Gayle Duteil. (Black Press files)

BC Nurses Union calls former president’s lawsuit ‘improper’ and ‘inaccurate’

Gayle Duteil was ousted from the union in April

The former president of the B.C. Nurses Union is suing the group after she was ousted from her role.

In statement of claim filed Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court, Gayle Duteil alleges the union breached its own bylaws and the B.C. Human Rights Code when it removed her from her position and the union altogether back in April.

Duteil says her issues first started when she took a medical leave to seek breast cancer treatment in early 2017, shortly after she was re-elected as president.

By mid-2017, she says she was working remotely and looking to fully return to work, but was placed on administrative leave following allegations of misconduct.

At the time, Umar Sheikh, the union’s CEO and executive director, declined to comment on the nature of the allegations but called them “very serious.”

Duteil claims that over the course of the union’s investigation, she was never provided a hearing or a copy of any report and was told by independent investigators that the allegations against her were “largely unsubstantiated.”

She says the allegations are “utterly false, politically motivated and designed to drive me away from an organization I have faithfully served for nearly three decades.”

In a statement emailed to Black Press Media, Duteil’s lawyer, Carman J. Overholt, claims the union falsely accused Duteil of being addicted to alcohol and prescription medications and abusing staff and others in its letter of no confidence, sent last month.

In an interview Tuesday, Sheikh said the lawsuit’s are inaccurate and called it “nothing more than a stunt.”

“We haven’t been served with it. They haven’t even given us a copy,” he told Black Press Media. “We’re very disappointed that [Duteil] is going to the media and the courts.”

He said the union held a full-day hearing with its 500 delegates to present evidence that resulted in the dismissal back in April.

“There is an internal appeal process… she’s chosen not to take advantage of that process,” Sheikh said. Three nurses, picked at random, would conduct an independent review of the allegations.

The suit demands Duteil be reinstated as president, for the union to produce all documents relating to her termination, and damages and costs as the court deems appropriate.

A statement of defense has not been filed. None of the allegations have been proven in court.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Ladysmith Maritime Society wants to be known as the Friendliest Marina on the Coast

Group marks 33 years of marine preservation and community

John murder trial at Duncan courthouse on pause until spring

John is charged with the May 2016 murder of 20-year-old Derek Descoteau

Ladysmith proving once again, it’s a small town with a big heart

It takes a town full of volunteers to ensure no child goes hungry

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Coal power in Canada must disappear by the end of 2029, new regulations say

Canada has significantly cut its dependence on coal largely due to the closure of all coal plants in Ontario.

‘Naive approach’ to China at fault in Meng mess: Scheer

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on the Trudeau government to “unequivocally denounce any type of repercussions to Canadians on foreign soil.”

Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr is back in court today to seek changes to bail conditions.

Police respond to alleged bear-spray threats in Vancouver Island park

A number of Comox dog owners have reported their off-leash dogs being threatened with bear spray

B.C. man linked to human remains probe gets absolute discharge on unrelated mischief count

Curtis Sagmoen was in Vernon Law Courts Dec. 13 for a mischief trial

Most Read