Overview

The retail industry in B.C. is dynamic. It helps to create and revitalize communities, is an enormous employer of entry level workers, and serves as a strong training ground for the workforce.

In order to remain profitable in this very competitive space, retailers must walk a delicate line between providing goods in the way and at a price point that consumers will embrace while maintaining a dedicated workforce that is often on the lower end of the pay scale.

Unfortunately, the retail sector has a largely transient workforce. Employees come and go, there’s a high ratio of young (and thus, less experienced) employees and workforce loyalty may not be high.

Meanwhile, the industry is seeking to build efficiencies through systems and technology, which requires training and close monitoring of employees.

Brands and culture serve as strong differentiators in this competitive space, both for attracting employees and customers. Yet marketplace shake-outs (such as the closure of Sears or Target) weaken commitment to retailers on the part of both employees and customers.

Retailers with large workforces should also be aware of the potential for class actions by employees. Retailers have seen such actions around issues like pay equity, overtime, and other employment standards issues.

Our clients include retailers in the following areas:

  • Clothing and apparel
  • Hard goods
  • Electronics
  • Health & beauty
  • Grocery
  • Department stores
  • Drug stores

We’ve been providing legal advice to retailers for over twenty years. We know the complex issues retailers face and understand the shifting landscape. We assist our retail clients with a wide range of employment and labour services including:

  • Employment contracts;
  • Pay structures (including commission, bonuses);
  • Restrictive covenants;
  • Policies and procedures manuals (i.e. harassment, vacation leaves, commission);
  • Recruitment and retention issues;
  • Employment standards (including overtime, leaves, training);
  • Human rights and accommodation (including discrimination, harassment);
  • Collective bargaining;
  • Strikes and grievances;
  • Performance issues;
  • Privacy;
  • Workers compensation;
  • Occupational Health & Safety; and
  • Wrongful dismissal.

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