Neal Hall (Postmedia News) – Another woman has filed a claim of harassment against the RCMP, but this time it’s a civilian clerk who worked for the Mounties.
Sherri Merritt claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court that she suffered harassment at the hands of her RCMP superiors while she was off work undergoing cancer treatment.
Her lawyer, Tom Beasley, said Friday that he represents about a dozen RCMP employees who have filed lawsuits against the force.
Merritt, 45, began working for the City of Coquitlam in 1994 and five years later became a civilian employee of the Coquitlam RCMP as an insurance-disclosure clerk.
She claims in her legal action that she pointed out to the RCMP and the city “blatant mistakes” in disclosure, mistakes that could have led to the RCMP being found liable for violations of the Privacy Act, putting public safety at risk and possible child endangerment.
After pointing out the mistakes, Merritt claims, she was harassed by RCMP officers in the analyst reviewer section, who felt threatened by her.
She submitted the letter and business plan on Sept. 19, 2011, after her doctor advised her to take a six-week medical leave to undergo cancer treatment.
She says she went to the detachment that evening to finish up her work before going on leave, submitted invoices and deleted letter templates and files but saved them on a USB drive for her replacement to use while she was gone.
Merritt claims she had checked with Allchin before deleting the files and his opinion was it wouldn’t be problematic, but while on medical leave she was accused of destroying files.
Merritt says she phoned Wilcott, who said Merritt was under investigation for something she had done to her computer, her security clearance was cancelled and she could not return to work.
Her lawsuit claims RCMP Sgt. Jennifer Hyland went to Crown counsel and asked that Merritt be charged with “mischief to data” but the Crown did not proceed with criminal charges.
The city has refused to reinstate Merritt and told her on March 1 to apply for Employment Insurance.
Merritt is seeking an injunction to have her security clearance reinstated and is seeking damages for defamation, lost wages, mental distress and loss of future income.
Named as defendants are the Attorney General of Canada, the Minister of Justice for B.C., the City of Coquitlam, Wilcott, McCallum and Hyland.
The allegations have not been proven in court.