PM's former chef files wrongful dismissal lawsuit

Harper's chef at Stornoway sues for lost wages and humiliation after new prime minister didn't take him to 24 Sussex
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chef is cooking up something different for Canada’s new leader — a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

Henrik Lundsgaard was employed at Stornoway, the home of the leader of the official opposition, for more than four years. He assumed that when Harper made the move to 24 Sussex, he would also make the move. Instead, according to the Canadian Press, he was served with termination papers on Jan. 23, 2006 — the date Harper was elected.

A statement of claim was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. It named Harper and his wife as defendants in the suit. In the claim, Lundsgaard says his dismissal was insulting and malicious and that he wasn’t given reasonable notice of termination.

Lundsgaard, who earned $57,000 per year as Stornoway’s chef and was hired by former party leader Stockwell Day, is reportedly seeking $250,000 for lost wages, emotional trauma and damage to his reputation.

Lundsgaard alleges the prime minister’s wife told him in December, when it began to look like the Conservatives would be victorious in the federal election, that he would be offered a job as chef at 24 Sussex Drive.

Lundsgaard’s replacement is Oliver Bartsch, former chef at Rideau Hall, the governor general’s residence, who Harper reportedly lured to 24 Sussex Drive with a salary of $73,000 to $79,000.

Lundsgaard’s lawyer, Richard Bosada, told CP his client has been forced to seek psychiatric counselling.

“Lundsgaard is quite distraught by all this because of the relationship he had with the Harpers,” said Bosada. “He was broadsided by this. He thought his job was secure. He’s been in shock.”

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