City of Nanaimo sued by senior manager for wrongful dismissal

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
February 23, 2017 - 6:18pm Updated: February 23, 2017 - 8:00pm

After taking on a short-term contract to fill a maternity leave position, Brian Denbigh says he was wrongfully terminated. The City says they didn't have to list a cause for firing him.File photo/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — After more than 40 years working with the municipality, a former senior manager is suing the City of Nanaimo, claiming he was wrongfully terminated.

According to court documents filed with B.C. Supreme Court, former roads and traffic services manager Brian Denbigh was fired due to “policy changes” from his position temporarily filling a maternity leave.

Both the initial claim by Denbigh and the response from the City acknowledge he would take over the manager of sanitation role from Charlotte Davis when she went on maternity leave in February 2016. At the end of that five month assignment, he would retire.

However, on March 9, 2016 the City cancelled his contract.

The documents filed by Denbigh's legal counsel state he was fired due to “policy change by the City focused on training new employees and promoting from within, as opposed to retaining employees nearing the end of their tenure or re-hiring retirees,” and it was an “arbitrary and willful breach” of his contract.

The response from the City confirmed Denbigh was fired without cause but there was nothing illegal about his termination.

They claimed the contract included a condition they could fire him at any time as long as they provided enough notice according to official regulations.

Denbigh is seeking damages for wrongful dismissal as well as punitive damages, though no specific amount was listed in the court documents.

The City denied breaching Denbigh's contract and causing any loss or damage.

None of the claims have been proven in court.


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