The president of the B.C. Nurses Union announced on Wednesday she has been placed on an administrative leave by the union, following a complaint filed against her she is calling “false allegations.”
Gayle Duteil has been off work since May, originally going on a medical leave while she was being treated for breast cancer.
Duteil said in a Facebook post she was eager to return to work after being granted medical clearance, but wasn’t able to after a complaint was made against her in June.
Since then, she has been barred from the union’s office or attending any event sponsored by the union, while the investigation into the complaint goes on.
“Even though it has been over three months since the complaint was made, I have not been provided with the details of the complaint, or any explanation as to why I cannot attend union events, communicate with union staff, or perform my duties,” Duteil wrote online.
She added that she has filed a complaint to the B.C. Labor Relations Board and the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
“My role as president is extremely important to me, and I want to continue working on your behalf as your president. I feel that members of the executive and the executive director have made decisions that are not in the best interests of the union,” Duteil added.
Umar Sheikh, the union’s chief executive officer and executive director, said the “numerous” allegations received by the union’s council against Duteil are “very serious,” but he asserted they are only allegations at this point.
“While the investigation is occurring, and we expect it to conclude very quickly, Gayle Duteil is on a fully-paid administrative leave,” Sheikh said.
He went on to say he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the allegations, noting an obligation of privacy for Duteil and that it would be improper with an independent investigation ongoing.
Duteil is from Osoyoos and worked as an acute care nurse at the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver, prior to becoming president of the B.C. Nurses Union in 2014.
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