Carman J. Overholt, K.C.
Carman is a senior litigation lawyer with extensive experience in all aspects of employment law, labour relations and commercial litigation. He works closely with senior management and human resources professionals to help employers stay in compliance with the legislation that governs the workplace. Carman provides clients with advice, strategies and policies that reduce the risk of employment disputes and claims.
In the course of his career, Carman has appeared as counsel in a wide range of matters before the Supreme Court of BC, the Court of Appeal of BC, the BC Human Rights Tribunal, the Employment Standards Tribunal, the BC Labour Relations Board, the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal. Carman has also represented employers in labour arbitration proceedings and in collective bargaining. He has successfully defended employees accused of breaching their contractual and fiduciary duties. Carman’s litigation experience includes the successful defence of a class action brought by 400 employees against the employer. Those proceedings ended successfully with the dismissal of the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Given his extensive experience, Carman is able to efficiently advise employees on contractual matters including severance and continuing post-employment obligations. His practice includes drafting and negotiating terms of employment and independent contracts.
Carman is a frequent lecturer and routinely presents on the most recent developments in the law including the duty to accommodate, social media issues, privacy obligations and the protection of an employer’s business interests. He is a Co-Author of the Employment Litigation Manual published by Butterworths/LexisNexis since 2007. His lecturing includes annual courses for the Sauder School of Business and CPHR (formerly BCHRMA).
Carman is a Past President of the Advocates Club and the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch). He served on the Board of the West Vancouver Otters Swim Club for approximately 10 years including 4 years as President and Certified Professionals in Human Resources.
Carman is a current member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
His leadership, legal work and community service were recognized by his appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2002. Carman subsequently received the Harry Rankin, QC Pro-Bono Award and the Queen’s University Kathleen Beaumont-Hill Award for outstanding service to the community.
British Columbia, 1986
- 1984 – LL.B. Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
- 1983 – Gale Cup Mooting Team, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
- 1981 – Honours BA – History, Western University, London, Ontario
- 1979 and 1980 – French Immersion Program, Western University, Trois Pistoles, Quebec
Honours and Awards
- 2013 Kathleen Beaumont Hill Award, presented by the Vancouver Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association
- Recommended by the Best Lawyers in Canada as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of Labour and Employment Law
- Recognized by “PLC Which Lawyer?” as a leading lawyer in the area of Labour and Employment Law
- Martindale-Hubbell® BV® Peer Review Rated
- Recognized by The Canadian Legal LEXPERT® Directory as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of Employment Law – Management
- Listed in the 2007 LEXPERT® Guide to the U.S./Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada under Corporate Commercial, Class Actions and Securities
- 2007 Harry Rankin, QC. Pro Bono Award, presented by the Canadian Bar Association for outstanding Pro Bono contributions
- Recognized as a leading lawyer in the LEXPERT® US Guide to Top Cross-Border Litigators (2007)
- Appointed Queen’s Counsel by Order-in-Council of the Province of British Columbia, 2002
- Ranked by Thomson Carswell as a Top Employment Law Practitioner in Canada
- 1984 Queen’s University Tricolour Award for outstanding contribution to the university community
- Law Society of British Columbia
- Canadian Bar Association
- Certified Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR)
- American Bar Association (Labour and Employment Law Section)
- Defended simultaneous proceedings brought by dismissed employees before the BC Human Rights Tribunal and the Supreme Court of BC.
- Counsel for Echo Bay Mines Ltd. in the Supreme Court of BC, the BC Court of Appeal and in successfully defending the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
- Successfully represented the Canadian National Railway Company in an application to the Court for an Order dismissing the claim by the Executrix of the Estate of a deceased employee of CN on the basis that the Court had no jurisdiction. Both the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Court of Appeal of British Columbia held that the matter arose from the collective agreement negotiated by CN with the trade union that represented the deceased employee.
