Being dismissed from a job is usually a difficult pill to swallow, but summary dismissal from a position of tenure can be personally and financially devastating.
In Sept. 2014, BC Ferries terminated the employment of an employee who had almost 25 years of service with the company. She was a senior chief steward with approximately 150 people working under her, some on the ferries and some at Langdale terminal. The reasons given in her letter of termination were that she allegedly consumed alcohol on duty, and also invited a co-worker to join her.
The employee alleged wrongful termination, and claims that it has been hard to find suitable employment after being dismissed from her long-time job.
The woman denies her former employer’s allegations, claiming the investigation was conducted with bias. Further, she claims her reputation and capabilities were called into question leading up to the firing, and that the allegations against her were brought forth by the spouse of a captain she claims had sexually harassed her. After her dismissal, she says she had to rely on significant withdrawals from her pension to get by until she was able to find other employment; employment she gained after reportedly making 40 different applications. She’s seeking damages for negligent infliction of mental suffering, defamation and breach of contract.
Thus far, the allegations have not been heard in court, and BC Ferries has not responded to the claim.
Any individual or business involved in a wrongful termination suit in British Columbia – particularly where serious allegations of just cause are alleged – may wish to collaborate with a local law firm that deals with labour and employment law and wrongful dismissal actions on a regular basis.
Source: Business in Vancouver, “Lawsuit of the week: Former BC Ferries chief steward claims she was fired based on false on-duty drinking allegations”, Sept. 20, 2016