With Shauna Hunt’s heckler fired, some may wonder if it is even possible for a company like Hydro One to legally have Shawn Simoes fired from his six-figure job over the so-called FHRITP video. After all, this is Canada we are talking about, and there are constitutional considerations related to freedom of speech.
It turns out, yes, they can have Simoes fired, and even major Canadian political figures support the decision. But not everyone agrees that a company should be able to fire someone over personal comments made as soccer fans.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the confrontation between Hunt and Simoes started at a Toronto FC Major League Soccer game when some hecklers decided to shout, “F*** her right in the p****!” This was not random since it is a meme that started based upon a FHRITP video. But Hunt would not let the hecklers humiliate her on live television so she asked Shawn Simoes why he thought the phrase was “hilarious.”
“We’re not the only people … It happened in England… You’re lucky there’s not a f*****g vibrator in your ear like in England, because it happens all the time.”
Simoes’ response in the FHRITP video managed to land on the desk of his employer, Hydro One, within a day. Hydro One explained why they had Shauna Hunt’s heckler fired from his assistant network management engineer job where he made about $90k in U.S. dollars.
“Hydro One is taking steps to terminate the employee involved for violating our Code of Conduct,” the company said in a statement. “Respect for all people is engrained in the Code of Conduct and in our Core Values and we are committed to a work environment where discrimination or harassment of any type is met with zero tolerance.”
Even Thomas Mulcair, who is is the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, and Justin Trudeau, leader of the NDP, both support the decision although typically they can’t agree on much..
I congratulate @shaunacitynews for standing up to harassment. No journalist, or anyone else, should have to face such despicable treatment.
— Tom Mulcair (@ThomasMulcair) May 13, 2015
But does the firing violate Shan Simoes’ constitutional rights? According to Vancouver lawyer Tony Wilson, author of the book Manage Your Online Reputation, Hydro One does reserve the right to have Shauna Hunt’s heckler fired.
“What people always seem to forget is you can fire anyone for anything. The issue is cause or no cause,” he explained, according to CBC. “The big problem with this guy is who is going to hire him? What sort of corporation is going to hire a guy that says something like this to a reporter? He could just as easily say something like that to someone in the workplace. He’s got that around his neck for the rest of his professional career. That’s worse than any criminal sanction that he could ever get.”
But The Star points out that if Shawn Simoes is a member of a union it is possible he could legally fight against his dismissal from Hydro One.
“He’s going to say he wasn’t the one who shouted the retort. He was essentially someone cheering that person on. He might say it’s not that serious, it’s not related to my job obviously. It was only serendipitous that anyone became aware I was a member of Hydro One. He isn’t in an environment that really affects the company’s brand at all. An arbitrator may well say it’s not cause for discharge. I think he’ll at least still get some sort of suspension.”
It is possible that saying the FHRITP quote may not be considered “just cause” as established by an arbitrator, and it’s possible Simoes could be reinstated in his job. At the same time, a union does not have to take a case and they may decided they don’t want to be associated with Simoes.
An informal poll by The Star also asked if Hydro One should have had Shauna Hunt’s heckler fired. About 66 percent said yes, while 29 percent said no. The remainder were uncertain.
What do you think?
[Image via CityNews/YouTube]