Calgary Jewish Academy appeals Ben Karmel's $900K wrongful dismissal case

The Calgary Jewish Academy has appealed a court decision ordering it to pay almost $900,000 in damages to its former principal who was found to be wrongfully terminated.

Former principal claimed he was victim of months-long sabotage campaign by former board chair Eric Kettner

A Calgary judge found Ben Karmel (left) was wrongfully dismissed from his job as the principal of the Calgary Jewish Academy after board chair Eric Kettner (right) led an 18-month campaign to oust him. (Calgary Jewish Academy/Facebook)

The Calgary Jewish Academy has appealed a court decision ordering it to pay almost $900,000 in damages to its former principal after he was found to be wrongfully dismissed.

In November, Calgary Judge A.D. Macleod awarded Ben Karmel $870,000 in damages for wrongful termination, saying former school board chair Eric Kettner launched a months-long campaign to sabotage him.

The judge found that Kettner excluded Karmel from meetings and sent negative emails about him to colleagues as part of his effort to turn the board against the principal.

The court heard Karmel was "near his breaking point" by the end of 2012, taking medication for sleep and depression.

In the appeal filed on Dec. 14, the Calgary Jewish Academy is asking the court to determine "whether the trial judge erred in finding that [CJA] did not have just cause to terminate [Karmel's] employment."

The CJA is also asking the appeals court to revisit the amount of the damages awarded.

Karmel was awarded $670,000 in damages under the employment contract, plus $200,000 in aggravated damages for the harm he suffered because of the school's conduct.


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