Court sides with OWL founder Bev Day after ugly breakup

It was an ugly breakup between the Delta society that rehabilitates injured birds of prey and its longtime executive director who founded the organization.

It was a breakup so ugly that it eventually ended up in Bev Day and the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) taking each other to court.

article continues below

OWL lost its case, while Day won her lawsuit and has been awarded around $140,000.

In late 2014, OWL fired Day without notice and allegedly for cause. The society commenced its lawsuit 2015, suing Day for breach of contract, claiming she failed in her contractual duty to ensure that OWL’s bookkeeper deduct her rent from her paycheques and failed to reimburse OWL for those payments. The society characterized Day’s conduct as “misappropriation” but later dropped that statement.

However, it still advanced an alternative claim for “unjust enrichment.”

Denying the allegation, Day launched a counterclaim for wrongful dismissal. After her counterclaim was filed, the society responded with additional grounds for termination, including Day paying herself unauthorized salary and vacation pay, as well as insubordination.

The case would drag on until this year due to a number of delays.

In reasons for judgement released this week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge noted the society’s own documents and the evidence of its former bookkeepers clearly demonstrate there was never any basis for its claims that Day received unauthorized payments.

It was ruled that Day’s employment was wrongly terminated, without cause, because OWL’s board of directors “rushed to judgment and assumed the worst possible construction of alleged events involving Ms. Day, having carried out only a partial and scant investigation. The reasons put forward by the board at the time of Ms. Day’s termination were factually inaccurate and did not justify her dismissal.”
The judge noted OWL was obliged, as part of its employment contract with Day, to pay the cost of her on-site residence.  

It was also determined there was no merit to OWL’s claim “that Ms. Day was appropriately dismissed for neglecting her job duties for several years prior to her termination.”

The judge noted that OWL “was a significant and consuming part of her life and sense of self-worth and her vulnerability at the time of termination and thereafter as she was forced to defend meritless claims concerning her honesty and character.” 

The award to Day included, among other things, 24-months' severance and $30,000 in aggravated damages.

 

 

 

 

Read Related Topics

© 2018 Delta Optimist

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Delta Optimist welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus
  • SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

    Subscription Club: $5/month or $50/year - Receive monthly deals from local merchants.

Opinion POLL

Now that marijuana is legal, would you like to see a retail pot store open in Delta eventually?

or  view results

Popular Delta Optimist