West Kelowna's former assistant fire chief is suing the District in a $152,000 wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
Kerry Klonteig was dismissed back in Oct, 2013, allegedly for cause arising from an administrative driving prohibition while driving a district vehicle.
Klonteig's lawsuit claims that the District of West Kelowna, "failed to implement alternative disciplinary actions or any progressive discipline consistent with its treatment of other district employees in similar circumstances."
Klonteig started with the District of West Kelowna on June 18, 2008.
At the time of his hiring West Kelowna Fire Chief Wayne Schnitzler said, “Kerry is a strong leader, he brings to the department a wealth of knowledge and understanding of fire service.”
Before working for the district Klonteig worked for the City of Kelowna Fire Department for 13-years, the last three years as an assistant fire chief.
At the time of his dismissal he was 48-years-old and making $101,581 annually plus performance bonuses and benefits.
The lawsuit claims that he has been unable to find anything comparable since.
“Mr. Klonteig continues to be hindered in his search for employment by reason of his specialized skills and dedication to two employers over 18 years,” states the lawsuit adding that there is limited availability at other fire departments in the region.
The suit claims the District did not provide Klonteig any notice prior to his dismissal or any severance package in lieu.
As a response Klonteig is suing for $152,372 in general damages plus performance bonuses and benefits he would have earned during the reasonable notice period of the wrongful dismissal. An additional amount of special damages will also be determined at trial.
Klonteig claims the suit is based on the legal basis of wrongful dismissal and that the District of West Kelowna breached his employment contract without appropriate notice of termination or adequate payment in lieu causing him to suffer damage, loss and expense.
The District of West Kelowna's Communications Supervisor Kirsten Jones says the District will not be commenting as the issue is before the courts.