Fired chef tried to sue Bay for $3M

By Alan Cairns

Sat, August 28, 2004

DEAD GUNMAN Tony Brookes filed a $3-million constructive dismissal lawsuit against the Hudson's Bay Co. and a supervisor two years ago after he lost his chef's job of 23 years. In a statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice on March 26, 2002, Brookes said he was "a competent, loyal and dedicated" Bay employee until a relatively new supervisor "embarked on a conscious and deliberate campaign" to undermine his authority.

Brookes, who started as a porter with Simpsons in 1977 and was a veteran supervisory cook by the time that firm was acquired by the Bay in 1990, alleges that he was happily employed until Anne Donnelly became his boss and routinely ridiculed and belittled him, implored subordinates to disrespect and avoid him and tried to "show him up" to senior management.

Brookes alleged Donnelly's campaign began when he told senior management about "what he believed to be improper inventory and record-keeping practices."

Brookes said he went on short-term disability in August 2001 upon doctors' advice amid health problems.

He alleged the Bay retaliated by forcing him to take vacation days during his illness.

In a statement of defence and counterclaim, The Bay and Donnelly said Brookes sought a severance package when the food hall closed and he moved to the restaurant, cafe and kitchen.

In May and August 2001, he received warnings for "insubordinate conduct," over comments he made to Donnelly.

After the second warning, "(Brookes) left (work) claiming he was sick," it is alleged.

The Bay said Brookes was terminated due to restructuring.

The suit was dismissed in April upon the consent of all parties.