Vernon loses first step in appeal against fire Capt. fired for sexual activity in chief's office - InfoNews

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Vernon loses first step in appeal against fire Capt. fired for sexual activity in chief's office

Vernon Fire Department
May 14, 2019 - 4:41 PM

VERNON - The City of Vernon has lost its first challenge of a controversial arbitration decision forcing it to retain a fire captain who was fired for having sexual activity in the fire chiefs office.

The fire captain, also a leader in the union local, won a wrongful dismissal case in March but the City of Vernon promised to fight the decision. It lost round one but is still in the ring. Its appeal is ongoing, but it lost its application to stay the decision while the appeal process continues.

The City made an application to the Labour Relations Board April 4, to stay the re-hiring of fire captain Brent Bond while an appeal against his re-hiring was pending.

However, Labour Relations Board vice-chair and registrar Koml Kandola dismissed the city's application for a stay in a decision April 26.

Captain Bond made headlines in March 2018 when a surveillance camera, that had been set for a different reason, caught him with a colleague in a "brief episode of consensual sexual activity." Both Bond and the colleague were promptly fired but appealed the decision and won. The City of Vernon was forced by an arbitration panel's decision to re-hire Bond March 15. The other fired colleague had since had her job contracted out, so the board did not order the City to re-hire her.

According to the decision, the City had argued for a stay due to the "egregious nature of the misconduct, the public nature of the case, and the lack of trust it has both in Bond and the viability of the employment relationship."

The City argues without a stay, it would be required to reinstate Bond "in the face of serious concerns about its ability to trust him."

The City says the employment relationship with Bond has been "rendered unworkable", because of his "misconduct and dishonesty" before he was fired as well as his "continued dishonesty at the arbitration hearing."

In the decision, the City also argues Bond's history of bullying and harassment, as well as concerns about retribution against a firefighter who gave evidence at the arbitration panel, are all reasons to allow the stay.

"Reinstating him during the appeal threatens to disrupt and set back the workplace culture in what is a critical public service," the ruling states.

According to the decision the Union objects to the evidence given by the City that alleges that Bond cannot be trusted and that the workplace climate has improved since his departure.

The City argues reinstating Bond while the appeal remains outstanding would be a pointless or futile exercise and would prejudice the outcome of the appeal. 

However, Kandola disagreed and says the City has not established that it would be prejudiced without a stay and dismisses the application.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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