At Inlet Law, we often receive questions regarding the BC Supreme Court discovery process. Clients worry about what needs to be disclosed, what happens to their confidential records, and how the documents and information they share will be used.
The discovery process for a typical employment matter has three parts: document discovery, examination for discovery, and interrogatories.
Today, we will discuss document discovery.
Document discovery is one of the first procedural steps that takes place after parties file their claim (or response).
Within 35 days of filing and serving their claim, a party must prepare a list of all documents in their possession or control that could be used by any party of record to prove or disprove a material fact. The material facts to be proven in an employment matter usually involve the formation of the contract, the nature of the employment, the events surrounding the contract termination, and the client’s mitigation efforts.
To prove or disprove the above-noted facts, a list of documents often includes some or all of the following:
- Employment contracts;
- Amending agreements;
- Workplace ‘Policy & Procedure’ Manuals;
- Emails, texts, and other relevant communication logs;
- Disciplinary letters;
- Documentation regarding a leave of absence;
- Layoff Notices;
- Termination letters;
- Settlement offers and releases;
- Record of Employment;
- Tax returns; and
- Job applications, resumes, and communication with potential employers.
Though this is a long list, it is not exhaustive. What records you must produce depends entirely on the facts of your matter. This is why it is important to keep lawful records of all documents relating to the formation and termination of your employment.
Once the documents are listed, the next step is to provide the other party with your list and copies of the documents. Parties who receive documents through this process must keep the documents confidential, and cannot use them for any purpose outside of litigation, unless the owner of the document consents, or the court allows another use.
It’s important to note that document production is an ongoing obligation.
Frequently, parties will continuously exchange documents until the weeks leading up to trial.
Stay tuned for the next article in our Discovery & Your Employment Matter Series on examination for discovery.
Note: This article does not contain legal advice. If you would like advice on discovery or your legal matter, please contact Inlet Law at 604 39-INLET (604 394-6538) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.