Questions result from firing of Q

Should Jian Ghomeshi really have been fired from his job before a verdict was reached?

by Ronald Dixon

Early this week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation fired Jian Ghomeshi, the host of the popular radio show Q, due to multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Considering the fact that this story has sparked considerable controversy, especially on progressive blogs, it’s time to discuss how we can strike a balance between the rights of the accused and the concerns that major companies face when they deal with controversy surrounding one of their employees.

In unfortunate situations where a famous employee is dragged through the court of public opinion, employers seem to side with the critics and either fire the alleged perpetrators or suspend them until the issues are resolved.

Their reasoning is certainly understandable — deciding to keep a controversial worker on the job may negatively impact a business. However, there are some factors to consider before companies make this decision.

For example, are there any criminal charges or police complaints? Is the indicter a credible source? Does physical evidence of wrongdoing exist? Did the accused have their say in court? In Ghomeshi’s case, the criminal justice system never analyzed evidence or even heard any complaints.

To balance fairness with employers’ worries, companies should temporarily suspend any accused workers with pay and promise to bring them back if they clear their names. This ensures a balance between the rights of the accused and the legitimate concerns of the businesses.