12/04/2012 04:54 EST | Updated 02/03/2013 05:12 EST

Fired manager sues over health data investigation

One of seven former Ministry of Health employees terminated or suspended for the alleged misuse of personal health care data has filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful dismissal and defamation.

Former Ministry of Health manager Ron Mattson announced on Tuesday morning he had filed a lawsuit against his former employer in order to clear his name.

"I'm looking to get my name and reputation restored. I mean that's one of the primary things," Mattson said in Victoria on Tuesday morning.

The 28-year veteran of the ministry says he was let go this summer following a wide-reaching investigation into the alleged misuse of personal health data provided to UBC and UVic for drug research.

"I was never advised of any substantive allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct, and in spite of the multiple promises made to me by government I was never granted an opportunity to respond to the findings of their review."

In all, six ministry employees were fired and another remains suspended without pay as the investigation continues. The RCMP continues to investigate the case.

On Tuesday, the government issued a brief response to the lawsuit.

"As is the case with any court action, we will defend it through the legal process. We will not offer further public comments on legal proceedings," it said.

The statement said an internal investigation into the incident is still underway and the government would not confirm the names of anyone involved.

Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid alleged in September that medical information about an unknown number of British Columbians was taken and used for purposes that hadn't been approved, and that some of the people involved — both inside and outside the ministry — had relationships with each other that hadn’t been declared.

The incident triggered the suspension of $4 million in medical research at University of Victoria and UBC.