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mille-feuille

Catazaro Declines NYCB Reinstatement; Ramasar to Rejoin

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Posted (edited)

Zachary Catazaro has just posted on his Instagram that he was offered a reinstatement at NYCB as a Principal Dancer after an arbitrator found his termination to be wrongful: 

However, he's declined the reinstatement.

No post yet from Amar Ramasar, although his Instagram bio says "Principal Dancer with the New York City Ballet." I'm not sure if that was removed when he was fired or not.

Amar Ramasar will rejoin NYCB and undergo counseling (https://www.pointemagazine.com/zachary-catazaro-amar-ramasar-firing-determined-wrongful-2635066151.html).

Edited by mille-feuille
Clarification & Update on Ramasar

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Posted (edited)

NYCB would NEVER have done this voluntarily.   He should not have been terminated in the first place.  Thank goodness for the triumph of justice.  Sadly, the company has damaged his reputation in spite of this reinstatement.

Edited by abatt

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Posted (edited)

A article in Dance Magazine just now publishes the AGMA statement that both Ramasar and Catazaro were offered reinstatement, and while Catazaro declined, Ramasar will be re-joining and undergoing counseling on the standards for his conduct. 

The article is here: https://www.dancemagazine.com/zachary-catazaro-amar-ramasar-firing-determined-wrongful-2635059461.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1 and the tweet with Ramasar's decision, from Michael Cooper of the Times, is below. 
 

https://twitter.com/coopnytimes/status/1119257641593769985

Edited by gallerina
Formatting for Tweet (and typo!)

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Posted (edited)

Wow. Just read the rest.  Ramasar returns.  Excellent.   He and Catazaro have finally been vindicated.   Wonder what Ms. Waterbury and her attorney are thinking  about their lawsuit against these two.  It truly is a Good Friday.  This news combined with the news earlier this week that K. Morgan is joining Miami City make me very happy.  Now if only Gomes could return to the New York stage..... 

Edited by abatt

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I wonder if this means Catazaro will be permanently joining Munich? 

I have mixed feelings about Ramasar. He’s a great dancer and I don’t think he should have been fired, but his comments were rather vile. Hopefully his counseling is meaningful. 

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Posted (edited)

Whoever was the architect of these firings at NYCB  should be terminated .  These firings smelled to high heaven from the outset. 

Added:  I'm assuming this reinstatement is effective immediately.  Hopefully we will see Ramasar during the Spring season. 

Edited by abatt

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Catazaro has been dancing a lot of leading roles in Munich. Probably more than he was dancing in NYCB. So he might have decided to stay there.

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The "vindication" I see regards Catazaro's and Ramasar's employment. Which is important.  The arbitrator did evidently consider the company was within its rights to suspend the men and it is hard not to suspect that Catazaro would have had the same conditions on his return to employment as Ramasar--which may be another reason he didn't want to come back especially given that he has found work as a featured dancer elsewhere.

(Throughout discussions of this case over the past months--and confirmed by this arbitrator at least--it has mildly surprised me to learn that dancers with a nonprofit very much dependent on donations have a contract that seemingly doesn't allow them to be fired for behavior that impacts the company's reputation whether or not that behavior took place at work. And whether or not that behavior was ever intended to be public knowledge.)  

AGMA's statement tries to split the difference on the larger issues surrounding this case -- describes it as "complicated" and goes on to explain why they pursued it in language that doesn't so much vindicate Ramasar and Catazaro's conduct as insist they shouldn't have been fired for it, and talking about their (the union's) commitment to deal with harassment and creating a safe atmosphere for artists etc., -- not, say, crowing about their victory. Here is a link to an article that has the statements from Catazaro, NYCB, and AGMA:

https://www.pointemagazine.com/zachary-catazaro-amar-ramasar-firing-determined-wrongful-2635066151.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

 

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, balletforme said:

NYCB needs to clearly define what it's values and standards are and then make decisions in a principled way.  Decisions appear to be based on public opinion, legal liability, and perceptions of the board and donors. 

