Vernon loses final court battle over fired firefighter | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon loses final court battle over fired firefighter

Fired in March 2018, Vernon Fire Service captain Brent Bond has won an appeal to get his job back.
Image Credit: Image Credit: BCFFA
February 22, 2021 - 5:50 PM

The City of Vernon has lost a long-running battle over the firing of the fire captain it caught engaging in a brief moment of "consensual sexual activity" in the fire chief's office nearly three years ago.

A City of Vernon media statement says the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the City's case today, Feb. 22 citing that it could not overturn an earlier decision made by the B.C. Labour Relations Board.

The City had appealed to the Supreme Court hoping for a judicial review after the Labour Relations Board ordered the City to rehire the dismissed fire captain.

The ruling puts an end to several appeals made by the City.

The case dates back to March 2018 when a hidden surveillance camera – set up in the fire chief's office for different reasons – caught a female dispatcher performing oral sex on fire Capt. Brent Bond.

The pair were promptly fired but the Fire Fighters union took the case to the Labour Relations Board which forced the City to reinstate Bond in his $130,000 a year job in the spring of 2019. The dispatcher also won her case, but as her job had been contracted-out she had no employment to return to.

After the City lost at the Labour Relations Board it took the issue to the Supreme Court.

The City says the Supreme Court could only overturn the Labour Board’s decision if it concluded the decision was "patently unreasonable" but it had failed to do so.

"While the City was aware of the hurdle it was facing, it is disappointed in the Court’s decision. The City remains of the view that termination is the appropriate outcome for egregious misconduct of this nature, particularly in circumstances where the trust necessary in the employment relationship has been lost," the release says.

Court documents released over the years during the legal proceeding gave an insight into a fire department rife with distrust.

"The City will continue to set high standards of service, ethics, integrity and honesty for its employees. I believe our taxpayers would expect nothing less,” City of Vernon Chief Administrative Officer Will Pearce said in the release. "The conduct of these two individuals should not detract from the professionalism and integrity of the many proud employees of the City."

While the City doesn't say how much these legal proceedings cost, the city spent $240,000 on earlier legal fees in 2018 and 2019 related to the firing of Capt. Brent Bond.

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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