Skip to content

Ex-Canucks employee Doerrie files human rights complaint against team

Icon Sportswire / Getty

Former Vancouver Canucks employee Rachel Doerrie filed a human rights complaint against the organization and assistant general manager Emilie Castonguay, she announced Sunday.

The complaint states that Doerrie "suffered damage to her dignity, self-esteem, and physical and mental health" due to Castonguay's disparaging comments about her mental disability related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Doerrie also claims she was wrongfully terminated. The complaint states that Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin informed her the team had cause to terminate her contract because she spoke to the media about her promotion, an allegation she denies.

The Canucks issued a response to Doerrie's complaint on behalf of Castonguay:

"These allegations by Ms. Doerrie are absolutely not true, and her allegations of what I said to her are false and inaccurate. At no time was Ms. Doerrie treated differently due to gender, a mental disability, or a physical condition."

The Canucks also issued their own statement:

"We strongly disagree with the allegations brought forth by Ms. Doerrie. Our organization provided Ms. Doerrie with all the necessary resources, support, and opportunities to succeed in her role. We acted in good faith and abided by our contractual obligations, both during and after Ms. Doerrie's employment with the organization."

Vancouver hired Doerrie as an analyst in January and promoted her to the coaching staff as an analyst/assistant to the video coach in August. She was let go in September.

Doerrie says she accepted her initial role with the Canucks after president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford assured her that the organization "would take all necessary steps to best ensure that she remained healthy and that her health conditions would be appropriately dealt with by the Canucks." Doerrie's colleagues and supervisors were made aware of her mental and physical disabilities.

Doerrie was diagnosed with PTSD in 2018, with associated panic and anxiety attacks and depression. The complaint states her PTSD is linked to a heart condition known as vasovagal syncope and a leaky heart valve, for which she received a diagnosis in 2018. She wears a heart monitor daily to manage the condition.

Castonguay was hired shortly after Doerrie and became her boss. Doerrie claims Castonguay acted "cold" toward her after she received the promotion in August.

In September, The Province's Patrick Johnston, a friend of Doerrie's, published an article featuring complimentary quotes from head coach Bruce Boudreau about Doerrie. The complaint states that Johnston texted Doerrie making her aware of Boudreau's comments. Doerrie responded to Johnston, asking him to include Boudreau's quotes in his story.

"OMG. So Kind. Wanna include those quotes when you tweet or write about it hahah. Make me look like I’m not an idiot," Doerrie texted Johnston, according to the complaint.

Once the story - which didn't feature any comments from Doerrie - was published, she shared a link to it on her Instagram, as employees are permitted to do.

The complaint states that the next day, Castonguay called Doerrie into her office to raise concerns about sharing the article and speaking to the media. Doerrie claims she didn't disclose her promotion or any confidential information to the media.

Castonguay allegedly told Doerrie: "You're not important enough to be cared about" and "No one in the media is your friend." Doerrie says Castonguay also said: "I don't know if you have what it takes to do the job, mentally."

Doerrie claims she suffered multiple cardiac episodes and anxiety attacks in the days following the meeting as a result of Castonguay's comments.

Doerrie told the Canucks' human resources department of the alleged comments and was informed that Castonguay told the department that Doerrie had spoken to the media about her promotion, according to the complaint.

Hours after Doerrie's discussion with HR, Allvin terminated her contract, per the complaint.

Castonguay is listed as a respondent in the complaint "because of the central role she played in the termination of Ms. Doerrie's employment." The Canucks are listed as a respondent because "they are also liable for the discriminatory actions of Ms. Castonguay."

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox