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Sunshine Village Ski Resort Suing Former Employees For Defamation, Boycott Campaign

One of Alberta's most popular mountain ski resorts is suing two former employees for defamation.

According to the Calgary Herald, Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort is suing ex-employees Chris Chevalier and Christopher Conway for organizing a boycott campaign that they say significantly hurt sales of season and day passes.

The move comes as part of an ongoing battle between ski resort management and former workers who were fired two years ago. Four former employees have sued the ski hill, claiming that they were wrongfully terminated in 2010 after confronting another employee who was skiing with friends in an out-of-bounds area. The ski hill has defended the terminations, claiming that the workers were fired for reasons that included fraud, dishonesty and sexual harassment.

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Sunshine is accusing Chevalier and Conway, along with unidentified others, of creating and selling t-shirts and stickers urging a boycott of the ski hill, creating a Facebook page encouraging a boycott, as well as distributing a flyer to homes in Canmore and Banff that encouraged residents to not buy passes to the hill.

"Since the inception of the campaign, the number of season and day passes sold by Sunshine in 2011 and the subsequent seasons was significantly lower than previous years in the Banff and Canmore region, which were the focus of the campaign," the lawsuit said.

According to the Herald, Sunshine is seeking $300,000 and other damages.

James Swanson, a Calgary lawyer specializing in new media cases, told the CBC tracking online behaviour can be difficult and there may be problems proving some of the claims in court.

"Really when you're tracking things like this online you're going through various custodians of information that probably don't have all the information. Facebook has an IP address, the internet service provider has that number, plus account information."

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