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.]