A trial date has been set in the lawsuit involving a former Coquitlam civilian RCMP member.
The Supreme Court trial of Sherri Merritt versus the City of Coquitlam, Attorney General of Canada, Minister of Justice of B.C. and several RCMP officers is set to begin on April 20, 2015.
In a lawsuit first filed back in June 2012, Merritt claimed that she suffered harassment at the hands of her RCMP superiors while she was off work undergoing cancer treatment.
Merritt began working for the City of Coquitlam in 1994 and five years later became a civilian employee of the Coquitlam RCMP, classified as an insurance/disclosure clerk.
She claims in her legal action that she pointed out to the RCMP and the city “blatant mistakes” in disclosure, mistakes that could have led to the RCMP being found liable for violations of the Privacy Act, putting public safety at risk and possible child endangerment.
After pointing out the mistakes, Merritt claims, she was harassed by RCMP officers in the analyst reviewer section, who felt threatened by Merritt.
She claims the city and the RCMP didn’t take her concerns about improper disclosure seriously.
She submitted the letter and business plan on Sept. 19, 2011, after her doctor advised she take a six-week medical leave to undergo cancer treatment.
Merritt says she went to the detachment that evening to finish up her work before going on leave, submitted invoices and deleted letter templates and files but saved them on a USB drive for her replacement to use while she was gone.
Merritt claims she had checked with Allchin before deleting the files and his opinion was it wouldn’t be problematic.
“No information was lost or destroyed,” her lawsuit says, but she was later accused by her superiors of destroying files.
She learned a month into her medical leave, just before she was scheduled to return to work in October 2011, that a criminal investigation was being conducted into the matter.
Merritt says she phoned Wilcott, who said Merritt was under investigation for something she had done to her computer, her security clearance was cancelled and she could not return to work.
The fact she was under criminal investigation was “broadcasted” to Merritt’s co-workers through e-mails and by word of mouth, which the lawsuit claims defamed Merritt’s character and “poisoned” her workplace.
Her lawsuit claims RCMP Sgt. Jennifer Hyland went to Crown counsel and asked that Merritt be charged with “mischief to data” but the Crown did not proceed with criminal charges.
Instead, Merritt’s lawsuit claims, Crown counsel Susan McCallum sent two “warning letters” to Merritt, suggesting the plaintiff intended to “disrupt or control” her office while she was on sick leave “for the purpose of drawing attention to work [she] felt was important.”
Wilcott, McCallum and Hyland are also named as defendants in the suit.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
All the parties involved have denied the claims made in the suit.
— with files from the Vancouver Sun
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