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

Sound of Prince Rupert’s cherry trees to be played around the world

Salvaged wood from chopped sakura trees is being crafted into taiko drum sticks

The Postmen collect 45 boxes of supplies for wildfire relief

Prince Rupert donations of food, water and toilet paper to be delivered to Burns Lake first

Coastal police unit operating with half its members

RCMP report to Port Edward council reveals low numbers on the coastal force

In Our Opinion: How to lose an ammonia tank— ask the city

How did a 68kg cylinder of ammonia remain unseen after multiple audits and assessments

Donation drop off tonight for B.C. wildfire victims

The Postmen have set up a three-day depot at the Moose Hall in Prince Rupert for disaster relief

This Week Podcast – Episode 98

From the Prince Rupert Golf Club, catch up on sports, entertainment and news highlights

The Northern View 2018 Readers Choice

Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Sept. 7

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Fredericton widow swears at Trudeau during condolence call

Widow of man killed in Fredericton shooting says she swore at Trudeau during condolence call.

Tim Hortons promises leaky lids on coffee cups to be phased out

Tim Hortons looks to rebuild its brand with better lid, new marketing campaign

‘There’s been a lot of devastation:’ man whose family lost homes in B.C. fire

The provincial government declared a state of emergency Wednesday as more than 550 wildfires burn in every corner of B.C.

Capsized tug now out of the water at the mouth of B.C.’s Fraser River

The 19-metre-long George H. Ledcor capsized late Monday.

Most Read