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Preparing for a workplace crisis

(Mississauga Business Times – September 2011)

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Business Law Summit's 6th anniversary will give practical advice on running a successful operation.

The theme of the annual 2011 Business Law Summit will be Preparing for your Next Workplace Crisis: Effective Legal and Business Strategies. Experts in workplace safety, information security, public relations and labour law will give practical advice to attendees of the summit.

This year’s summit will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon in the Bank of Montreal Room, Mississauga Living Arts Centre, Mississauga. This year, the Business Law Summit is celebrating its sixth anniversary.

“In tough economic times, companies are challenged like never before by sudden crises,” says Jeffrey Percival, organizer of this year’s summit and a labour lawyer at Pallett Valo LLP, Mississauga’s largest business law  firm.

Attendees of the 2011 Business Law Summit will learn from experts in HR and labour law, workplace violence, eDiscovery, serious workplace accidents, and public relations professionals to get ready for their next corporate crisis, which may be just around the corner.

The roster of speakers and topics that attendees will learn about include:

1. eDiscovery segment: Karen Groulx and Abbas Najarali, senior manager, e-Litigation Services, H&A eDiscovery.

2. Injunctions segment: Bobby Sachdeva, Pallett Valo.

3. PR Segment: Jeffrey Percival and Katie Clark, senior account director, Corporate & Public Affairs, Edelman Canada.

4. Serious Workplace Accident segment: Andy Balaura and Elizabeth Mills, president and CEO, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, a Health & Safety Ontario partner.

“The reality is that crises happen all the  time in the workplace. In the past few years, we have seen numerous incidents  showcased  in the media, both internationally and in Mississauga,” says Percival.

Percival points to a 2010 incident at the City of Mississauga where a supervisor encouraged the hazing of employees; the 2008 Listeria outbreak at food processor Maple Leaf Foods that killed 22 Canadians amid a scramble to find the cause and preassure consumers; and the massive 2007 tainted pet food recall at Menu Foods, caused by the addition of three separate contaminants by a Chinese supplier.

One aspect that is increasingly worrying employers is computer security, including hacking to steal confidential, customer records, and proprietary information.

“Our new reality is that 99 per cent of information is created and stored electronically. What does this mean for employers? How should they protect themselves, their employees, and their customers from the prying fingers of hackers?” says Karen Groulx, a partner at Pallett Valo, with experience in electronic privacy and e-Discovery issues.

“In fact, social networking is so widespread that industry experts have predicted that social media will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 per cent of business users by 2014,” adds Groulx.

Registration for the Business Law Summit is $75 (plus HST) and includes continental breakfast. Space is limited, so register  early. For more information, or to register for the 2011 Business Law Summit, visit:

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