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In the province of BC small claims court hears claims of up to $25000. A plaintiff has two years to file a claim from when the incident occurred. Does this mean for things less than $25000 a potential defendant is “safe” after 2 years from being charged? Must any claim for $25000 or less be made in small claims court?

I used to work at a really large company with a track record of harassing companies and its own employees with lawsuits. While I never meant harm, I’m sure I broke some rules they snuck in a contract I signed. For example I used a proxy to access blocked websites and once used Teamviewer to connect with a stranger (outside of the company) to work on a personal project on a company computer. I was a co-op student at the time and now worry they will come after me. It’s been more than 2 years. (This was not a confession and some details have been changed to hide identity)

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There is some leeway in regards to this limitation. The limitation of 2 years is defined in the Limitations Act

Basic limitation period

  1. Unless this Act provides otherwise, a proceeding shall not be commenced in respect of a claim after the second anniversary of the day on which the claim was discovered. 2002, c. 24, Sched. B, s. 4. Discovery

  2. (1) A claim is discovered on the earlier of,

(a) the day on which the person with the claim first knew,

(i) that the injury, loss or damage had occurred,

(ii) that the injury, loss or damage was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission,

(iii) that the act or omission was that of the person against whom the claim is made, and

(iv) that, having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage, a proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy it; and

(b) the day on which a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim first ought to have known of the matters referred to in clause (a). 2002, c. 24, Sched. B, s. 5 (1).

So you have this general 2 year period, but this hinges on the the "discovery" of the incident in question. First, this is defined as meaning when the person claiming the damages became aware of the act or the consequences of the damaging act. This is very broad and of course someone could just say "I only found out yesterday" and sue you 50 years later. So, there is an additional constraint.

the day on which a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim first ought to have known of the matters referred to in clause

This clause provides some constraints so that the aforementioned scenario where someone shows up 50 years later and sues you can't happen. However, this is open to interpretation and would definitely require special consideration on a per case basis.

There may be other defined limitations, where they are shorter or longer depending on what is being claimed, as is mentioned in this general rule.

Let's apply this to one of the situations you've mentioned. The person that you connected to (stranger), if company secrets or some other such thing that can be damaging to the company were leaked to this person, then I'd say such a scenario would leave this 2 year limit very open ended. How can the employer reasonably know that damage was done until this unknown third party somehow makes the damage aware to the company? It's not unreasonable for the company, if some leak comes up 20 years later, to be completely within the letter of the law to open up a lawsuit under these restrictions.

All that said, I wouldn't worry too much about it. What's done is done, sweating over it will not do anything but drain years away from your life. Live on learning the lessons to be learned and leave that company in the past.

  • To my knowledge it was a fresh installation of Windows with no sensitive information, but that leads to my next question...Plus Teamviewer is safe and I watched his actions. – dipdash May 17 '16 at 23:39
  • @dipdash "Teamviewer is safe" - I've been both a programmer and a general IT guy in my life. Whenever people would come in to my store telling me they got hacked and/or frauded, Teamviewer was always involved. Anyway I don't want to make you paranoid. I'm simply answering your question about limitations. Was my answer clear/helpful? – user900 May 17 '16 at 23:50

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