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NYC Ballet considers social media guidelinesWall Street Journal


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#46 sandik

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:17 AM

A friend pointed this out to me and I was gobsmacked -- the comments were so clueless!



#47 Stecyk

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 03:34 PM

This past weekend, Jian Ghomeshi was dismissed from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation under rather unfortunate circumstances.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...h-cbc-1.2813670

 

"The CBC is saddened to announce its relationship with Jian Ghomeshi has come to an end. This decision was not made without serious deliberation and careful consideration. Jian has made an immense contribution to the CBC and we wish him well," the network said in a statement.

 

If you search the internet or read Ghomeshi's Facebook account (linked to save you the effort), you'll learn that there are some rather unsavoury allegations about his personal life. For the purposes of this post, we need not go there. But what is interesting are the legal considerations. CBC fired Ghomeshi, and Ghomeshi has hired a PR firm and a law firm to protect his reputation and sue CBC.

 

I enjoyed Howard Levitt's article in the Financial Post Jian Ghomeshi’s CBC lawsuit is hopeless — even if he’s telling the truth.

 

Quite apart from the fact that his actual damages likely do not exceed 2% of that figure, unionized bargaining-unit employees (as CBC broadcasters are) can’t sue in court for wrongful dismissal.  This suit will almost certainly be quickly struck down by the courts without Ghomeshi recovering a penny.

...

In this era of obsession with privacy, there is actually less privacy than ever. Every employee should assume that everything he or she does, inside work and outside, public or private, could end up being revealed to an employer. Any other assumption is foolhardy.

...

It is interesting that Ghomeshi is issuing a $50-million claim against CBC, while simultaneously declaring his historic loyalty to and love for it. The reality is, as he must also know, that suit will go nowhere. As a unionized employee, he cannot sue the CBC in court but is stuck with having to grieve through the arbitration process.

...

Arbitrators (and judges) have increasingly resisted reinstating employees who, in the public mind, represent the employer and its goodwill, including radio and television hosts. It is one thing to force a factory to rehire an assembly-line worker. But arbitrators are more loath to force a television station to put someone on the air as its representative who no longer reflects its style, approach or desired image.

 

So my two takeaways from this article are as follows: one, unionized employees may be at a disadvantage when arguing constructive or wrongful dismissal; and two, the lines between private and public conduct have blurred, especially for those whose face or personality represents the company.

 

Thus, if an employee's conduct disparages a company's reputation, the employee is not in a good spot.



#48 sandik

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 10:49 PM

I've heard his radio show several times and thought he was an effective interviewer -- it does seem that he's being punished for personal choices.  I understand the labor law aspects of the situation, but it does seem unfair.



#49 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 06:24 AM

I've heard his radio show several times and thought he was an effective interviewer -- it does seem that he's being punished for personal choices.  I understand the labor law aspects of the situation, but it does seem unfair.

 

With the caveat that everything we've heard so far -- with the exception of the fact of the firing itself -- has yet to be substantiated (and that includes Ghomeshi's own account of his behavior), some of the allegations include workplace sexual harassment. That is a punishable offense. 



#50 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 06:57 AM

 

So my two takeaways from this article are as follows: one, unionized employees may be at a disadvantage when arguing constructive or wrongful dismissal; and two, the lines between private and public conduct have blurred, especially for those whose face or personality represents the company.

 

Thus, if an employee's conduct disparages a company's reputation, the employee is not in a good spot.

 

In the US at least, unionized employees would most likely seek redress for wrongful termination through their union's formal grievance process, which isn't necessarily a disadvantage even though it doesn't have the headline éclat of a $50 million lawsuit. (And - ahem - may not require the  services of an attorney specializing in employment law, which is what Howard Levitt is.) 



#51 Stecyk

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 07:02 AM

I've heard his radio show several times and thought he was an effective interviewer -- it does seem that he's being punished for personal choices.  I understand the labor law aspects of the situation, but it does seem unfair.

 

I am not sure what you've read so far. If it is just his Facebook account, then you must remember that you are receiving his side of the story.

 

There have been serious allegations mentioned in Jezebel, a woman's online site, and in two New York Times articles Jian Ghomeshi, CBC Radio Host, Is Fired in Sex Case and What Jian Ghomeshi’s Accusers Were Afraid Of. Again for emphasis, these allegations have not been proven in a court of law.

