Former CEO and President of the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), Dr. Paul Woods has filed a lawsuit against the health centre over his wrongful dismissal.
The $2.5 million lawsuit claims that his firing was done in bad faith and is a wrongful dismissal. The LHSC fired Paul Woods in January 2021, stating that he traveled to the United States multiple times during the pandemic last year without securing any official approvals from the firm. Woods countered by mentioning that the Board Chair, Amy Walby, was kept informed about his travels to the US since March 2020.
Wrongful Dismissal Lawyers– Case Facts of Paul Woods Vs. London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC)
Woods made multiple allegations against the LHSC and the manner in which he was fired. The claim seeks damages of $1,00,000 for violating his human rights under sections of the Ontario Human Rights Code and $1 million for general damages in lieu of “loss of reputation.” Additionally, he has claimed $1.4 million laid down as per his employment contract representing pension, salary, and benefits scheduled to expire in January 2023.
LHSC has claimed that Wood’s travel was unauthorized by them. His frequent trips outside Canada affected the morale and confidence of its 15000+ physicians, staff, and the entire community under his leadership.
The LHSC further claimed that they did not have any advance intimation of his travel. Neither did they have any internal process to authorize the personal travels of the CEO of a public hospital. The federal government has recommended people against undertaking non-essential cross border travel to the US as a measure to control the Covid-19’s spread in Canada.
Woods has confirmed traveling to the United States five times after the onset of the pandemic to meet his daughter and fiancé who live there. He also shared that he quarantined himself for 14 days at his home after each visit as mandated by Ontario’s Public Health rules for the pandemic.
In the Statement of Claim against the LHSC, Woods cited his email communication with the Board Chair, Amy Walby that he did give prior intimation of his travels in June, August and October 2020. As per the claim, Susan Nickle, the Chief Counsel and Privacy Officer of LHSC, was also informed about the travels.
Wrongful Dismissal Lawyers- Legal Implications of the Case
Michael Wright, Woods’s lawyer, asserted that Woods was facing “significant hardship,” which was why he made multiple cross-border trips to meet his immediate family in Michigan. Since Woods, a Canadian citizen holding permanent residency in the US did not have any family in London, he had to travel to meet his family staying in the US.
On June 16, Woods discussed his upcoming travel plan with Walby and emailed her about it. Walby appreciated the prior intimation given by Woods and affirmed the need for quarantining post the visit as per LHSC’s work from policy for leaders. Another email communication attached to the claim mentions that on August 5, 2020, he wanted to work remotely and travel to the US as his fiancée, a US citizen, could not come to London due to travel restrictions imposed in her area.
Walby’s email response on August 6 states that while the board should be informed of the travel their approval may not be required.
Released on January 11, 2021, the LHSC media statement confirmed ending Paul Woods’ employment as President and Chief Executive Officer. The Statement of Claim calls this public statement “defamatory and inaccurate” since he was following Walby’s advice where she never gave any indication that board approval may have been required for his travels. Further, the claim mentioned that LHSC had made a deliberate attempt to shift the blame to Woods while excusing itself from possible criticism.
Wrongful Dismissal Lawyers- How We Can Help
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