Compensation for Veitch?

Well, turns out that TVNZ executives were told last December of Veitch’s “assault”.

That word “assault” comes from this morning’s HoS headline, although it is not supported by anything in the story. It raises an important point. What did Veitch tell his bosses (four of them were told)? Why is this so important?

First, if an employer condones a particular behaviour, then it can’t reasonably expect to be able to dismiss at some later point for that behaviour. By ignoring the behaviour, the employer is accepting that it’s okay.

Underlying dismissal with cause for misconduct, non-performance or dishonesty is that the employer can no longer trust the employee, and rely on them to do their job honestly and competently.

Further, if it was an assault, they arguably became complicit in covering up a criminal offence.

Assuming that the TVNZ executives knew something like the full extent of the matter, but proceded to sack Veitch anyway, MacDoc raises the question of whether Veitch might be awarded compensation (and reimbursed for lost wages) should any dismissal by TVNZ be found to be unjustified.

This is technically possible. But note that the courts are required by the Employment Relations Act to take into account the extent to which the claimant contributed to the situation which led to their dismissal. And, as a practical matter, I wouldn’t want to be the one determining how much of the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings Veitch might suffer was the result of any dismissal.

Why does there not appear to have been a clause in the contract of this high profile “personality”, whose value to TVNZ depends on public popularity, for just this sort of situation? There should be, and if there is, then dismissal ought not to be a problem.

In any event, it is clear that at the very least there needs to be an enquiry into the response of TVNZ last year. Ideally, we might see some resignations before then.

Memo to TVNZ: Removing Veitch from the Olympic coverage team is not  enough.

Update: The Government has started asking questions. PM Clark says that there is a “moral crisis” at TVNZ, and Mallard is refusing to be fobbed off with a whitewash. Looks like some heads may roll at TVNZ, after all.]

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6 Responses to “Compensation for Veitch?”

  1. adamsmith1922 Says:

    I like your comments. I hope you do not mind, but have linked to a post of mine on the disproportionate focus on Veitch as opposed to Derek Fox, Peters emails and other issues

    I know you will not agree with aspects of what I have said, but will accept there are differing points of view on some of these matters and and thanks for the comment on the Tumeke ranking

    http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/3038/

    No problems. I agree that the focus on Veitch is ridiculous. To some extent it is driven by public demand. (I groaned inwardly myself as I wrote the third post on Veitch.) On TUMEKE!’s ranking, I’d be very happy if you were #3 (in place of the incumbent).

  2. MacDoctor Says:

    This is all turning into a splendid publicity meltdown. The media have, in effect, labelled Tony Veitch as a “wife beater” (I can’t bring myself to say “partner beater” – it sounds like some sort of shady business deal!). TVNZ may thus find themselves in the unlovely position of compensating him, indirectly, for being a perpetrator of domestic violence! I can hear the sound of PR spinners switching into top gear…

  3. MacDoctor Says:

    Adam:

    I agree with you about the oversell of Veitch in the wake of many other, more “worthy” stories. Of course, celebrities sell papers because this is what the public is apparently most interested in.

    Sigh.

    I must admit, I have some sympathy with the silence on Derek Fox. There is no evidence that he covered up the incident in any way – he has been quite open about it. In addition, the whole timing of the “news” about this feels like a smear tactic and any newspaper would do well to avoid participating in that.

  4. adamsmith1922 Says:

    MacDr

    re Derek Fox, it may be a smear, but he does not deny the incidents, and my point is that the same people baying for Veitch’s entrails to be fed to the sharks say nothing about Fox, further no questions are raised concerning the position of the Maori Party in supporting Fox, yet anyone who supports Veitch is then condemned.
    It is the double standard I object to, plus the emphasis on Veitch when there are other more important issues

  5. Inventory2 Says:

    Adam et al – what sets the Veitch case apart, IMHO is the payout. Few people could afford to pay a sum like $170k to make a problem “go away”. And I am decidedly uncomfortable about confidential cash settlements displacing the criminal justice system.

  6. Veitch spin quickens « Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] (For those who have been out of the country and not following events here closely, background on sportscaster Tony Veitch’s assault of his former girlfriend more than 2 years ago and its aftermath is here, here and here.) […]

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