Buckets of Data

July 16, 1997

SFU new: July 16, 1997: SFU, Donnelly mediation update

Filed under: Marsden,Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 4:24 am


July 16, 1997

Simon Fraser University and Liam Donnelly are engaged in a mediation before mediator Stephen Kelleher in an attempt to resolve the matter of the discharge of Liam Donnelly by Simon Fraser University from his position as head swim coach.

The lawyers for Mr. Donnelly and Simon Fraser University, Loryl Russell and Gabe Somjen, have reviewed the statement made by Rachel Marsden to the media on July 16, 1997.

Both lawyers agree that no comment should be made with respect to the allegations of Ms. Marsden respecting Mr. Donnelly since some of those matters are the subject of the mediation and may be the subject of an upcoming arbitration over the dismissal of Mr. Donnelly. However, Ms. Russell and Mr. Somjen say the mediation process in which the parties are engaged is an appropriate one in the circumstances.

Subsequent to his dismissal by the university, Mr. Donnelly exercised his right to proceed to arbitration over the dismissal. In a preliminary meeting with the Arbitration Board, there was a suggestion from the arbitrators that the parties might wish to consider resolving this matter. Following up on that suggestion, Simon Fraser University and Mr. Donnelly agreed to a mediation process prior to the arbitration in an attempt to hear all of the relevant facts and if possible settle the case. If a settlement cannot be reached, the matter will proceed to arbitration.

In the matter of the dismissal of an employee, an employer must look at the allegations made against the employee, but must also listen to the employee before determining whether a dismissal is appropriate. That process is taking place in the context of the mediation.

The mediation is not a re-hearing of the harassment panel’s conclusions in the Marsden versus Donnelly harassment complaint. The mediation process will take into account the harassment panel’s conclusions but will for the first time, hear the evidence of Mr. Donnelly and other witnesses in defence of Mr. Donnelly. Although some of the issues may overlap the harassment panel’s procedure, the issue in mediation is not the same as before the harassment panel. The issue in the mediation is the dismissal of Mr. Donnelly.

Because Simon Fraser University and Mr. Donnelly recognize that Ms. Marsden may have an interest in the outcome of the mediation and in order to fully canvass all of the issues, Ms. Marsden was asked to participate in the mediation, either as a party to the mediation or as a witness. Notwithstanding this request, Ms. Marsden has declined to participate in either capacity.

The mediation is scheduled to proceed on July 16, 17 and 24, 1997.


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