Wrongful dismissal suit launched against OKIB Group of Companies | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Wrongful dismissal suit launched against OKIB Group of Companies

The former CEO of the OKIB Group of Companies is suing the band for damages after being fired less than a year into his employment.

Trevor Thera filed the suit in the Supreme Court of B.C. in Kelowna yesterday, March 21.

Thera’s claiming an unspecified amount of damages for “severance in lieu of notice for wrongful dismissal.” He’s also claiming for loss of salary, aggravated damages, punitive damages and costs.

The suit is filed against OKIB Management Services Limited Partnership and OKIB Management Services GP Ltd. that are members of a group of companies operating as OKIB Group of Companies.

Thera moved to Kelowna from Alberta to take the $159,000-a-year job that started on March 28, 2022.

His employment contract included a termination clause that said once he passed his three months of probation the company could terminate him without cause if it paid him one month’s salary for each year of service.

“On or about Jan. 30, 2023, Mr. Thera was advised by Mr. Byron Louis, chair of the OKIB Holdings Group Ltd. Board of Directors, that certain unspecified allegations of sexual harassment and erratic, potentially threatening and unprofessional behaviour had been made against Mr. Thera,” the court filing says.

He was placed on paid administrative leave while the allegations were investigated.

Thera was never given details of what the allegations actually were, the outcome of the investigation or even if there was an investigation, the filing says.

That lack of communication caused him to “suffer significant mental distress,” the claim says.

The filing also alleges the allegations were not kept confidential and, in early February, when his wife dropped by his office to pick up a few of his personal effects, staff suggested she take everything because he would not be returning to work.

On Feb. 10, 2023, he was given a letter of termination without cause. He was paid one month’s salary.

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“Mr. Thera suffered significant mental distress, over and beyond that which could be reasonably expected from a simple loss of employment, due to the conduct of the LP (Limited Partnership) in carrying out (or failing to carry out) the investigation of the allegations, failing to keep the nature of the allegations confidential, failing to communicate with Mr. Thera and ultimately terminating his employment without further explanation regarding the allegations,” the claim says.

“In addition, due to the serious nature of the allegations and the LP’s failure to keep the allegations confidential, Mr. Thera’s reputation has been negatively impacted, causing him further distress and damaging his ability to seek alternative employment.”

Since then he has not been able to find equivalent employment and such high level jobs are rare in Kelowna, the claim says.

The allegations have not been proven in court and the OKIB companies have 21 days to file a response.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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