Former Okanagan fire chief sues City of Vernon after termination

Keith Green’s civil claim says that he believes he was wrongfully terminated

A former Vernon Fire Rescue Services chief has filed a civil claim against the City of Vernon for what he believes was the wrongful termination of his employment.

In his Feb. 14 claim filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia Vancouver Registry, Keith Green, 52, alleges that his employment as director, or fire chief, of Vernon Fire Rescue Services was wrongfully terminated after he “became disabled due to a work-related psychological disability, ceased working and began receiving banked sick pay” in September 2016.

Prior to his leave, Green had entered employment with the City in 2011. His employment was terminated on Aug. 16, 2018.

“The defendant (the City of Vernon) wrongfully and without cause or prior notice terminated the employment of the plaintiff and advised the plaintiff in writing that the termination would be effective immediately based on alleged ‘frustration of contract’ due to the worker’s ongoing disability (‘illness’) and inability to return to full-time duties as Fire Chief,” the claim reads.

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According to his claim, Green had been in the process of establishing a back to work plan in June 2018. The claim also says that Green “disagreed that his contract had been frustrated, among other things.”

Through the action, Green seeks compensation specified in his contract as well as interest, the cost of the action and other relief the Court deems just. According to the claim, Green’s contract stipulated that “his employment could not be terminated without cause unless the City of Vernon provided 12 months’ notice or compensation in the form of payment of salary and 12 per cent in lieu of benefits.”

Greens’ annual salary is estimated at $136,000, the claim reads.

A City of Vernon spokesperson refused to comment, stating that, “The City does not comment on personnel matters.”

The claim says that the City has 21 days to file a response to the civil claim.



parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

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