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

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Opinion: The Second Street development might be a problem – but it’s not council’s problem

Reporter Kate Saylors writes about the common misconception surrounding a BC Housing development.

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Petition on Second Street project presented to council

Over 1,000 signatures were gathered, but staff say council can’t do much about the project.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

B.C. pot giant Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

Most Read