It is trite, yet imperative: a judicial decision can only be rendered based on the facts proven. In two cases raising important human factors, Jacques Bélanger has won the case for his clients by demonstrating that the facts did not support the claims of opposite parties.

Discrimination based on ethnic origin

In the first case, argued before Quebec’s Tribunal des droits de la personne, Jacques was representing a major retailing chain facing a claim for $75,000 in moral and punitive damages. The claim arose from a confrontation that occurred in one of the chain’s stores: two women clients alleged that store employees had been the victims of racist slurs based on their ethnic origin. They also claimed that they had been assaulted as they were expelled from the store.

Mindful of its image and reputation, the retailer immediately launched a serious investigation that involved, among other measures, the examination of surveillance videos.

Drawing from the elements revealed by this investigation, Jacques stressed contradictions and overstatements in the clients’ testimonies. He also pointed out inconsistencies between their versions of the facts and the surveillance videos.

The claim was dismissed altogether.

Khammar c. Sears Canada inc., 2014 QCTDP 12, <canlii.ca/t/g822b>

Employment injury or  sexual harassment?

Jacques successfully represented an employer before the Commission des lésions professionnelles. The worker alleged having sustained psychological damage qualifying as an employment injury. The cause was gestures by a superior that could amount to sexual harassment. First, Jacques successfully rebuked the evidence of several instances of misbehaviour alleged by the worker.

Then, he argued that the employment injury was not caused by an industrial accident, defined as “a sudden and un- foreseen event”. The Commission held that the superior’s behaviour, although improper, was “benign and not compel- ling. It cannot be considered as a sudden and unforeseen event” [our translation]

D.C. et Compagnie A, 2014 QCCLP 3330,<canlii.ca/t/g7d7j>