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Finlay Resigns, Catazaro and Ramasar Suspended -- Update: Catazaro and Ramasar Fired

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43 minutes ago, vipa said:

Are there businesses that can intrude upon all personal communications?

Maybe if they used company email accounts/computers/cell phones, for example. 

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6 hours ago, abatt said:

What gives NYCB the right to monitor speech or punish speech that occurs on a personal device?

Presumably the code of conduct does, as it is likely part of the employment contract.

3 minutes ago, FPF said:

Maybe if they used company email accounts/computers/cell phones, for example. 

Or if the messages simply in and of themselves constituted a breach of the code of conduct — which the article suggests they did.

Edited by nanushka

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If memory serves, NYCB did develop a social media policy for the dancers a number of years ago.  Given this, it's possible that posts with derogatory comments regarding management or other company staff members could result in disciplinary action such as termination (though I would assume termination would be after other steps are taken). 

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What does a ballet company's code of conduct typically look like?

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Great question FPF. 

I no longer have a NYT subscription so I can’t read the article. Is the phrase “code of conduct” actually used?

Also, as to the social media policy my understanding (again, can’t read the article) is that emails and texts were involved. Not tweets or Facebook posts. 

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Not exactly.  This is the exact quote from the NYT:  But, after an investigation, the company “determined that each man had violated the norms of conduct that New York City Ballet expects from its employees.”

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to respond to FPF,

Aftra/SAG has their code of conduct posted online. It primarily pertains to sexual harassment, at least as far as I could find, but I've also read about drug and/or alcohol use being included in codes. Often a code will specify what an employee can and cannot post online. The company may reserve the right to make announcements about casting, for instance. I noted that SAG/Aftra mentions that the infraction may occur outside the traditional workplace; anywhere the employee represents the company. Anyway, SAG/AFTRA is not the union for NYCB. This is just an example.  

  • Non-Traditional Worksites
  • The employer’s obligation to maintain a harassment free work environment is not limited to a traditional worksite, whether it be an office, a booth or a set. The obligation extends to other locations where an employee is required to be in the course of the employee’s employment. That might include, for example, a meeting, audition, wrap party, or networking event.

There was a brouhaha last year about codes of conduct, or contractual requirements, for football cheerleaders. Many are prohibited from fraternizing with players. Some teams forbid the cheerleaders from posing in lingerie online or in print. Given what they wear to games I found that one laughable. Swimsuits were fine. One girl was fired for her lipstick color. A code of conduct could contain anything management wants that the employees will agree to (though there might be laws involved).

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Isn't social media one thing and a text or email sent person to person something else? How could a workplace even insist on seeing my private emails or texts?

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, vipa said:

Isn't social media one thing and a text or email sent person to person something else? How could a workplace even insist on seeing my private emails or texts?

 

 

 

The workplace didn't insist. The emails and/or texts were sent to them by a third party.

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In this case the company leadership saw whatever communications they saw because there was a complaint. If the dancers feel their rights were violated, I assume (hope) there are procedures in place for them to appeal and/or they can sue the company. Or the complainant. (Though, for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with guilt or innocence they might not want to do so...)

 

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1 hour ago, vipa said:

I guess I am naive about such things. I work at a school. If I sent a text message or email of a sexual nature (I'm picturing you naked) to an adult who had no  connection to my school, i would think it would my personal business. If I sent the same message to a colleague, student, parent of a student etc. that would be different, because it would involve my school. If I sent said message to an individual who had nothing to do with my school, but was a minor it would be criminal. Are there businesses that can intrude upon all personal communications?

 

5 minutes ago, vipa said:

Isn't social media one thing and a text or email sent person to person something else? How could a workplace even insist on seeing my private emails or texts?

In this case, the communications were reported by a third party.  One would hope that they were either forwarded with the complaint or revealed during the investigation and verified. 

If you were a minister, and you sent a sexual text or email to an adult with no connection to your church, and it got out, there could be job repercussions.  If you were a health care provider who sent disparaging personal messages about a class/category of patients you treat, and it got out, there could be job repercussions.  If you are a member of the police and you send a racist rant to your spouse, and it got out, there could be job repercussions.  And that's assuming you sent the communications on your own personal equipment using a private email, and not on company time or using company wifi, because if you do any of those things, then there's no such thing as personal communication.

The only "personal" communications are ones you don't send to anyone else on your own equipment and bandwidth or, if sent, are encrypted.  You have to trust that the other person/people won't forward them or make them discoverable because your computer or phone isn't locked or your password is something easily hacked, or that you didn't accidentally send them to the wrong person.

 

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11 minutes ago, Drew said:

In this case the company leadership saw whatever communications they saw because there was a complaint. If the dancers feel their rights were violated, I assume (hope) there are procedures in place for them to appeal and/or they can sue the company. Or the complainant. (Though, for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with guilt or innocence they might not want to do so...)

 

Agreed, but we don't know if any dancers were the recipients of the emails and texts. All we know is that the individual who wrote the letter of complaint is not in the company. There is also the issue of (here's were my lack of knowledge shows) if a person from an organization sends an offensive email to someone else in  the organization, is the organization culpable? is there such a thing as private correspondence? Now that I think of it a suspension without pay, for the fall and Nutcracker seasons is not a really horrible punishment. Finlay resigning is another matter.

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3 minutes ago, vipa said:

Now that I think of it a suspension without pay, for the fall and Nutcracker seasons is not a really horrible punishment.

I thought the same thing, and Ramasar wasn’t planning to come back till January anyway. Finlay leaving - I will miss him - just think he must have had his own personal reasons for leaving in addition to whatever happened. 

