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In a notice of civil claim, the 48-year-old says he was arrested by the Ontario Provincial Police, his property was searched and his computer was seized after WestJet “maliciously communicated” that he was “the caller who had made the bomb threats.”
Kippen claims he was fired on June 26, 2015, for “insubordination” after missing a meeting he said he couldn’t attend because of a mental health crisis. The first of five bomb threats happened the next day.
In its response, WestJet says Kippen was called to a “mandatory” meeting to discuss allegations of fraud by a member of the public and claims by three fellow pilots who allegedly lost thousands after lending Kippen money.
WestJet denies having told police it believed Kippen was the caller.
After he was fired, the airline claims, investigators obtained a production order for Kippen’s employment records in relation to the bomb threats.
In a telephone interview, the pilot said he had nothing to do with the bomb threats.
“Each of these threats were ultimately determined to be a hoax,” Kippen’s claim says. “The bomb threat calls were unidentifiable to WestJet, being in a computer-disguised voice encrypting sounds and gender.”
Kippen claims he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in February 2012 and spent time on both short-term and long-term disability.
In the month before he was fired, Kippen claims WestJet told him he was required to attend meetings to discuss “past business practices” and “claims of theft.” But Kippen says he wasn’t provided any particulars.
As such, Kippen says he told WestJet representatives he couldn’t meet until “his mental health improved.”
The response also details allegations involving three WestJet pilots including one who said he lost $ 180,000 in a business deal with Kippen and another who obtained a judgment against him for $ 15,865.05.
The airline claims supervisors attempted to meet with Kippen to discuss the allegations, sending him an ultimatum ahead of the final meeting: “His employment would be terminated for abandonment if he failed to attend.”
“The medical note did not specify the plaintiff’s medical limitations or restrictions on June 26, 2015,” the response says.
“Nor did the note provide any explanation for the plaintiff’s failure to communicate with WestJet prior to the meeting.”
The response also claims Kippen has since been charged criminally with fraud in Ontario.
Kippen’s lawyer, Howard Smith, says he’s confident those charges will soon be resolved in his client’s favour.
“The allegation of fraud and theft are close to scurrilous. They’re so much nonsense.” said Smith, who claims two of the three pilots named will be witnesses for Kippen.
Kippen claims the OPP stopped him on July 14, 2015, on a highway in southern Ontario.
At the London detachment, Kippen claims police “then asked him questions about his alleged involvement in the recent bomb threats against WestJet. Kippen stated that he was not involved in any bomb threat. Kippen was advised by the investigator that WestJet had said he was the bomb threat caller.”
The claim says “audio recordings of the calls in question subsequently demonstrated that there was no evidence that Kippen was the caller and Kippen was released.”
On the same day, Kippen claims police searched his property, seizing his personal computer, cellphone, old WestJet ID badge and aviation licence.
He’s suing for damages for infliction of emotional distress, claiming the situation worsened his emotional condition “such that he entertained suicidal thoughts.”
WestJet denies Kippen’s claims.
In response, the airline is seeking special costs against its former pilot, claiming that prior to filing his claim, Kippen threatened to embarrass the company. WestJet claims he wants to undermine the airline’s public reputation.
None of the claims by either party have been proven in court.