Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Health worker sues GNWT

Paul Bickford and Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Fort Smith (Nov 29/04) - A former health official in Fort Smith is suing the territorial government for more than $360,000, claiming she was harassed, verbally abused and wrongfully dismissed.

Court documents allege Linda Sheesley, the former head of patient services for the Fort Smith Regional Health Authority, developed a panic disorder directly as a result of "improper and inappropriate" treatment at the hands of her supervisor, Chief Executive Officer Dana Rasiah.

Sheesley was hired by the department in May of 2003.

In December of that year, she filed an official complaint accusing Rasiah of "verbal abuse" and "hostility."

An independent panel upheld the complaint, but no sanctions were made against Rasiah, according to a statement of claim file by Sheesley in November of this year.

While Sheesley said relations improved in the following months, she filed a second complaint against Rasiah in February of 2004.

That complaint was ultimately dismissed.

Finally in the spring of 2004, Sheesley said working conditions were so bad she was forced to take more than a month of sick leave.

The department fired her a few weeks later.

Sheesley is seeking $310,000 in wrongful dismissal costs, $50,000 in punitive damages and unspecified legal fees.

Sheesley declined to comment publicly on the case, saying only that she is undergoing treatment for the panic disorder.

A spokesperson for Health and Social Services said departmental policy prevents government officials from commenting on lawsuits that are still before the courts.

When contacted by News/North, Rasiah declined to comment.