Office building of CBC where Jian Ghomeshi works

Workplace Harassment: Lessons from CBC on What Not To Do

It’s out!  The investigation findings regarding Jian Ghomeshi’s case has been released.
To no surprise, the report revealed a very toxic workplace inside CBC whereby flagrant disrespect and abuse of power by Mr. Ghomeshi toward other employees ran rampant.  It was noted that such behavior was condoned by management for years despite having policies in place to address.
Not only did CBC management fail to enforce its own Behavioural Standards, they also ignored staff complaints against Mr. Ghomeshi by not acting or investigating when they should have.

As detailed in the findings, 

“CBC failed to live up to its obligations to provide its employees a workplace that is free from disrespectful and abusive behavior”
With the news, the public broadcaster has further cemented it’s notoriety in becoming the “poster child” of what not to do when handling workplace harassment issues. 

As I read through the report, 2 questions stuck in my head, and that is.…

  1. How does a large sophisticated organization like CBC commit such workplace blunders?  
  2. How did Mr. Ghomeshi’s troubling behaviour go unchecked for so many years?
I believe corporate politics and workplace culture has a lot to do with it.
This is common in many workplaces as well as in life – money, power and greed can lead to intentional blindness.  Senior executives at CBC chose to turn a blind eye because frankly, Mr. Ghomeshi was a money-maker.   
This is the downside of corporate politics whereby personal interests prevail with a disregard for the greater good.  Without the right values instilled and modeled from the top, the wrong ones will permeate throughout an organization at the expense of personal integrity and the well-being of employees who work there. 
In essence, CBC allowed a tumor to grow with ferocious power in the workplace.   A culture of fear, silence, disrespect and mistrust was then created.
Let’s imagine for a second, if an internal investigation was conducted by CBC at the outset, knowing what you know of the politics and culture inside, do you feel it would have been done properly and objectively?     
This is a key challenge with internal workplace investigations that I see based on my years in corporate HR.   I will examine this area in greater detail in a future post.  Before then, just some tips from my point of view…

HR Tips:
For CBC to regain any credibility in fulfilling it’s duty to protect workers and ensure a safe and harassment-free work enviornment, the tone needs to be set from the top and executives need to start “walking the talk”.

Policies and procedures set must also be consistently followed, otherwise, they become meaningless and will not help to lessen an employers’ exposure to liabilities…something CBC is learning the hard way.

Please check back in May for a continuation of this blog series. 

* Please note the content shared in this blog post is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. 

What do you think?  Share with us your thoughts on this topic!
At Strategywise HR, we understand the HR challenges you face and the workplace laws that affect you.  If workplace issues are keeping you up at night, or you need an experienced and objective workplace investigator, please contact us at 905-879-9994 for a free consultation. 

We can help you make informed people decisions that reduce risk and avoid costly mistakes.

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