City of Moose Jaw denies firing employee for raising workplace harassment complaints

Three Moose Jaw city councillors have been sued by a former city employee who says he was fired after investigating sexual harassment allegations at Mosaic Place. File / Global News

The City of Moose Jaw is denying it fired an employee for investigating workplace harassment at Mosaic Place, the city’s arena.

In a statement of defence filed at Queen’s Bench in Moose Jaw, the city denies “each and every allegation” and asks the case to be dismissed with costs.

Read more: 3 Moose Jaw councillors sued for allegedly ‘suppressing sexual harassment’ complaints

Read next: Nestle to chop, slice and freeze sales of Delissio, Lean Cuisine in Canada

In June, Graham Edge, the former general manager of Mosaic Place, sued the city and three of its councillors for allegedly “suppressing sexual harassment” complaints made by eight employees at Mosaic Place.

The lawsuit alleges Edge spent months investigating the sexual harassment complaints and presented the Downtown Facilities and Fieldhouse (DFFH) board, which oversees Mosaic Place, with ideas to rectify the situation.

Story continues below advertisement

Solutions included taking the complaints to city police and terminating Myles Fister, the director of facility operations, who was accused of harassment, says the statement of claim.

Fister, who deleted his social media accounts when the allegations against him first surfaced in 2018, could not be reached for comment. A phone number associated with a Myles Fister in Moose Jaw appears to be disconnected.

Read more: Moose Jaw petition calls for removal of city councillor

Read next: Parents abandon their ticketless baby at Israeli airport check-in

According to Edge, no action was taken against Fister, and four months after he started his investigation, he was terminated for “incompatibility with staff.” Edge is now suing for wrongful dismissal, damages and lawyer fees.

According to the statement of defence, Edge’s employment was subject to a six-month probationary period, and he was let go within that period. Edge began working for the city in January 2018 and was fired on May 25, 2018.

“The reason for the termination was the plaintiff’s (Edge’s) compatibility with staff and relationships with third-party groups, which rendered him unsuitable for the position,” the statement of defence reads.

Edge was paid all wages owed and continued to be paid until June 15, 2018, the city said in the statement of defence.

Story continues below advertisement

The City of Moose Jaw denies Edge’s firing was retaliatory or that his investigation into the sexual harassment complaints was undermined or suppressed.

“The defendants deny that the plaintiff’s termination was in any way related to or caused by the plaintiff’s investigation or reporting of Myles Fister to the DFFH Board of Directors, as alleged in the claim or at all,” reads the statement of defence.

Read more: 3 Moose Jaw city councillors sanctioned following third-party investigation

Read next: Young couple who danced in viral video handed lengthy jail sentence in Iran

Following Edge’s termination, the City of Moose Jaw hired a third-party investigator, a former RCMP member, to investigate the sexual harassment allegations.

As a result, the Mosaic Place board was permanently dissolved, Fister was fired and sanctions were placed on councillors Brian Swanson, Scott McMann and Crystal Froese for their “failure in their duty to deal with the serious DFFH personnel matter,” according to the city’s investigation.

The City of Moose Jaw denied comment as the matter is before the courts. Edge could not be reached in time for publication. This article will be updated should Global News hear back.

Click to play video: 'Moose Jaw petition calls to remove city councillor'
Moose Jaw petition calls to remove city councillor

Sponsored content