Sarah Hentschel | Watson Goepel LLP

Sarah Hentschel Senior Associate


“I get to know each of my clients so I can provide them with personalized service.”

Sarah is a Senior Associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group at Watson Goepel LLP. Sarah enjoys a hybrid practice of both defence work and plaintiff work; she represents and advises employers across Canada with regards to all aspects of Workplace Law and also represents and advises individuals with respect to long-term disability benefits and life insurance claims.

Sarah has had cases before the Employment Standards Tribunal of BC, the BC Human Rights Tribunal, the Industrial Relations Board, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Social Security Tribunal, and the Supreme and Provincial Courts of British Columbia.

Workplace Law

  • Transferring employees between businesses during purchase or sale of business
  • Drafting, assessing, or applying workplace policies for employees
  • Providing advice regarding terminations, employee complaints, and workplace accommodations
  • Drafting employment contracts
  • Defending employee wrongful dismissal actions, Employment Standards Tribunal complaints, Human Rights Tribunal complaints, and Privacy complaints
  • Providing advice and strategy regarding breaches of contract including non-solicitation clauses, privacy, and non-competition clauses
  • Strategic advice regarding workers compensation matters

Disability Law

  • Assisting with appeals during the appeals process
  • Bringing actions in court against insurance companies who wrongfully deny benefits
  • Assisting unions and/or union members with their long term disability benefits appeals processes
  • Privacy rights
  • How to handle the employment relationship while on long-term disability or waiting for long-term disability benefits

Sarah’s Top Five Tips for Disability Claims

  • Seek professional advice right away. Preliminary consultations are free.
  • Don’t assume because an insurance company tells you “your claim is denied” or “your file is closed” or “you are no longer entitled to benefits after two years”, that that is the final word on your entitlement. It rarely is.
  • You have obligations to your employer while off work, even if you are on an approved long term disability claim. Find out what they are so you can maintain a good employer relationship and maintain other benefits.
  • Those with a workplace injury should still apply for long term disability benefits.
  • If you are settling a car accident or personal injury claim while you are receiving long term disability benefits, there are important questions your personal injury/motor vehicle claim lawyer should be asking the disability insurer BEFORE you settle your personal injury claim.


  • LLB, University of British Columbia, 2002
  • BAH, Queens University, 1995


  • British Columbia, 2003


Over the course of two years, I worked closely with Sarah to update our employment infrastructure for our small but growing university college in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sarah was responsive, diligent, and creative. She took the time to work with and listen to us, bringing her vast and current legal understanding of employment law that would serve the needs of our particular institution. By any standard of performance, and professionalism, I consider Sarah to be an exemplary legal practitioner who carries my strongest unreserved recommendation. Dr. Peter Meehan, President, Corpus Christi College, Principal, St. Mark’s College

Work Highlights

Represents and advises employers across Canada with regards to all aspects of Workplace Law including:

  • Drafting Employment Contracts; Employee Handbooks and Policies
  • Conducting Workplace Investigations
  • Employee Terminations
  • Advising and Defending Employee Claims of Wrongful Dismissal and Breach of Privacy Harassment etc.
  • Privacy and Information Request Issues
  • Restrictive Covenant Issues (Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Protection)
  • Scope of the Duty to Accommodate and Human Rights Obligations

Represents and advises individuals with respect to claims against insurers, employers or unions for:

  • Short and Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Life Insurance, Accidental Death
  • Insurance
  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Failure to Accommodate
  • Scope of Employer and Employee Duties During Medical Leave
    Represents individuals with claims for Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits or Employment Insurance Sickness benefits.

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Canadian Bar Association, Member of Pension and Benefits Section
  • British Columbia Bar Association, Member of Employment Section and Human Rights Section
  • Board Member, Vancouver Theatre Sports League

Recent news from Sarah Hentschel

20 August 2020

Temporary layoffs, CERB, and CEWS: A COVID-19 update

Both provincial and federal governments continue to update legislation and programs introduced this year in response to COVID-19. This blog post highlights some of the recent changes. Temporary Layoffs in B.C. Under the Employment Standards Act, RSBC 1996, c. 113 (the “Act”), as long as an employer has the contractual authority or the employee agrees…

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Protected leave vs sick leave: What kind of proof do you need?

8 May 2020

Protected leave and sick leave: What counts as “reasonably sufficient proof”?

** This article does not contain legal advice. There can be legal differences across industries and jurisdictions (i.e. federally versus provincially regulated workplaces). In addition, employee contracts can vary the suggestions set out in this article. Please consult with counsel before you implement any new strategy which deviates from your current policies and procedures.** The…

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Employee rights to refuse unsafe work during COVID-19

Employee rights to refuse unsafe work during COVID-19

All workers have the right to a healthy and safe workplace. As such, they have the right to refuse unsafe work – in other words, they may refuse work that they believe has the potential to harm themselves or others at the worksite. In B.C., the work refusal process is set out in the Occupational…

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