UTSU filed a civil lawsuit against three of its former employees last Monday and at least one of the defendants has now been served.
According to the statement of claim, the UTSU is suing former president Yolen Bollo-Kamara, former VP internal and services Cameron Wathey, and former executive director Sandra Hudson for $277,508.62 for “amounts improperly paid” to Hudson before her employment was terminated last April.
The lawsuit calls for an additional $200,000 in damages for “breach of fiduciary duty” on the part of the three defendants.
According to the statement of claim, Bollo-Kamara and Wathey were involved in the decision to terminate Hudson last April without cause. According to the termination agreement included in the claim and signed by the three defendants on April 16, Hudson would be paid two years’ severance, in addition to six weeks’ salary in lieu of notice, five weeks’ vacation, eight weeks in benefit coverage, and $97,026.93 claimed in overtime hours.
The statement was filed by Monkhouse Law to the Superior Court of Justice on September 21.
A mutual release form signed the same day as the termination agreement stipulates that neither Hudson nor UTSU can enter into legal proceedings related to Hudson’s employment or termination. The current statement of claim however pleads that the court declare this document void.
The claim also accuses Hudson of deleting confidential information from the hard drive of the UTSU executive director’s computer.
None of the allegations have been independently verified and they have yet to be proven in court.
Bollo-Kamara has confirmed to The Medium that she has been served with the statement of claim.
In a statement provided to The Medium, Bollo-Kamara declined to comment on the pending legal action.
“For legal reasons, I’m unable to comment on the specific details of this case,” said Bollo-Kamara. “However, I want to be very clear that I made a decision that I believed to be in the best interest of the students who elected me, and I did not benefit personally from this in any way. It’s unfortunate to find myself named in a lawsuit and the target of hurtful comments on social media and elsewhere as a result, but I am confident that I will be vindicated.”
The defendants will have 20 to 30 days after being served to file a statement of defence. It is unknown if Wathey or Hudson had been served as of press time.
As of press time, Wathey and Hudson did not respond to The Medium’s request for comment.
According to a statement issued by UTSU, the union is willing to settle the lawsuit through either arbitration or mediation.
“We are open to arbitration or mediation as a way of resolving the issue, and would prefer a non-court resolution, but the advice of our legal counsel was to follow this procedure of filing a claim,” said the statement issued on Thursday evening. “The UTSU is pursuing this course of action to ensure that its resources for serving students are protected and so that our members are not limited from informed participation in our union.”
- UTSU’s statement of claim (.pdf, 3.5 mb)