Former Nacho Nyak Dun chief sues to get his job back

Ed Champion wants the courts to step in and get him his job back. The former chief of the Nacho Nyak Dun is suing the first nation claiming his dismissal earlier this year was illegal.

Ed Champion wants the courts to step in and get him his job back.

The former chief of the Nacho Nyak Dun is suing the first nation claiming his dismissal earlier this year was illegal.

Champion was fired in January, less than three years into his four-year term, and a new election was called in March. Former chief Simon Mervyn was put back in charge.

Champion beat Mervyn in the 2012 election by 10 votes.

The First Nation hasn’t said much publicly about why Champion was fired. A short statement quoted the constitution, which allows for removal from office if a member’s “conduct or behaviour calls into question the dignity or integrity of the First Nation.”

Champion has always maintained the new election was illegitimate and now he’s asked the Supreme Court of Yukon to agree.

He wants his job back and the salary that goes with it.

According to court documents Champion is unemployed and living in B.C. He says the chief’s salary is $97,931 a year. With 665 days left in his contract when he was fired, Champion says he is owed $177,208.48 plus interest. He’s also asking for other damages including the cost of moving to B.C. when he lost his job.

He insists that the council didn’t have cause or the authority to toss him.

According to Champion’s statement of claim, in October 2014, the First Nation’s governing council was “advised by counsel that the calling of an election without the entire council resigning would be unlawful.”

By December, while Champion was away, “contrary to the advice of counsel” a resolution was apparently passed calling for an election, he says.

The lawsuit says “it is a fundamental implied condition of the contract that the defendant treat the plaintiff with civility, decency, respect, and dignity.

“It is a fundamental implied term of the contract that the defendant owes to the plaintiff duties to protect him from risks at work, including protecting him from physical and mental harm; and, to provide to him an harassment-free workplace.”

The First Nation has not filed a statement of defence in the case. There is a case management conference scheduled for Nov. 24.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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