Dismissal a damaging blow to articling student

Vancouver law firm ordered to pay $50,000 in aggravated damages plus wrongful dismissal damages for abrupt and bad-faith dismissal
By David Master
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/08/2019

After graduating law school in 2016, Melissa Ojanen commenced her articling placement at Acumen Law Corporation, a criminal law firm based out of Vancouver, under the supervision of Paul Doroshenko, founder of the firm.

However, less than four months later, Doroshenko fired her following the discovery of a blog providing information to people facing a driving ban — similar information to blogs maintained by the firm. It was alleged that she either created or participated in the the blog, which was based off proprietary firm information that she stole and, by doing so, directly competed with the firm.  

Instead of confronting Ojanen, Doroshenko commenced a lawsuit and she was served in front of her colleagues. Doroshenko claimed against Ojanen for breach of contract, theft, wrongful use of marketing materials belonging to the firm and entering the firm’s premises after hours without permission. Ojanen was unable to complete her articling to become licensed to practise law.