Worker who ran from hostage-taker fired from WCB

A former employee of the Workers' Compensation Board who escaped a 2009 hostage-taking says she was victimized because of the mental disorder she suffered from the ordeal.
Administrative assistant Nicole Ferguson was fired from the Workers' Compensation Board in June. (CBC)

 A former employee of the Workers' Compensation Board who escaped a hostage-taking two years ago believes her employer victimized her over the mental disorder she suffered as a result of her ordeal.

Nicole Ferguson, an administrative assistant, was able to run from Patrick Clayton when he took nine people hostage in the Edmonton WCB building on Oct. 21, 2009.

Although she was not held at gunpoint by Clayton in an 8th floor boardroom, the experience still exacted a psychological toll.

Ferguson was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was ordered to take a month off work.  But things didn't get better when she came back.

"My supervisor told me that if I was seen to be crying at my desk, I would be sent home," Ferguson said this week. "I was told because I wasn't smiley and happy at team meetings that I was a disgrace."

Ferguson was fired after she returned from vacation in June. She believes the WCB let her go her because of her mental state.

"It just shows, still,  mental disorder is not taken seriously in our society. At all," she said.

The WCB would not comment directly on Ferguson's case, citing privacy concerns.

A spokesperson told CBC News that the organization tries to accommodate employees going through personal difficulties, and termination is "the last step" in a long process.

With files from the CBC's Janice Johnston