Rod Davidson, 59, the city’s previous manager of bylaws, regulation and security, claims in a court filing that the timing of his firing was designed to stop him qualifying for a better monthly pension.
He was terminated less than three months before his five-year anniversary with the city and nine months away from his 60th birthday, two milestones that would have entitled him to better pension benefits, the notice of civil claim states.
Mr. Davidson’s claim says the timing of his firing “without cause and without notice” also resulted in him not qualifying to be paid out for 60 days in unused sick leave.
‘Diligently performed duties’
When he joined the city at age 54, it had been agreed during his interview in Dec. 2012 that Mr. Davidson “would work out his last five to six years” with the city, the claim states.
He had previously worked as a senior bylaw officer for the City of Penticton and had been in the municipal pension plan there for more than 15 years.
The notice of claim says Mr. Davidson continued in the pension plan after coming to Nanaimo and he “diligently and faithfully performed his duties” for the city until he was fired.
Although terminated on Sep. 7 last year while Ms. Samra was on leave, it is understood that the city manager gave the order to terminate Mr. Davidson.
At the time, he was the 12th mid-to-upper level manager to leave the city in the previous 12 months, and one of more than 34 non-union staff to leave the city during the current council’s term.
‘Suffered loss and damage’
Under the city’s bylaws, Mr. Davidson was entitled to a minimum of six months pay and potentially more based on his seniority, age and the lack of similar jobs.
At the time he earned a base salary of $104,086 and had a benefit package that included medical, dental, long and short-term disability and life insurance.
The suit claims that as a result of the city’s breach of contract, Mr. Davidson “has suffered and continues to suffer loss and damage” including lost pay, pension loss and “such other loss and damage as may be advised by counsel.”
He is asking court to award unspecified damages for breach of contract, aggravated damages, special damages, costs for bringing the suit and court ordered interest.
According to case law, aggravated damages are awarded when an employer terminates an employee in a way that is “unfair or is in bad faith by being, for example, untruthful, misleading or unduly insensitive.”
The lawsuit was filed in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver last Tuesday, one day after city council met in a closed session to discuss labour relations and potential litigation.
The city’s human resources director John Van Horne said the city hasn’t been served notice of the lawsuit.
“I don’t suspect the city will have much to say, if the matter is indeed going to court,” he said.