Thursday, April 18, 2019

Real estate company sued after alleged North Vancouver assault involving co-worker

Lisa Billett claims that she was treated unfairly by the real estate company she works for after a male colleague allegedly assaulted her.
A North Shore realtor is suing the company she worked for over allegations she was assaulted by a male colleague and eventually forced to leave her job.

Lisa Eileen Billett claims that Colin Hall, who formed a partnership with her at Sutton West Coast Realty, developed romantic feelings for her that she rebuffed.

She says that following this rejection, Hall’s attitude toward her changed and he began behaving in a controlling and erratic manner.

Billet claims that on April 19, 2017, she and Hall attended an awards dinner put on by Sutton West Coast and that as he was driving her home, he demanded that Billett return a letter he had given her stating he was committed to the partnership and addressing some of his previous conduct.

In the lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court, she says when she refused to return the letter, Hall began to wrestle her purse away from her while driving his car in excess of the speed limit and then swerved off the bridge onto the Dollarton off-ramp in North Vancouver and pulled into an empty parking lot.

She claims that Hall grabbed her arm, shoulder and chest in an attempt to get the purse but she was able to get out of the car, screaming for help.

She says she called police and Hall left the area in his car, but he was later arrested by police and released on condition he not contact her.

In the wake of the alleged assault, she says she notified the company of the incident and of the mounting issues that had arisen between the pair, but that a managing broker intervened in a provincial court proceedings in support of Hall.

She says that the court imposed a no-contact order for six months except for incidental contact during the course of Hall’s employment, resulting in her no longer feeling comfortable or safe in the office.

“Despite knowing that Hall had assaulted Billett after leaving the Sutton event and that Billett was fearful of Hall and did not feel safe or comfortable working in the Sutton office as long as Hall was present or had free access, Sutton West Coast took no meaningful steps to discipline Hall for his misconduct or ensure a safe and healthy working environment for Billett,” says her lawsuit.

Billett says that she terminated her working relationship with Sutton West Coast in February 2018.

She is claiming various damages and for her share of commissions from real estate sales she says she is entitled to that have not yet been paid to her.

No response has yet been filed to the lawsuit, which contains allegations that have not been tested in court.

The company could not be reached for comment.

Hall, who is named as a defendant and was initially sued by Billett in December 2017, said that none of Billett’s account was true.

He said that the alleged assault never took place, but Billett became upset when he told her on the drive home from the awards event that he was terminating their partnership.

“I just don’t agree with somebody claiming something happened when it didn’t,” he said.

Hall said Billett attacked him, grabbing him by the arm, and he had to step out of his vehicle to get away from her. When she stopped screaming at him, he asked her to get out of the car and he drove away.

“That’s all that happened,” he said.

Regarding the allegation the company had failed to provide a safe environment, he said he had gone to court to allow himself to be able to go to the office to drop off paycheques and meet with colleagues and clients.

“I was never in the office longer than five minutes, and I never once spoke to Lisa or did anything toward Lisa. I would never threaten her, not in a million years.”

Hall denied ever showing romantic feelings toward Billett and added that a dispute arose between them over his concern that he not be partners with someone who is “sleeping around in the industry.”

Billett said in a phone message that she was not interested in what Hall had to say.

“What happened is what is set out in the notice of civil claim. That’s what happened and I stand by it.”

kfraser@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser

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