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Former WestJet Employee Takes Action Over Bomb Hoax Allegations 

Keith Kippen believes he’s been wrongly implicated in a series of bomb threats made against WestJet last summer, but the carrier says its former employee is accused of fraud.

A former WestJet pilot who believes that he was falsely implicated in a bomb hoax against the carrier is suing the airline for defamation and false dismissal. WestJet, however, denies the claims, saying that Keith Kippen was actually accused of fraud and failure to repay loans to colleagues.

This complicated case has been brought to the Supreme Court of British Columbia as part of on-going proceedings between WestJet and Kippen.

Kippen has claimed that he was fired on June 26, 2015 for insubordination after having missed a mandatory meeting with his employers. Kippen claims that on this date he was undergoing emergency psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety.

WestJet considered Kippen’s no-show a termination of his employment. The carrier said that the meeting was intended to discuss claims of fraud brought against him by three colleagues as well as an unnamed woman who said that Kippen had “cheated her out of monies” relating to unpaid rent.

As reported by the CBC, Kippen was told by his specialist, “not to attend any management meeting until given medical clearance.”

The threats to WestJet, the first of a series of five, began on June 27, 2015 and ceased on July 2.

The 48-year-old claimed that he was questioned by local police on July 14, 2015 in relation to these threats. Kippen also says that on this date, his property was searched and a number of his personal effects were seized by authorities.

However, the carrier denies having ever informed police that Kippen was responsible for the threats. It stated that, “Communications made to the police concerning the bomb threats were made without malice,” and that it had a “duty to provide information to the police to assist with the bomb threat investigation.”

However, the carrier defended its firing of Kippen, citing his breach of its anti-fraud policy as well as his insubordination. But the pilot’s lawyer, Howard Smith, called these allegations “scurrilous.”

Presently, WestJet is seeking special costs against Kippen, while Kippen is suing for damages related to emotional distress.

Both claims have yet to be proved in court.

[Photo: Keith Kippen]

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