Former manager at Site C claims wrongful dismissal after raising safety concerns 

Site C south bank cofferdam, excavation, and sediment storage area. Photo by BC Hydro

VANCOUVER, B.C. — A former manager overseeing excavations on the construction site of the Site C dam has filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit claiming he was fired for raising concerns about worker safety.

Kent Peyton is suing Peace River Hydro Partners, which is the Site C dam’s main civil works contractor, for wrongful dismissal. Petrowest Corporation is also named as a defendant in the case.

Peyton claims in his lawsuit that he was hired in January, 2017 to get construction of Site C on schedule and on budget. He said that he was responsible for managing all high-level decision-making related to excavations, and was also in charge of worker health and safety.

In his civil claim notice in B.C. Supreme Court, Peyton said that back in May operations on a cofferdam excavation site were significantly behind schedule, which he said was due to inefficiencies before he was brought on board. He claims that in order to speed up construction, other officials gave workers instructions that were dangerous and likely to cause a workplace incident.

Peyton said that while visiting the site on May 10th, he discovered that at least seven excavators, three bulldozers and six drills were all working in a watertight pit, which he said were within “unsafe” proximity of each other. He also claims he pointed out that the pit’s access access roads were steeper than permitted.

Peyton said that when he instructed one of the officials to immediately relocate some of the workers to an adjacent site that his instructions were not followed. Instead, he said that the official initiated an altercation, used abusive language in front of other workers, and that the unnamed official accused Peyton of striking him. Peyton denied that allegation.

Two days after the alleged altercation took place, Peyton claims that Petrowest CEO Rick Quigley told him that he was banned from the Site C construction site until further notice. He also claims that though his former employer requested his account of the alleged altercation itself, the employer did not request information about the circumstances preceding the incident. Peyton claimed one of the project’s directors sent a memo to all Peace River Hydro Partners employees stating that Peyton was not longer employed by PRHP. Peyton subsequently received a letter on June 20th informing him that his employment with Peace River Hydro Partners had been terminated.

Neither Petrowest Corporation or Peace River Hydro Partners have yet filed responses to the lawsuit, and Peyton’s allegations have not yet been argued in court. Energeticcity.ca reached out to Peace River Hydro Partners for comment, but the company did not respond by press time.

Peyton’s B.C. Supreme Court filing can be found below.

 

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