- Successfully represented the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in defending a claim for damages for wrongful dismissal and defamation including claims for punitive damages and aggravated damages made by a former manager.
- Obtained a dismissal of a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal by a former employee of Martin – Brower Canada involving allegations of discrimination on the basis of disability where the employee was dismissed for failing to comply with a drug / alcohol rehabilitation program.
- Represented an employer in an 8 day labour arbitration where the arbitrator upheld the dismissal of a bargaining unit employee for harassment and bullying of a co-worker – Madill Equipment Canada v. United Steelworkers Union, Local 1-80, CLC (Brown Dismissal Grievance),  BCA.A.A. No. 86.
- Raval v. APT Auto Parts Ltd., 2008 BCHRT 170( Contracting Out Grievance,  BCA.A.A No.86, 85 C.L.A .S. 198) Lilydale Cooperative Ltd. v United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1518.
- (Rollerman Duty to Accommodate Grievance),  BCA.A.A No.101) Lilydale Cooperative Ltd. v United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1518.
- Appeared at the BC Labour Relations Board on behalf of an employer in a hearing to determine a jurisdiction dispute between an International Union and a local Union and the enforceability of a collective agreement.
- Advised Employer in a wrongful dismissal proceeding on the appropriateness of trial by Judge and Jury and process under the Rules of Court for striking a Jury Notice.
- Provided submissions to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal regarding appointment of medical expert.
- Advised on drug testing policy in connection with safety sensitive work.
- Advised and drafted a Last Chance Agreement with a union employee dealing with alcohol/drug addiction
- Advised on human rights issues including employer duty to accommodate arising from employee drug/alcohol addiction and testing of employee
- Advised on workplace fatality arising from suspected drug use and workers compensation proceedings
- Co-Author of Canadian “Employment Litigation Manual”, LexisNexis
- “Privacy Law Update” – A Presentation for the BC Human Resources Management Association – January 30, 2014
- “Policies, Internal Complaint Investigations, and Problem Areas for Employers” – A Presentation to the BC Human Resources Management Association – January 21, 2014
- “Employment and Human Rights Law for Managers” – A Presentation to the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business – October 17 – 18, 2013
- “Disability Management: The Duty to Accommodate and the Investigation of Complaints” – A Presentation to the Certified General Accountants of BC – May 11, 2013
- “Bill 34 – The New Limitation Act: Significant Change and Transition Issues Explained” – A Presentation to Continuing Legal Education of BC – May 9, 2013
- “Enforcement of the Workers Compensation Act, Bill C-45, and Safe Practices in the Workplace: An Update in the Development of the Law” – A Presentation to FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC – May 1, 2013
- “R v Cole and the Diminished Right of Privacy” – A Presentation to the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) March 25, 2013
- “Employment Tips for Lawyers as Employers” – A Presentation to the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) February 27, 2013
- “Policies, Internal Complaint Investigations and Problem Areas for Employers” – A Presentation to the BC Human Resources Management Association – January 31, 2013
- “Social Media and the Workplace” – Annual Conference of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC – October 25 -27, 2012
- “Employer Rights and Obligations in Connection with Employee Personal Medical Information”, Canadian Privacy Law Review, Vol. 7, No. 12, November 2010
- “Social Media: Opportunities and Limitations in the Workplace”
- “Employer Rights and Obligations in Connection with Employee Personal Medical Information” Canadian Privacy Law Review, Vol. 7, No. 12, November 2010
- “BC Considers Reform of Workplace Dispute Adjudication” – Focus on Labour & Employment – November 2010
