April 19, 2016

Former Executive Sues AHS for Breach of Employment Contract

Statement of claim alleges AHS and health minister conspired against executive

A former health executive is suing the Minister of Health Fred Horne and Alberta Health Services for breach of employment contract, defamation and loss of income, according to the Edmonton Journal. The executive is seeking damages of more than $5.5 million, claiming the health minister and AHS conspired to make the executive a scapegoat for other government expense scandals that were occurring at the time.

Executive accused of misusing expense account

The executive, who was hired as the chief financial officer of the AHS in May 2012 saw his employment terminated on August 1 of that same year. The termination came about just as information was coming to light about his time as an executive with the Capital Health Authority in 2005-08.

That information showed that the executive claimed approximately $350,000 in expenses while with the Capital Health Authority. The expenses, which included expensive meals, car upgrades, and car washes, created a controversy in the media at the time.

The executive claims that the AHS initially told him that they would continue to support him in his role as chief financial officer and that the two parties were working on a public relations plan to combat the negative publicity. However, according to the executive, the AHS was conspiring with Horne to fire him in order to make him a scapegoat for other government scandals.

Lawsuit claims irreparable harm

The executive claims that ever since the termination of his contract his reputation has suffered irreparable harm and that the prospects of him being re-employed at a senior executive level in Canada have been extremely damaged. The executive is also seeking to overturn AHS’s previous decision to withhold his severance pay.

The executive has always claimed that the expense claims were legitimate and followed the rules set down at the time by Capital Health. Furthermore, a legal opinion previously submitted to Horne said that the AHS would be unlikely to succeed if it sued the executive to get back the expenses that were claimed.

Horne and the AHS refused to comment on the lawsuit and a statement of defence has yet to be submitted.

Dealing with employment disputes

The above case shows just how important it is for businesses and corporations to deal with employment disputes quickly and effectively. Any company accused of breach of employment contract, or a company that is dealing with other legal matters surrounding business and corporate law, needs to make sure they have qualified legal counsel on hand at all times. A business and corporate law firm can provide the expertise a company needs when dealing with complicated legal issues and will work closely with the company to make sure that any outstanding concerns are resolved satisfactorily.