Action an abuse of process

Ex-employee not entitled to bring action against a co-worker whose report resulted in her termination
|Canadian Employment Law Today

In 1992 North York General Hospital dismissed nurse Ilona Disher. Her dismissal was precipitated by a report made by a co-worker, Theresa Kowal, to the hospital’s director of nursing expressing concerns about Ms. Disher’s behaviour. Following receipt of Ms. Kowal’s report, the hospital investigated Ms. Disher’s conduct and as a result terminated her, alleging that Ms. Disher had improperly administered and documented narcotics.

As a result of the dismissal Ms. Disher brought an action against the hospital claiming damages for wrongful dismissal and mental distress. In the course of this litigation the hospital produced two copies of a memorandum from Ms. Kowal. Ms. Disher brought an action against Ms. Kowal alleging falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations and intimidation.

The wrongful dismissal action was settled in November 1999 and the action against the hospital was dismissed. Ms. Disher, an employee of 15 years, received 21 months’ salary as compensation. Ms. Disher signed a release but the settlement did not include the action against Ms. Kowal.