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Former health official files lawsuit for $6.1 million

A former Alberta executive has taken legal action to the tune of more than $6.1 million against Alberta Health Services and another health official for breach of contract and defamation, claiming that they were involved in a conspiracy to remove him from his position. According to the acting CEO of AHS, the top official resigned in August 2012 after the media released information that he had accrued $346,000 in expenses during his tenure in another position from 2005 to 2008. AHS has also refused to pay him more than $500,000 in severance fees.

The former executive insists that stories of his excessive spending have been inflated. He claims that because his character and ethics were challenged, his reputation has been damages, and his prospects for employment in senior management positions has been limited. The breakdown of the requested compensation in the lawsuit includes more than $600,000 annually since Aug. 1, 2012, for loss of salary and benefits, $1 million in punitive sanctions, $4.5 million in general, and aggravated damages and related court expenses.

Some of the expenses reportedly included time at a golf club, costly meals, gas, car washes and taxis. The former executive was previously the victim of controversy when he received payment of $57,750 and $10,000 for expenses in Dec. 2008 for three weeks of work for an Ontario government agency. The former executive further stated that the other official made demeaning statements about him. He was also denied his severance pay after his resignation. The other official did not provide further commentary because of the ongoing litigation.

This man's case serves as an example of how an employer's failure to maintain contractual obligations, including severance pay, may result in litigation by a former employee. Individuals who believe they have suffered similar damages due to the actions of an employer may be able to seek comparable compensation in civil court.

Source: Sun News Network, "Ousted health exec suing for $6.1 million", Matt Dykstra, March 14, 2014

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