An RCMP officer based in Surrey is suing the province, federal government and three Mounties, alleging she was harassed and controlled in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at E Division’s regional office in Newton.
Elisabeth Mary Couture filed a civil suit in B.C. Supreme Court on Dec. 1 against the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the Attorney General of Canada and three RCMP officers.
Couture alleges her troubles began in May, 2009 when she got a job at the Drug and Organized Crime Awareness Service (DOCAS). It was there her superiors allegedly told her she should not engage in “idle chatter or gossiping” and should not speak with her colleagues without approval from her superiors.
Couture also alleges her superior “questioned her about her personal and social consumption of alcohol” and was told that the management team abstains and expects the same from DOCAS members.
The civil claim alleges that her field trainer was speaking with his daughter, who referred to Couture as “the crazy lady.”
The officer, knowing Couture overheard, laughed about the things kids say.
He then called his superior on speaker phone to report the incident, whereby the superior allegedly laughed and said that
“Couture should be nicknamed ‘CB’ for Crazy Beth,” the statement of claims states, adding “Couture was very offended and insisted that such talk cease.”
The civil claim also states she was told by a superior that “she was ‘too wordy’ and that she must communicate with her supervisor in one minute or less.”
She was also told, according to the claim, that she was not permitted to send documents or emails without having them approved and corrected by a member of the management team.
In 2006, three years prior to her time at DOCAS, she was diagnosed with essential tremor syndrome, a progressive neurological disorder, characterized by shaking arms. The condition can be made worse by stress and heightened emotion, the civil claim states.
“During her time at DOCAS, Couture developed a habit of clenching and grinding her teeth while sleeping, resulting in dental disorders and a need for dental work,” the civil claim states. “The members of the management team and RCMP acted with the object of causing harm to Couture, in particular, by alarming her and attempting to destroy her self confidence and autonomy so she would be more responsive and more readily comply with the management team’s directions.”
After her time at DOCAS, Couture developed a generalized anxiety disorder, reads the claim.
“Couture hoped to have a long career with the RCMP,” the claim states. “As a result of her generalized anxiety disorder, Couture will be unable to return to work with the RCMP.”
Couture is seeking general, special, punitive and aggravated damages.
None of the claims has been proven in court and a statement of defense has not been filed.