Richard Steele web res

Richard F. Steele

Partner

403.260.0151
rfs@bdplaw.com
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Education:
University of Alberta, Bachelor of Laws, 1996

Brigham Young University, Bachelor of Arts (cum laude), 1993

Bar admission: Alberta 1997
Industries:
Aerospace, Agribusiness, food and beverage, Franchises, dealerships and distributorships, Construction, Financial services, Government and not for profit, Life sciences, Oil and gas, Power, Real estate, Renewables and energy transition, Start-up and early-stage companies, Technology
Practice areas:
Employment litigation, Energy litigation, Employment and labour, Litigation and dispute resolution

Experience

Richard's focus is on:

  • Employment and labour
  • Commercial and general litigation
  • Energy litigation

Richard appears before all levels of Court in Alberta and the Federal Court of Canada. He also appears before the Alberta Labour Relations Board, the Canada Industrial Relations Board, the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board and the Alberta Human Rights Commission. He regularly:

  • Advises clients regarding termination and layoff strategy
  • Drafts collective agreements, employment agreements, independent consultant contracts, change of control and retention agreements
  • Advises clients concerning personnel procedures and policies, drug and alcohol policies, restrictive covenant obligations and site access issues
  • Advises clients on downsizing, corporate transactions, defending employment-related litigation and discrimination complaints
  • Advises clients relating to union matters, including collective agreements, unfair labour practice complaints, duties of fair representation, certification and revocation, and successor and common employer applications
  • Represents parties at grievance arbitrations

Professional involvement

Richard is a member of the Executive Committee at BD&P and is the employment and labour group leader.

Professional associations

  • Member, Law Society of Alberta
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Calgary Bar Association

Presentations

Richard has also presented at various conferences, panels, seminars, and other events, including:

  • Employment Termination Best Practices Seminar, Calgary, 2010
  • Employee Termination and Restructuring Conference, Calgary, 2009
  • In an Economic Downturn are Less Reasons Needed and Fewer Second Chances Granted?, presented at the Incisive Media Western Canada Employee Terminations & Restructuring Conference, September 2009

Representative work

Historic settlement in workplace sexual misconduct class action against City of Leduc

Counsel for plaintiff class in successful settlement agreement with the City of Leduc for systemic sexual abuse, harassment, and assault against female city employees, including firefighters. Terms of settlement include the highest per-person monetary compensation in a Canada class action settlement for workplace misconduct. The per-person settlement amounts combined with the non-adversarial claims process, non-monetary remedies, and the lengthy claimant eligibility time period, arguably makes this settlement the most progressive workplace class action settlement in Canadian history. This is the first settlement of a class action involving sexual misconduct and sexual assault in a fire department or municipality in Canada. The individual compensation in this settlement exceeds that provided by Canada’s most notable workplace harassment class action settlements to date. This settlement was approved by the Court on July 4, 2023.

$40 million employment-related dispute

Co-counsel in a $40 million claim and counterclaim, alleging misappropriation and misuse of confidential and proprietary information, unfair competition, wrongful solicitation of employees and customers, breach of fiduciary duties, conspiracy, defamation and oppression.

$5.5 million breach of contract dispute

Counsel in a $5.5 million claim asserting breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, misappropriation and misuse of confidential information, inducing breach of contract, wrongful solicitation of employees, customers and suppliers, and interference with contractual relations and economic interests.

Discrimination and human rights disputes

Counsel representing a defendant employer in two human rights complaints alleging discrimination based on gender, equal pay, and retaliation, which matters were heard before the Alberta Human Rights Commission, before the Court of Queen's Bench and twice before the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Employment dispute before the Court of the Queen's Bench

Co-counsel in a multi-million dollar claim and counterclaim between an ex-CEO and a large organization, alleging breach of contract, wrongful dismissal, negligence, fraud and deceit, which claim and counterclaim proceed to a lengthy trial before the Court of Queen's Bench.

$2.5 million wrongful dismissal claim

Counsel in a $2.5 million claim alleging wrongful dismissal and unlawful withholding of retention bonus funds.

Hearing before the Alberta Labour Relations Board

Counsel in Alberta Labour Relations Board hearing, and judicial review to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, in relation to successorship and common employer applications.