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15 minutes ago, vipa said:

Agreed, but we don't know if any dancers were the recipients of the emails and texts. All we know is that the individual who wrote the letter of complaint is not in the company. There is also the issue of (here's were my lack of knowledge shows) if a person from an organization sends an offensive email to someone else in  the organization, is the organization culpable? is there such a thing as private correspondence? Now that I think of it a suspension without pay, for the fall and Nutcracker seasons is not a really horrible punishment. Finlay resigning is another matter.

I also was thinking that the purpose of suspension without pay for Fall season was to try to find a "proportional" penalty. (Of course I don't have an opinion one way or another whether they did the right thing since I don't know what the complaint was. I guess I will go so far as to say that I don't believe the company would act entirely 'frivolously' in this matter...)

If codes of conduct exist and have been successfully defended in courts, then I suppose employees in certain jobs are losing some freedom in certain aspects of their (private) lives??  A player in the NFL can be suspended for smoking pot in his own home etc...

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Are there any company dancers serving on NYCB's board of directors?  It seems that the suspensions were imposed from above without any input from the dancers themselves.  They have a union representative in their ranks.  If this happened in a Broadway show,  Actors Equity would definitely  have been involved.  (Full disclosure - I have served as Equity Deputy on a number of shows.)  Maybe the men would rather accept their suspensions than fight them.  But the end result is a lot of wild speculation on the part of company fans,  which may prove to be more detrimental than the truth.  

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8 hours ago, On Pointe said:

 But the end result is a lot of wild speculation on the part of company fans,  which may prove to be more detrimental than the truth.  

I realize the dancers don't owe the public anything but I think what On Pointe says is true. I would appreciate seeing some kind of press release or social media statement from the dancers with even a vague explanation. I assume someone is advising them about this kind of action. 

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41 minutes ago, Barbara said:

I realize the dancers don't owe the public anything but I think what On Pointe says is true. I would appreciate seeing some kind of press release or social media statement from the dancers with even a vague explanation. I assume someone is advising them about this kind of action. 

It may be that both the company and the dancers have decided not to reveal more details regarding the nature of the texts and emails in order to protect the privacy of the complainant or the person or persons on whose behalf the complainant is acting. 

Coming clean might have its benefits for both the dancers and the company (and might actually be a useful "teaching moment" for aspiring young dancers who look up to these men as role models). But I can also imagine an outcome in which the person or persons making the complaint might be doxxed and harassed by an outraged fan should too much information become publicly available.

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21 minutes ago, FPF said:

The Board Members are listed here: https://www.nycballet.com/About/Board-and-Staff/Board-of-Directors.aspx. None of them are current dancers, and I don't recognize any as former dancers.

I think it's standard practice to not have paid employees on the board of trustees. The whole idea is that they are an impartial governing body, not involved in day-to-day operations of the company and with nothing to gain personally from decisions made by the board; a current NYCB dancer on the board would have too many potential conflicts of interest to serve. I think there are some exceptions when the head of a company, like Kevin McKenzie, also serves as a trustee. But I imagine he has to recuse himself from certain discussions to avoid conflicts of interest.

But as to who would be advocating for these dancers, I think it would be AGMA, right? Are NYCB dancers members of AGMA?

Edited by fondoffouettes

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1 minute ago, fondoffouettes said:

But as to who would be advocating for these dancers, I think it would be AGMA, right? Are NYCB dancers members of AGMA?

Yes, NYCB's dancers are members of AGMA. 

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Unfortunately, NYCB is becoming equally known for its dysfunctional internal upheavals and disputes as for its stellar dancers and rep.  It's starting to get embarrassing, and I can't imagine that this is good for business.

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Regarding codes of conduct, every company I've ever worked at (non-union companies) has had a code of conduct for all of its employees. This governs how you behave in and outside of the workplace.

Where I presently work, a top executive was fired for breaching our code of conduct. 

My handbook says that the company will not tolerate sexual harassment, discrimination or offensive behavior of any kind. Many types of behavior can fall under the "offensive behavior of any kind" part.

I don't know if AGMA or other unions have a similar code of conduct, but in the business world this is pretty standard.

Edited by ABT Fan

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The "We cleaned house, and nothing bad is ever going to happen again" narrative isn't terribly realistic.  Nor, like in the Nuremberg trials, or just about any prosecutor's office, is it or can it ever be a complete cleaning: there are trade-offs and politics behind the decisions, secrets still kept, not enough hard evidence, etc.  

At least while a ballet company is still a workplace, and humans work there.

 

 

4 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I don't know if AGMA or other unions have a similar code of conduct, but in the business world this is pretty standard.

There was a question was whether AGMA or other unions could advocate on their members' behalf about the existence of codes of conduct, or, if the existence was accepted, the employers' interpretations of it and punishment standards and how they are applied.

Some of it is baked into contracts: ex: the dancers will be at the meeting place 15 minutes in advance of the tour bus leaving.  NBA players will wear suits when traveling to and from away games.  Much of it is much more broad, like nearly all morals clauses.

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5 minutes ago, abatt said:

Unfortunately, NYCB is becoming equally known for its dysfunctional internal upheavals and disputes as for its stellar dancers and rep.  It's starting to get embarrassing, and I can't imagine that this is good for business.

You're right abatt - not good for business on both sides of the coin. Not good for ticket sales due to diminished perception of status, but also not good for the reason you're there in the first place. Instead of letting Concerto Barocco sweep you off into another sphere, you're thinking oh there's the guy who was suspended. 

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