 

From the first mentioned New York Times article we learn that:

 

On Monday, lawyers for Mr. Ghomeshi filed a lawsuit against the government-owned CBC claiming breach of confidence, bad faith, and defamation, and seeking 55 million Canadian dollars, or $49 million. He has also retained a crisis management firm favored by politicians.

 

So they have sidestepped the constructive or wrongful dismissal lawsuit referenced by the Financial Post.

 

Anyway, this Ghomeshi stuff, while interesting, is deviating away from ballet. I had mentioned it initially when it had to do with behavior and wrongful dismissal. The link being that employees need to watch their conduct, which would likely include online postings, because their behavior can affect their employment, even when they are on off-hours and especially when they help represent the company.



#52 Stecyk

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 07:12 AM

In the US at least, unionized employees would most likely seek redress for wrongful termination through their union's formal grievance process, which isn't necessarily a disadvantage even though it doesn't have the headline éclat of a $50 million lawsuit. (And - ahem - may not require the  services of an attorney specializing in employment law, which is what Howard Levitt is.) 

 

 

In my view, it would still be a disadvantage. It's an advantage in that a union would put up the costs and fight the fight. It's a disadvantage in that the employee has lost control of the process. A union would decide when enough is enough. And a union might even decide that the employee was in the wrong, even when the employee still might have a fighting chance. Moreover, I would expect that a union would take a bigger picture view of the situation. That is, this is just one fight or issue of many. Let's keep things in perspective. Whereas for the employee, especially in a termination case, this is the hill to die on--especially as there are no other hills.

 

In short, if I were ever to launch this severe of an action where my livelihood and reputation were at stake, I would want as much control as possible. And, you're right, a union would likely never go for an eye-catching fifty million dollars lawsuit. Extreme numbers become meaningless.



#53 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 09:27 AM

 

In the US at least, unionized employees would most likely seek redress for wrongful termination through their union's formal grievance process, which isn't necessarily a disadvantage even though it doesn't have the headline éclat of a $50 million lawsuit. (And - ahem - may not require the  services of an attorney specializing in employment law, which is what Howard Levitt is.) 

 

 

In my view, it would still be a disadvantage. It's an advantage in that a union would put up the costs and fight the fight. It's a disadvantage in that the employee has lost control of the process. A union would decide when enough is enough. And a union might even decide that the employee was in the wrong, when the employee still might have a fighting chance. Moreover, I would expect that a union would take a bigger picture view of the situation. That is, this is just one fight or issue of many. Let's keep things in perspective. Whereas for the employee, especially in a termination case, this is the hill to die on--especially as there are no other hills.

 

In short, if I were ever to launch this severe of an action where my livelihood and reputation were at stake, I would want as much control as possible. And, you're right, a union would likely never go for an eye-catching fifty million dollars lawsuit. Extreme numbers become meaningless.

 

 

I do think it depends on the situation, which is why I said it wasn't necessarily a disadvantage. 

 

A high profile individual like Ghomeshi might well have the time, financial resources and support network necessary to pursue redress through the courts. He will also have the individual clout -- and, just as important, the dollars -- to keep his lawyers from taking control of the process: unless there is enough money, publicity, or prestige in it to make a lengthy and potentially fruitless court battle worth their while, a prudent law firm will encourage its client to settle, and quickly if at all possible.  And, if the client doesn't have deep pockets, or if it looks as if the payout from a case taken on a contingency fee basis won't be enough to cover its expenses, the law firm won't be inclined to die on that hill either. (One of the most valuable services a good lawyer provides is telling you when it's time to stop.) 

 

For an "at will" employee without Ghomeshi's profile, resources, and network, the going will be tough. In the US, "at will" employees -- i.e., those without an employment contract (either as an individual or as a union member) -- can be terminated for almost any reason or no reason at all, and the hurdles to mounting a successful wrongful termination action are many and onerous. Employees must demonstrate that they were terminated in violation of federal or state employment law, and that is often harder to do than it sounds. What might look like a clear-cut case of discrimination or retaliation to you or me can look -- or be made to look -- very different in a court of law. 



