Administrative Tribunal meets on Champlain Lennoxville psychological harassment case

Administrative Tribunal meets on Champlain Lennoxville psychological harassment case
Champlain College Lennoxville (Photo : William Crooks)

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

In a virtual meeting for the Tribunal administratif du travail May 28, two attorneys argued for and against the proposition that Jennifer Coley-Gomez, dean of student services at Champlain Lennoxville in 2021, was psychologically harassed by her direct superior, Campus Director Nancy Beattie. Coley-Gomez filed the complaint on Feb 1, 2021.

Presiding over the gathering was Administrative Judge Valérie Lizotte, with Coley-Gomez, the two attorneys, three local media, and two investigators from Quebec’s ministry of higher education in attendance.

Beattie was placed on paid administrative leave in early 2024 by the Champlain Regional College Board of Governors, but responded to the board a few weeks later with two letters expressing her disbelief and disappointment over her suspension, requesting her full and immediate reinstatement.

At the hearing, Lizotte explained that each attorney, Valérie Bousquet and Marie-Hélène Jolicoeur, represent their clients in a case concerning “professional injury” and “psychological harassment.”

Bousquet then proceeded with her comments, first providing an introduction to the facts common to both parties, including the agreed upon criteria of what constitutes psychological harassment. Subsequently, she detailed, in arguments taking over an hour, the case that Beattie’s conduct counted as psychological harassment. After a brief pause, Jolicoeur responded, arguing the opposite for a similar length of time.

Concluding the hearing, Lizotte said she will place the file under advisement upon receiving the authority notebooks, with the effective date as May 28. Given the extensive evidence and required deliberation, Lizotte anticipates needing half of the 90-day period to start working on it. Her goal is to render the decision before the end of July to avoid extension requests due to vacation plans starting the second week of August.

Lizotte thanked Jolicoeur, Bousquet, Coley-Gomez, and employer representatives for their professionalism and collaboration, noting the positive atmosphere during the hearing. She expressed appreciation for the constructive handling of the case despite its complexities and thanked all participants for their involvement.

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