this case. Your memo
should also include references to, and a discussion of, at least three binding or
persuasive decisions of courts or tribunals that would be relevant when considering
the issues raised in this case. Preference should be given to decisions of the
Supreme Court of Canada, or the courts and tribunals in the province of British
Columbia, if possible.
The memorandum should be in the form that you would deliver to a client if you
were sitting in your shoes in this real world example. It should be a professional
piece of work. You will know, for example, that if there is litigation resulting from
Herb’s decision relating to Mia, your letter may be disclosed to her, and to the
decision-maker adjudicating the matter, during the course of those proceedings.
You will need to identify the specific legal issues that Herb needs to address in his
decision regarding Mia, as well as the legal tests that courts and tribunals will
apply in British Columbia in order to resolve them.
You will also need to set out a plan of action for Herb in order for him to meet his
legal obligations in this case. That plan of action must discuss in detail the legal
issues, and the legal tests that are applicable to the situation presented. You will
also need to communicate precise recommendations to Herb, and give convincing
reasons for them, having regard to the relevant legal principles.
Please submit your assignment to Turnitin by midnight on October 2, 2020.
Instructions for uploading your assignment (as a Word document only, not a
PDF) have been posted in the Moodle shell for this course.
Please note that I will deduct one full mark from the final grade for this
assignment for every day the assignment is submitted late.
Please note further that all students must prepare and submit this assignment
in order to pass the course.