Review of a decision relating to the "build-up" principle in the Saskatchewan construction industry

Counsel in a Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench Judicial Review of a Saskatchewan Labour Board decision relating to certification and the "build-up" principle in the Saskatchewan construction industry.

Hearings before the Alberta Labour Relations Board and the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board

Counsel and co-counsel in numerous hearings before the Alberta Labour Relations Board and the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board in relation to certifications, revocations, determinations, unfair labour practice complaints, successorship and common employer declarations.

Advice to individuals and companies regarding employment and labour arbitrations

Counsel in individual, group, policy and interest grievance arbitrations.

Defending unjust dismissal complaints

Counsel representing a federally regulated employer in defending unjust dismissal complaints, including adjudications under the Canada Labour Code.

$25 million freehold lease dispute

Counsel representing two defendants in a $25 million claim brought by 21 plaintiffs and involving seven defendants relating to freehold petroleum and natural gas leases in Alberta, including a lengthy trial before the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta and appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta trial over a well blowout

Counsel in a $9.5 million claim brought by an operator against a well-control company retained to control a well blowout, which claim proceeded to a lengthy trial before the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.

Awards

Recent honours and recognition

Awarded the National Impact Case Award by Benchmark Litigation (2024)

BD&P Employment & Labour Group named 2023 Reader's Choice in the Employment & Labour Law – Full Service Firm category by Canadian HR Reporter

Named as a Litigation Star in Benchmark Litigation Canada (2023)

Named in Chambers Canada as a leading lawyer in employment and labour (Alberta) (2019-2023)

Recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading lawyer in the area of employment law (employer and employee) (2017-2024) and Labour (management) (2023, 2024)

Litigation Star in Benchmark Litigation Canada in the areas of employment and labour, energy and natural resources and securities (2017-2022)

Named in Best Lawyers in Canada as a recommended lawyer in labour and employment law (annually since 2008)

Future Star in Benchmark Litigation Canada (2014-2016)

News

May 9, 2024

The Benchmark Litigation Awards recognize BD&P with the National Impact Case Award

May 1, 2024

BD&P Lawyers Ranked as Future and Litigation Stars

March 6, 2024

24 BD&P lawyers recognized as recommended leaders in Canada

September 28, 2023

Chambers Canada 2024 recognizes BD&P team as Top Legal Talent

August 24, 2023

Forty-one BD&P lawyers recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers Canada

June 21, 2023

BD&P Announces Historic Settlement in Workplace Sexual Misconduct Class Action against Leduc

June 16, 2023

BD&P Recognized as a Reader's Choice Award Winner for Employment & Labour Law

April 26, 2023

BD&P ranked highly by 2023 Benchmark Litigation Canada

March 1, 2023

Recognition from Lexpert celebrates BD&P lawyers as recommended leaders in Canada

September 29, 2022

Chambers Canada recognizes fourteen BD&P lawyers for legal expertise in 2023 edition

August 25, 2022

Thirty-five BD&P lawyers recognized in Best Lawyers in Canada, 2023 edition

April 28, 2021

Fifteen BD&P litigation lawyers ranked in Benchmark Canada 2021

April 23, 2021

Twenty BD&P lawyers recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2021

September 9, 2020

Sixteen BD&P lawyers recognized in the 2021 edition of Chambers Canada

August 27, 2020

Thirty-four lawyers recognized in the 2021 edition of the Best Lawyers in Canada guide

April 29, 2020

Twenty-three lawyers ranked in 2020 edition of the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

April 14, 2020

Thirteen BD&P litigation lawyers ranked in Benchmark Canada 2020

August 21, 2019

31 BD&P lawyers included in 2020 edition of Best Lawyers in Canada

May 3, 2019

Twenty-one lawyers ranked across seventeen practice areas in 2019 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

March 26, 2019

Ten litigation partners ranked in the 2019 edition of Benchmark Canada

September 21, 2018

BD&P lawyers recognized as leading practitioners in 2019 edition of Chambers Canada

August 21, 2018

Best Lawyers in Canada 2019 recognizes BD&P lawyers