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

Scammer targeting elderly in Kelowna with broken-down vehicle story

A door to door scammer is in Kelowna, targeting seniors according to Kelowna RCMP

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Okanagan volunteers reflect on building classrooms in Nepal

Through the charity Her International, the volunteer group built four classrooms

Cool Arts’ double header event features Lake Country artist

Celebration of artist Mark Mercer’s work to run alongside community art night in Kelowna.

Kelowna rallies around father of five after cancer diagnosis

Fundraisers are planned throughout November

Weekend weather update: Crisp and sunny

This weekend will see lots of sunshine and below season temperatures for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

$224.5 million announced for Highway 1 bridge replacement in Sicamous

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says bridge option will be announced next month

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Accident north of Vernon involves SUV and semi truck

Minor delays reported in Highway 97 crash

Ontario driver rolls car in Okanagan

Crash near Vernon follows reports of erratic driving

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Most Read