I completely agree with most of what you said.  The firings were based on public opinion and perceptions of the board and donors.  However, I do not believe that the firings were based on considerations of NYCB's potential legal liability.  In fact, I think any lawyer who had a clue would have immediately advised NYCB that under the circumstances of this case, there was no basis to fire these two guys, and that the firings would likely be overturned after an arbitration. To me, this was not even a close case.  There was never any legal basis to fire them.  If NYCB's lawyers told them to go ahead with the firings, NYCB needs to find new counsel PRONTO.  My suspicion is  that NYCB was told by their counsel that this would be overturned if the dancers pursued arbitration, but NYCB decided to go ahead with the firings anyway.

I think NYCB decided that garnering positive publicity by firing them  was more important to their bottom line than following the law. 

Edited by abatt

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Posted (edited)

What a lovely turn of events! I am so glad that Amar will be back performing with NYCB! Just thrilled.

I also think that AGMA's standard, "non-criminal activity in their private lives" is a decent standard. While I certainly don't condone abuse of any kind (and I consider what Finlay did to be abusive, criminal activity) I don't see how all employees should be held to a standard of not saying or doing anything in their private lives that wouldn't offend any of their coworkers or any of their employer's donors. 

"We pursued this case because it's important to us that your employer is prevented from taking extreme and potentially career-ending action based on non-criminal activity in your private life." AGMA

 

Edited by BalanchineFan
to include AGMA quote

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

I completely agree with most of what you said.  The firings were based on public opinion and perceptions of the board and donors.  However, I do not believe that the firings were based on considerations of NYCB's potential legal liability.  In fact, I think any lawyer who had a clue would have immediately advised NYCB that under the circumstances of this case, there was no basis to fire these two guys, and that the firings would likely be overturned after an arbitration. To me, this was not even a close case.  There was never any legal basis to fire them.  If NYCB's lawyers told them to go ahead with the firings, NYCB needs to find new counsel PRONTO.  My suspicion is  that NYCB was told by their counsel that this would be overturned if the dancers pursued arbitration, but NYCB decided to go ahead with the firings anyway.

I think NYCB decided that garnering positive publicity by firing them  was more important to their bottom line than following the law. 

Curiously NYCB is represented by Proskauer, which is one of the most eminent Labor and Employment shops around. I have to think the decision to fire stemmed entirely from NYCB’s PR department or maybe some incompetent in-house person. I noticed in the answer to Waterbury’s suit Proskauer basically conceded their arbitration case by saying that the conduct was entirely non-work related. Not surprising given that the damages in a tort case are potentially far greater than in a labor arbitration, but I still believe they would never have allowed the firings to happen if they knew about them beforehand.

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Posted (edited)

I think NYCB behaved in a very unscrupulous manner with regard to these firings.  They were apparently more concerned about the bottom line of their financial security than in behaving in a lawful manner with regard to their duties as an employer.  Although I greatly admire and respect the dancers - or most of them - I  have a very negative view of their management because of the firings.  Jon Stafford is cited in the article as being someone who was involved in making the decision to fire.   I'm sure he was not the only person that gave the go ahead to terminate.

Edited by abatt

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WOW!  I am so excited to hear that Ramasar will be returning to NYCB!

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2 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

What a lovely turn of events! I am so glad that Amar will be back performing with NYCB! Just thrilled.

I also think that AGMA's standard, "non-criminal activity in their private lives" is a decent standard. While I certainly don't condone abuse of any kind (and I consider what Finlay did to be abusive, criminal activity) I don't see how all employees should be held to a standard of not saying or doing anything in their private lives that wouldn't offend any of their coworkers or any of their employer's donors. 

"We pursued this case because it's important to us that your employer is prevented from taking extreme and potentially career-ending action based on non-criminal activity in your private life." AGMA

 

I tend to agree, BalanchineFan. The decision seems well reasoned and justified. It’s important for all employees to be protected against arbitrary dismissal by an employer, non-profit or otherwise. Many if not most American workers have no such protections; Catazaro and Ramasar are fortunate in that they have such rights and they were enforced. Firing people for private and non-criminal conduct is truly a slippery slope and the company should have taken greater care. The union has to balance the needs of all its members, and the dancers who are unhappy about this decision today may well appreciate -- and benefit from -- the protections they have in future.

