Former Aylmer Soccer Club employees accuse superior of being offside
Bulletin d’Aylmer staff
The Aylmer Soccer Club’s board of directors has suspended its director general (DG)-technical director (TD), Bruno Drollon, in response to serious negative feedback from members and staff.
The suspension of the DG-TD comes amidst complaints from two former technicians, Franck Awong and Joseph Sagna. Citing a toxic and exhausting work environment, Awong and Sagna along with a third technician, Sebastien Dufour, resigned en bloc in late June.
Awong and Sagna allege that Drollon, who joined the club roughly a decade ago, regularly used intimidation and scare tactics. They claim that their superior commonly threatened to fire them and have them sent back to France. Drollon and those two employees are originally from France. Awong and Sagna filed complaints with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (formerly the CCST) and with the Gatineau police.
The club’s board met with the disgruntled technicians “to understand the underlying reasons for their departure.” The board found that “it was clear from the meeting that the three employees in question have a great deal
of frustration in regard to the Club’s general manager (DG-TD), which was essentially triggered by a workplace dispute. Because of this frustration, the three employees are deliberately seeking to assail the reputation of the Club and its general manager. We intend to take the applicable and required legal actions to have all damaging and prejudicial behaviors towards the Club’s reputation immediately ceased.” Presumably, this included suspending the DG-TD.
Awong and Sagna claim that the club sent them a “demand letter” to the for breach of contract, warning them of the dangers of defamation. The board is has stated it is taking the situation “very seriously” and is taking measures to “clarify the situation.”
“To this end, we have contacted an external expert to proceed with an independent assessment of the work environment to determine if modifications or additional measures are required to provide the best possible environment for our employees, members and partners,” wrote Julie Morissette, ASC’s Board President, in a letter sent to members, of which the Bulletin obtained a copy.
“The recent events have led us to take action to adjust certain approaches to improve services to our members. Furthermore, we wish to reassure members that we are fulsomely engaged in ensuring continuity for all children to thrive within the Aylmer Soccer Club. Our priority is to offer an adequate workplace within our administrative office and on the fields to optimize the continued development of your children.”
Among the publicly known complaints, none cited problems specifically affecting children enrolled with the club.
As technical director, Drollon was in charge of the club’s technical aspects and reported directly to the volunteer Board of Directors. The DG oversees the club’s administrative office and operations.
The board had offered Drollon the DG position in 2012. The club has an operating budget of over $500,000, with almost $246,000 spent on service contracts and salaries. The Aylmer Soccer Club has roughly 1,500 players and is active year-round. The club has six staff members. According to a Radio-Canada report, Drollon was asked by the board to avoid talking to the media.
(With notes from Lily Ryan)