Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Employees' Union warns members about Ghomeshi scandal probe

Jian Ghomeshi leaves court in Toronto, Wednesday, Nov.26, 2014. Ghomeshi has been granted bail just hours after being charged with multiple counts of sexual assault. The Canadian Press 
Paola LoriggioThe Canadian Press
The union representing CBC employees is warning members that what they tell an investigator looking into the broadcaster’s handling of workplace harassment allegations against Jian Ghomeshi could be used by management against them.

The Canadian Media Guild issued a memo Monday saying that while it is “strongly supportive” of the investigation, it has “some concerns” about how the information garnered from interviews with employees will be used.

The memo says the independent investigator — Janice Rubin — will be recording the interviews and may pass the recordings to management, who could then rely on the information to discipline employees.

“While we firmly believe that evidence of wrongdoing should be investigated and necessary measures taken as required, no employee should be put in a position of exposing themselves to discipline based on information they themselves have provided,” Marc-Philippe Laurin, president of the union’s CBC branch, said in the memo, obtained by The Canadian Press.

“CMG has been unable to receive assurances against self-incrimination,” or guarantees that employees will have access to the complete findings and recommendations emerging from the investigation, he said.

The CBC has also told the union that employees will not be allowed to record the interviews themselves, nor will they be able to obtain a copy or transcript of Rubin’s recordings until the results are released.

The broadcaster was not immediately available for comment Monday.

Rubin, a Toronto employment lawyer with expertise in workplace harassment, was chosen last month to lead an independent investigation into the scandal that has erupted around Ghomeshi, the former host of the radio show “Q.”

She will report to senior CBC management about what her investigation uncovered along with recommendations on resolving any complaints, and report separately on what the broadcaster should do to prevent any similar issues arising in the future.

The CBC fired Ghomeshi, 47, on Oct. 26 after seeing what it called “graphic evidence” that he had caused physical injury to a woman.

He is also facing five criminal charges — four counts of sexual assault and one of choking — stemming from alleged incidents involving three women.

One of the women who contacted police was actress Lucy DeCoutere, a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force and a star of the long-running TV series “Trailer Park Boys.” The others cannot be identified due to a routine publication ban.

Since his dismissal, nine women have come forward in the media with allegations that Ghomeshi sexually or physically assaulted them.

Ghomeshi has admitted he engaged in “rough sex” but insisted it was always consensual.

He has been released on bail and his lawyer has said he will plead not guilty.

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