#54 Stecyk

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 09:52 AM

A high profile individual like Ghomeshi might well have the time, financial resources and support network necessary to pursue redress through the courts. He will also have the individual clout -- and, just as important, the dollars -- to keep his lawyers from taking control of the process: unless there is enough money, publicity, or prestige in it to make a lengthy and potentially fruitless court battle worth their while, a prudent law firm will encourage its client to settle, and quickly if at all possible.  And, if the client doesn't have deep pockets, or if it looks as if the payout from a case taken on a contingency fee basis won't be enough to cover its expenses, the law firm won't be inclined to die on that hill either. (One of the most valuable services a good lawyer provides is telling you when it's time to stop.) 

 

For an "at will" employee without Ghomeshi's profile, resources, and network, the going will be tough. In the US, "at will" employees -- i.e., those without an employment contract (either as an individual or as a union member) -- can be terminated for almost any reason or no reason at all, and the hurdles to mounting a successful wrongful termination action are many and onerous. Employees must demonstrate that they were terminated in violation of federal or state employment law, and that is often harder to do than it sounds. What might look like a clear-cut case of discrimination or retaliation to you or me can look -- or be made to look -- very different in a court of law. 

 

I do think it depends on the situation, which is why I said it wasn't necessarily a disadvantage. 

 

Kathleen, I agree with you far more than I disagree. Surprisingly, many/most lawyers are poor at judging outcomes. It's a hard thing to do, especially when one has a vested interest. However, I do agree that if the client lacks financial resources, the law firm will look out for itself first and limit its exposure. Furthermore, any experienced person, lawyer or layperson, knows, that when you go to trial, you're entering a crapshoot. And we also know that most, something like 90% or more, of all cases are settled prior to trial. So yes, there's a time to settle and move on.

 

With regard to your comments on "at will" employees, I agree. While I don't know the specifics of the Ghomeshi termination, most smart companies simply terminate with no reason given. Then the companies provide the mandated termination or severance package and everyone moves on.

 

Still, if I were going to fight a battle, I'd prefer to the one calling the shots. I would have to live the consequences, whether good or bad. Thus, I would want complete control of process from my side. Every intermediary is just more sand in the gears. And if I were not happy with the way my case was being handled, I wouldn't hesitate to switch key players in my team. Moreover, I would bone up on the applicable laws so that I could dance right along with my lawyers. With potential millions at stake, I would be extraordinarily motivated to learn and to learn fast.

 

Anyway, that's just me. Others might prefer a more passive approach. Seeing how quickly Ghomeshi mobilized his forces, however, he doesn't seem like the passive type either.



#55 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 11:30 AM

Stecyk -- I think we agree that for certain individuals both fighting and calling the shots is an appropriate response. If you've got the resources, the support network, a healthy allotment of good judgement (enough to recognize good advice when you hear it), and you have right on your side, then go for it.

 

Mostly I'm worried about folks who don't have those advantages. 



#56 Stecyk

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 12:01 PM

Kathleen, I enjoyed our discussion, so thank you.

 

I am curious to see how the Ghomeshi issue plays itself out, though we might not ever learn the final outcome with all its details.



#57 Helene

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 12:10 PM

 

Mostly I'm worried about folks who don't have those advantages. 

Which is the other 99+%, and I can't think of a ballet dancer who's an exception.



#58 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 12:21 PM

 I enjoyed our discussion.

 

 

Me, too! although we did get a bit OT ...



#59 Stecyk

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 12:12 PM

Howard Levitt wrote another article in the Financial Post Lessons from the Jian Ghomeshi case: ‘There is nowhere to hide’ where he discusses using social media.

 

I have always advised not to post anything on social media, at whatever age, that you would not like seen by a future employer. The cautionary tale of Ghomeshi is that that this caution must extend beyond what you post, extending to everything that you do which can be related by others or surreptitiously recorded.


#60 Helene

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 02:15 PM

In this case, Ghomeshi made a deliberate post for all to see, especially his employer, to get out in front of the issue.  It may have failed or backfired, but it wasn't the casual or impulsive use of Facebook that got him fired or in a heap of trouble, which is how most people get themselves in trouble.
 
That kind of casual carelessness is what brought on his latest issues:
 
Ghomeshi used CBC phone to send lewd messages to women, source says

 

Were he being careful, he would have used his own phone, and then his employer wouldn't "own" everything that happens on his phone.




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