The first woman ever hired to the Canucks’ coaching staff has filed a human rights complaint against the organization and one of its employees, over what she claims was a discriminatory termination.
Rachel Doerrie was first hired by the Canucks in January – after four years with the New Jersey Devils – as a hockey analyst, before getting promoted to analyst/assistant to the video coach on Aug. 1. Less than two months later, Doerrie says she was fired over false claims that she spoke with the media and the fact that she shared a subsequent article praising her work with the Canucks.
In her Nov. 22 human rights complaint, Doerrie says she believes the fact that she’s a woman in a male-dominated industry and that she has publicly disclosed her heart condition and post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis played a role in her termination.
Doerrie shared her submission to the Human Rights Tribunal on Twitter on Sunday (Nov. 27), saying she is “done hiding.”
“The past 2 months has been very hard for me. It has mentally and emotionally destroyed me. I feel broken.”
The past 2 months has been very hard for me. It has mentally and emotionally destroyed me. I feel broken. I am done hiding.https://t.co/PeqLg6ElMF
— Rachel Doerrie (@racheldoerrie) November 27, 2022
In the submission, Doerrie provides details of a media interaction she says she was fired over. On Sept. 19, Doerrie says her friend Patrick Johnston, a sports reporter with the Vancouver Sun and The Province, texted her some comments Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau had made at a golf event praising Doerrie’s work.
Doerrie says she responded, “OMG. So Kind. Wanna include those quotes when you tweet or write about it hahah. Make me look like I’m not an idiot.”
Johnston did end up writing a story about Doerrie’s new position. He said the Canucks hadn’t officially announced her promotion, but that Boudreau had described Doerrie’s new role at the golf event. Doerrie shared a link to the story on her Instagram.
In her human rights complaint, Doerrie says she didn’t think this would be a problem, as she had seen other Canucks employees share positive articles about themselves in the past too.
The next day, however, Doerrie claims her direct boss Assistant General Manager Emilie Castonguay reprimanded her for it. Doerrie says Castonguay told her “You’re not important enough to be cared about,” “No one in the media is your friend,” and “I don’t know if you have what it takes to do the job, mentally”.
In a statement, Castonguay called these allegations “false and inaccurate.”
“I take a lot of pride in my work with the Vancouver Canucks, being a good leader, a person of high moral character, and always respecting and putting my co-workers first.”
Doerrie says she was particularly offended by Castonguay’s alleged remarks because Doerrie had disclosed to the Canucks that she has PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks, depression and a heart condition. When she was hired, Doerrie says the organization assured her these conditions would be taken into account during her employment.
Doerrie claims things got worse on Sept. 21-24, when Castonguay allegedly refused to acknowledge Doerrie’s presence during a training camp in Whistler. Doerrie says the treatment left her “feeling very isolated and emotionally destroyed,” and that she suffered multiple cardiac episodes and anxiety attacks as a result.
On Sept. 27, Doerrie says General Manager Patrick Allen fired her over claims that she spoke with media about her promotion.
In a statement, Canucks Sports and Entertainment wouldn’t specify their reasoning for firing Doerrie, but said they “strongly disagree” with her allegations.
“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.”
Doerrie is seeking damages for injuries to her dignity, self-esteem, and physical and mental health, as well as financial losses and damage to her reputation.