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While I applaud the outcome,  I believe that the stipulation that Ramasar undergo "counseling" is unnecessary and insulting.  And if some female dancers are uncomfortable with his return,  they can state their case if he behaves in an unprofessional manner at work.  Otherwise the conduct of his life is of no legitimate concern to them.

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45 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Otherwise the conduct of his life is of no legitimate concern to them.

??? We're not talking about people working in separate cubicles or offices, with next to no direct interaction. it's all 'interaction' at a large dance company. How individual dancers conduct themselves in class/rehearsals/backstage/at special events, etc. all counts towards making the company environment a positive one, or a poisonous one. And then there's all the time spent around company members outside of work. For the majority of dancers at a large company, there isn't much escape from the world of dance. Problems do get magnified in that kind of environment precisely because there are few opportunities (or much time) for escape.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, pherank said:

??? We're not talking about people working in separate cubicles or offices, with next to no direct interaction. it's all 'interaction' at a large dance company. How individual dancers conduct themselves in class/rehearsals/backstage/at special events, etc. all counts towards making the company environment a positive one, or a poisonous one. And then there's all the time spent around company members outside of work. For the majority of dancers at a large company, there isn't much escape from the world of dance. Problems do get magnified in that kind of environment precisely because there are few opportunities (or much time) for escape.

I second the ???. This is a guy who shared nude photos of a company member with other company members. The only reason he is not in the same boat as Finlay is that his particular much younger girlfriend whose photos were shared is for whatever reason defending him. Of course coworkers are going to be uncomfortable around him! And to say that they should just “state their case” is unhelpful.

Edited by Leah

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6 hours ago, canbelto said:

Catazaro has been dancing a lot of leading roles in Munich. Probably more than he was dancing in NYCB. So he might have decided to stay there.

In an interview he gave to Dance Europe in the recent past, Catazaro indicated that he was interested in appearing in things like Manon and Onegin, which he certainly wouldn't get to do at City Ballet. So, for him, he wins the arbitration case and gets to pursue his other artistic interests in Munich.

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Posted (edited)

I was torn about these 2 men getting fired. Mostly,  I thought it was premature. A suspension  always made sense to me. Catazaro, I believe,  was truly wronged. Yes, he was boorish, but from what I've read,  didn't deserve to be treated so severely. I think Ramasar's situation is a bit different. From what I've read,  I don't think he should have been fired, but a long suspension, such as what he's effectively experienced, along with the counseling requirement, makes very good sense. I also think that he now has to earn the respect of the other dancers. Some may refuse to perform with him. That's what happens when, no matter how it becomes public, people learn that someone has been a boor. I hope he's learned from this experience.  I hope that, rather than feeling victimized,  he's learned that being a man does not include the behavior he exhibited, outside of work or not. I hope he's truly learning how to respect women. If he can, his life will be enriched. The "bad boy" life wears thin eventually. He's been given a great opportunity. Let's see what he does with it. 

Edited by vagansmom
Fixing auto-incorrects.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, canbelto said:

Catazaro has danced Gremin in Munich:

And very good he was too .... He was also excellent in Spartacus in the (again) relatively small role of the Gladiator opposite the titan of Osiel Gouneo (who chose to dance the part keeping firm control of his line rather than traditionally charging through it in desecrated barrel leaps).  Seems Catazaro can really hold his own in Munich - has proved his worth - and has dramatic weight.  I think he will do well and prosper there from the fresh (to him) repertory.  Given his relative youth it will give him a healthy platform from which to move on and the future prospect of many meaningful guesting opportunities I'm sure.  

 

 

Edited by meunier fan

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If Finlay had waited to be fired like the other two rather than resign, I think there would have been a pretty good chance that he would have been reinstated too.  

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