Flying unfriendly skies

Before joining the provincial government, senior bureaucrat Graham Whitmarsh was the corporate development and business systems vice-president for Harmony Airways. But his departure from the company was less than harmonious. Court records obtained by Public Eye show the company dismissed him without just cause on November 30, 2006. According to a statement of claim filed against Harmony by Mr. Whitmarsh, the trouble began when he demanded payment of an outstanding $36,000 bonus for the year ending September 19, 2006. Mr. Whitmarsh got that money "after a significant period of delay." But he stated he was dismissed without notice because of that demand - an allegation denied by the company.

Mr. Whitmarsh also alleged he wasn't given adequate pay in lieu of notice - receiving just two weeks worth of his $160,000 salary. Mr. Whitmarsh - now the province's finance deputy minister - alleged that lack of notice and pay breached his contract. So he sued the company, seeking damages and bonus monies allegedly owned to him for the two months leading up to his dismal.

In response, Harmony alleged Mr. Whitmarsh was dismissed without just cause and notice because of a need to "re-structure" the airline - which ceased operations in March 2007. The company also denied owing him any bonus monies, further alleging Mr. Whitmarsh had received reasonable pay in lieu of notice - specifically, two-and-a-half months worth, totaling $22,445.67. As a result of this and other reasons, Harmony asked Mr. Whitmarsh's claim to be dismissed.

But the case never made it to court, with Mr. Whitmarsh - who joined the civil service in April 2007 as the climate action secretariat's chief carbon trading advisor - discontinuing his proceedings against Harmony on September 11, 2008.

The reason for the discontinuance isn't included in the records.

Mr. Whitmarsh, via a finance ministry spokesperson, declined comment.

Former Harmony owner David Ho didn't respond to a request for comment placed through the offices of David T K Ho Enterprises Ltd.

1 Comment

Good for Whitemarsh. Too many companies try to screw over employees in this province.

Sue people SUE!!! The number of companies that abuse basic employment laws here is jaw dropping stuff. Show some backbone, hire a lawyer and you will not be sorry.

Best part is, I bet you he got WAY more than he originally was owed.

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