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Manager who raised concerns about Yukon group homes files wrongful dismissal lawsuit

Jarrett Parker was a regional manager at health and social services who raised concerns about youth who asked to be in government care.

Jarrett Parker was released from employment last week after his probationary period ended

The Yukon Legislative Assembly building in Whitehorse. A manager who was let go from the Yukon government after raising concerns about youth who have been asked to be in government care is suing for wrongful dismissal. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

A manager who was let go from the Yukon government after raising concerns about youth who have been asked to be in government care is suing for wrongful dismissal.

Jarrett Parker was the manager of regional services with Health and Social Services (HSS) when he was released from employment last week, after his extended probationary period had ended.

On Thursday, Parker's lawyer filed a suit against the Yukon government.

The statement of claim says the assistant deputy minister and the government had no cause to dismiss Parker.

It goes on to claim his termination was based on his "diligent and dedicated performance of his duties," and on Parker's "ongoing and appropriate efforts to ensure that children at risk or in the case and custody of HSS received the appropriate level of care and services."

The allegations have not been proven in court. The Yukon government has not yet filed a statement of defence.

The lawsuit claims that Parker's dismissal was linked to his efforts to bring attention to his belief that children at risk or in government custody "were not in fact receiving the appropriate level of care and services ... in accordance with governing legislation."

It says in particular that Parker's dismissal was based "at least in part" on his email of Dec. 22 to senior departmental officials, where the plaintiff "brought to their attention ... concerns regarding previous attempts to find emergency placements for youth in the group home system and concerns regarding the system's ability to support high risk youth."

The statement of claim also refers to public statements by the deputy minister and the acting manager of Family Services, saying that the facts in the December email "are not true, essentially challenging the Plaintiff's credibility."

The lawsuit claims the government did not provide adequate notification of termination.

Parker is seeking damages for wrongful dismissal and for psychological distress.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raised in Ross River, Yukon, Nancy Thomson is a graduate of Ryerson University's journalism program. Her first job with CBC Yukon was in 1980, when she spun vinyl on Saturday afternoons. She rejoined CBC Yukon in 1993, and focuses on First Nations issues and politics. You can reach her at nancy.thomson@cbc.ca.

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