UPDATE: Whistleblower going after the city for $425k

UPDATE: Whistleblower going after the city for $425k

CORNWALL, Ontario – A former nurse at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge in Cornwall is suing the city for $425,000, plus costs, to compensate her for harassment she endured after blowing the whistle on a case of elder abuse at the facility.

Diane Shay, currently on long-term disability, said since initiating her lawsuit in January the city has yet to file a response to her request for documents and has made the decision to speak out concerning her ordeal in hopes of educating the public about the plight of whistleblowers.

“This is not so much about money. This is to communicate…how whistleblowers are treated,” she said.

The city plead guilty in 2011 to retaliating against Shay, who made a complaint on her own to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care about an incident at the lodge. As a result of her decision to go the ministry to file a complaint, which is mandated by law, the city began a campaign of abuse against her.

The city was fined $15,000, though specific charges against then city human resources manager Robert Menaugh were shelved.

Menaugh has since been relieved of his duties and replaced and then CAO Paul Fitzpatrick has retired.

Shay complains that that isn’t enough. She wasn’t even afforded the opportunity to read a victim-impact statement into the court record, which is now something that often takes place.

“This is sending a horrible message to the community,” she said.

Shay’s lawsuit seeks $350,000 in aggravated and punitive damages, as well as $75,000 in special damages, plus legal costs.

She has not brought a lawyer on to help her with the lawsuit, though one is waiting in the wings.

“I’m not paying for one until I have to,” she said.

City CAO Norm Levac said the municipality is not making public comments at this time.

“We can’t comment on something that is before the courts,” he said. “But the city is defending the litigation that has been initiated.”

Shay said she’s going public now, in the midst of a municipal election, because she wants voters aware of her case. She takes direct aim at city council, which last year unanimously adopted a report from an investigator that cleared the city of breaching whistleblower policy.

“I think because of the election that’s why they have been dragging their feet,” she said of the response to her lawsuit. “This group adopted the (report).

“If most of them (aren’t re-elected) they won’t be held accountable.”

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