COMM 393 PRACTICE QUESTION
Mike, owner of Amazing Mike’s Marketing Services Company, has come to see you. He has been sued in the Small Claims Court of British Columbia by an employee he terminated when he decided to “modernize” his company by eliminating any employees who were not under age 25, blond, and Christian. He thought doing this would improve his own business image. Grace, the terminated employee, has brought a claim, asking for wages and damages in the amount of $75,000, bringing her claim under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Review with Mike any legal issues he may use to defend the claim brought by Grace.
ISSUE 1: (what is the LEGAL issue the judge will have to decide?)
LAW: (use your textbook, cases we have studied in class, statutes, and class notes as sources of law)
APPLICATION: (apply the law to the facts. Make arguments for the plaintiff AND defendant)
CONCLUSION: (this is the answer to the Issue)
Review with Mike any legal issues he may use to defend the claim brought by Grace. 1.Can Grace bring her action against Mike in Small Claims Court? The law is that an action can only be commence in Small Claims Court in B.C. where there is a civil action and the remedy sought is damages of less than or equal to $25,000. Although Grace has commenced her action in Small Claims for $75,000, Mike would argue that since Grace is suing for $75,000 she must commence the action against him in the Supreme Court of B.C. and not in Small Claims Court.
Grace will not be able to bring this case in Small Claims Court. 2.Can Grace base her claim on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Section 15 of the Charter states that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Grace will argue that she is being discriminated against under this section. However, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies only to Government and Government action or decision making. It prevents the government from creating laws or taking action that would be contrary to the rights guaranteed in the Charter. The Charter does not apply in interpersonal relationships. In this case because the action by Grace involves an interpersonal relationship between an employer and an employee, the Charter would not apply.
She would have to base her arguments on the appropriate section(s) of the Human Rights Code. It seems that Mike’s defences under these two grounds would be successful. He may be able to stall the action brought by Grace but perhaps not eliminate it. She will have to begin her action in B.C. Supreme Court for breach of the Human Rights Code (not the Charter of Rights and Freedoms)
Courtney from Study Moose
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