Thursday, May 14, 2015

Company Culture vs. Freedom of Speech

Credit: Manymeez
Ontario's electricity distribution company, Hydro One, has fired an employee for interrupting a live interview with the now famous FHRITP taunt. For those of you who are not familiar with the FHRITP taunt, it equates less vulgarly to "have sexual intercourse with her". The language used is quite profane and the way it is delivered, in this case anyways, is one of encouraging the male being interviewed to not take the lady seriously, and to view her merely as a sex toy.

So now that I have given you the background, let's discuss Hydro One CEO Carmine Marcello's decision to fire the individual in question. Some people have pointed out that the individual in question was not, at the time of the incident, representing Hydro One; and in fact, even Marcello acknowledged that the Hydro One leadership didn't know that he was an employee when they first discussed it. This person was not wearing any Hydro One branding, so Hydro One's reputation was not at stake. For these reasons, may people feel that he is being unfairly punished for exercising his freedom of speech. Many people feel he shouldn't have been punished at all, while others feel that the punishment was too severe.

I submit to you that he is not being punished at all. He is merely experiencing the consequences for his actions. He had, and exercised, the right to say whatever he wanted wherever he wanted to say it. Good for him. Was the statement that he made worth losing his job over? ...his reputation? ...his pension? I kind of doubt it. It's not like he was protesting some great injustice. He was being a buffoon. He was wasting the fifteen minutes of fame to which we are supposedly all entitled.

What about Hydro One? While their former employee had the right to free speech, I would suggest that Hydro One has the right to determine what kind of person fits in its culture, and what kind does not. Somebody who is willing to use that kind of language on a public (and recorded) platform, would also use that kind of language in a private setting where, perhaps, a single female employee is surrounded by men. This is not a question of defending Hydro One's reputation. This is a question of showing the women who work for Hydro One that the statements of equality that they make are not mere rhetoric. It is a question of doing what is right, regardless of the fallout.

No doubt some left-wing labour lawyer is going to try to take Hydro One and Mr. Marcello to court over this dismissal. I hope that when the dust settles, a precedent is set that gives companies the courage to respond in a similar way in the future. Our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters deserve more respect than morons such as this former Hydro One employee have demonstrated.

Well done Mr. Marcello and Hydro One! In my opinion, you have earned a healthy #EthicalCredit.

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