- “Employer Rights and Obligations in Connection with Employee Personal Medical Information” -Meeting of the Council of Industrial Relations Executives – June 2010
Recent Speaking Engagements
- “Written Employment Contracts”, A Presentation for the Canadian Lawyer Employment Law Masterclass West, February 23 2023
- “Termination of Employment – Recent Developments”, A Presentation for the Canadian Lawyer Employment Law Masterclass West, November 1, 2022
- “Termination of Employment – Recent Developments”, A Presentation for the CPHR Legal Symposium and Showcase, June 23, 2022
- “What to Expect in Human Resources Management in 2022 – A Review of Recent Developments and Trends in Workplace Law”, Overholt Law LLP Firm Webinar, December 8, 2021
- “Human Resources Management in Challenging Times – Pandemic Edition”, Overholt Law LLP Firm Webinar, January 27, 2021
- “Employment, Labour Relations, Human Rights and Privacy Issues Arising in the Purchase and Sale of a Business”, Overholt Law LLP Firm Seminar, March 11, 2020
- “Mapping the Matrix – Making Sense of Labour & Employment Laws”, Queen’s Industrial Labour Relations Centre, December 2-6, 2019
- “Grievance Arbitration Process”, Queen’s Industrial Labour Relations Centre, December 2-6, 2019
- “The Latest Developments in the Law Governing BC Workplaces”, Overholt Law LLP Firm Seminar, October 16, 2019
- “Labour Relations, Employment and Human Rights Issues of Importance to the Construction Sector”, A Presentation for the 2018 CPA Constructions Forum, September 20, 2018
- “The Failure to Accommodate an Addiction and the Resulting Consequences for the Employer”, A Presentation for CPHR Interior Legal Symposium 2018, June 1, 2018
- “The Implications of #MeToo in the Canadian Workplace”, A Presentation for the Forest Resources Association 2018 Conference, May 17, 2018
- “Minimize the Risk of Employer Liability and Litigation”, Sauder School of Business, March 20-21, 2018
- “Winds of Change in the Workplace – Recent and Future Anticipated Developments in the Law”, Overholt Law LLP Firm Seminar, October 25, 2017
- “Legalization of Marijuana and Maintaining a Healthy Workplace – Marijuana and its impact on the workplace”, Overholt Law LLP Firm Seminar, September 20, 2017
- “Creating Effective Employment Contracts that Protect your Company’s Resources and Future Business Prospects”, A Live Webinar Presentation for the CPHR, September 19, 2017
- “Best Practices in Hiring Employees – Minimizing the Risk of Claims and Liability”, Overholt Law LLPFirm Seminar, May 31, 2017
- “Employment and Labour Relations Update – The Fundamentals of Recruiting, Interviewing and Offering Employment”, A Presentation for the CPA of Surrey, Langley and the North Delta Chapter, May 6, 2017
- “Managing the Mobile Workforce – What you need to know before arranging an International Assignment”, A Presentation for the CPHR 55th Annual HR Conference and Tradeshow, May 2, 2017
- “Moving from Hiring to Recruitment – The Legal Framework”, A Presentation for the HRMA, March 2, 2017
- “Current and Critical: The Top Human Rights and Labour Cases of 2016”, Lancaster House Audio Conference, January 26, 2017
- “Caselaw and Legislative Roundup: Major Milestones, Future Forecasts”, Lancaster House Vancouver Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference, November 24, 2016
- “The Fundamentals of Hiring Employees, Recruiting, Interviewing and Offers of Employment”, HRMA Roundtable Event, October 27, 2016
- “Disability Management and Employee Absenteeism”,Overholt Law LLPFirm Seminar, October 5, 2016
- “Current Legal Issues and Trends in Human Resources Management”,Overholt Law LLPInaugural Firm Seminar – April 20, 2016
- “The Modern Workplace – Privacy in the Workplace”, HRMA Legal Symposium, February 25, 2016
- “The Legal Side of HR Consulting”, HRMA Roundtable, December 1, 2015
- “Current Issues in Labour Relations Law”, Queen’s Industrial Labour Relations Centre, November 23, 2015
- “Managing Social Media: Responsible use at work”, Infonex First Nations HR Conference, September 15, 2015
