Saturday, July 26, 2008

 

Lawsuit threatens to shine some light in the shadows of the ICBC scandal

By Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun
- July 26, 2008

VICTORIA - While the Insurance Corp. of B.C. refuses to say if anyone was fired over the scandal at its research facility, a former vice-president now says he was made a scapegoat in the affair.


Mark Withenshaw has launched a lawsuit, seeking a substantial payout and damages, arising out of his dismissal from ICBC a few weeks after the scandal broke.


"The dismissal was in bad faith and was for political reasons, related to an embarrassing scandal that involved employees of the defendant other than the plaintiff," says the writ filed in B.C. Supreme Court this month.

The 27-year veteran of the government-owned auto insurance corporation was vice-president of driver services at the time of his ouster. He flatly denies having "line accountability" for the material damage research and training facility, focus of the scandal. "However, he was wrongfully made a scapegoat through the dismissal," according to the writ.

Withenshaw says he was called in by then ICBC president Paul Taylor on March 19 and fired "without cause."
The company offered 18 months' salary, about $300,000, as severance.

But what really irked Withenshaw -- "this came as a complete shock" -- was that his soon-to-be-ex-employer downgraded his performance rating, denying him what he regards as his earned entitlement under the company bonus plan.
His suit claims a 20-per-cent bonus for 2007 as well as for the 18 months covered by the severance payment, about $100,000 in all. He also claims "damages for breach of contract," and for the "attack on his reputation, mental distress and damage to his re-employability."

ICBC has so far refused to comment on the writ, nor has it filed a response in court. But if the case goes ahead, it may shed light on the to-date murky details of how ICBC handled the scandal at its Burnaby-based research facility.

Withenshaw is one of three ICBC employees named in media reports as having left the company after the scandal broke.
Interim CEO Geri Prior has confirmed that disreputable practices were "condoned by a specific line of authority at ICBC" and also that those responsible "are no longer employed" at ICBC. But she refused to say how many have left, if any were fired, and whether the company paid any compensation in connection with the departures.

{Snip} ...


The Withenshaw writ (well worth a look) can be read online at www.cbc.ca/bc, the website for CBC British Columbia, which reported the story last week.

See: bc-080718-icbc-court.pdf ... and: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/07/18/bc-icbc-suit.html

Read Vaughn Palmer's full column at: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=b3d6d632-e3b3-482a-b7df-3df8422e494e

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The trial of Basi, Virk, Basi could also shed light in the shadows of B.C. Rail. It's fair to ask: what's going on in British Columbia? Who let the dogs out? - BC Mary.

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Comments:
Rich Coleman let the dogs out! And lets them sleep over when they deserve a treat. After all, they are working dogs!?
 
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