- “Managing Social Media – When does off duty conduct become relevant to the Workplace?”, HRMA Roundtable, June 18, 2015
- “Insubordination and Insolence: Just Cause for Summary Dismissal?” A Presentation for the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, May 8, 2015
- “Employment and Labour Relations Law – Recent Developments”, A Presentation for the CPA Surrey, Langley and North Delta Chapter, February 7, 2015
- “Common Contractual Issues on Termination of Employment, HRMA Legal Symposium, January 29, 2015
- “Workplace Investigations – Managing Complaints In Union and Non-Union Context”, Western Labour and Employee Relations Forum, January 28, 2015
- “Privacy Law Update – The Modern Workplace,” Legal Symposium for the BC Human Resources Management Association, – January 30, 2014
- “Policies, Internal Complaint Investigations and Problem Areas for Employers”, BC Human Resource Management Association Conference, January 21, 2014
- “Workplace Bullying and Harassment”, Webinar for the Canadian Bar Association, December 10, 2013
- “2013 Legal Update – Attendance Management: Non-Culpable Absenteeism”, Infonex: Absenteeism, Accommodation & Disability Management Conference, December 3, 2013
- “Disability Management: The Duty to Accommodate & Avoiding Legal Claims”, 7th Edition Disability Claims Management/Litigation Conference, September 30, 2013
- “Technology in the Workplace, Social Media and the Investigation of Complaints”, A Presentation to the Certified General Accountants of British Columbia, May 11, 2013
- “Bill 34 – The New Limitation Act: Significant Change and Transition Issues Explained”, A Presentation for the Continuing Legal Education Employment Law Conference, May 9, 2013
- “Enforcement of the Workers Compensation Act, Bill C-45, and Safe Practices in the Workplace: An Update in the Development of the Law”, Fiosa-Miosa Safety Alliance of BC, May 1, 2013
- “Policies, Internal Complaint Investigations and Problem Areas for Employers”, Sauder School of Business, April 9 & 10, 2013
- “R v Cole and the Diminished Right of Privacy” Canadian Bar Association, (BC Branch) March 25, 2013
- “Policies, Internal Complaint Investigations and Problem Areas for Employers”, Legal Symposium: The Modern Workplace, January 31, 2013
- “Social Media and the Workplace”, Annual Conference of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, October 25 – 27, 2012
- “Labour and Employment Issues for Commercial Lawyers”, 2012 Major Business Agreements Conference, October 15-16, 2012
- “Social Media and the Workplace”, 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Engineering Human Resources Association, September 24, 2012
- “Social Media, the Workplace & the Law”, Webinar for The Canadian Bar Association, February 29, 2011
- “Twitter On – The Use of Social Media by Bargaining Unit and Non-Union Employees in the Workplace”, 7th Annual Labour Relations Conference, Vancouver, January 25, 2012
- “The Duty to Inquire”, CLEBC Human Rights Conference, Vancouver November 24, 2011
- “Workers Compensation and Human Rights Law – Accommodation and Termination Issues”, Vancouver, October 26, 2011
- Past President, BC Branch, Canadian Bar Association
- Founding President and Chair, Board of Directors of Pro Bono Law of British Columbia
- Past Member, Judicial Council Committee of the Provincial Court of British Columbia
- Past President of the Advocates Club
- Past President of the West Vancouver Otters Swim Club
- Past Member of the Dean’s Advisory Group, Queen’s University Faculty of Law
- Past Member, Executive, Vancouver Bar Association
- Advisory Group, Queen’s University Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace
- Past Member, Board of Directors, Law Court Inn
- Past Chair of the annual Labour and Employment Law Conference for the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia
- Past Chair of FMC National Employment, Labour and Pensions Practice Group
- Employment Law
- Labour Relations Law
- Human Rights Law
- Professional Discipline
- OH&S Lawyers
- Corporate Governance, Fiduciary Duties And Shareholder Disputes
- Privacy And Freedom Of Information
- Pension And Benefits
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