Fallout from the Vancouver riots (and the social media coverage) blurs the line between work and personal life
As we come up on the one month anniversary of the Vancouver riots that destroyed businesses, injured dozens of people and made Canadians look like total jackasses, police are still searching for perpetrators.
If you took part, they have promised that they will find you, by whatever means necessary.
There have been some tales on people losing their jobs over the incident. The Toronto Star reports that Camille Cacnio, a part-time receptionist at a car dealership, was canned after she was caught in a three second clip stealing clothing from a looted store. Professional mountain biker Alex Prochazka lost his Oakley sponsorship after he was snapped posing in front of a burning car, while wearing a T-shirt from the sunglasses company. And carpenter Connor Mcilvenna apparently wasn’t even there, but he declared the riots “awesome” on his Facebook page, and posted other pro-riot status updates, such as “atta boy vancity!!! show em how we do it!!!” and “vancouver needed remodeling anyway....” He was fired the next day by RiteTech Construction.
The Globe and Mail reported last week (July 6) that several people have turned themselves in but police are poring over thousands of pictures and video files.
It can seem surprising that people can be so colossally dimwitted (not to mention evil), but, in actual fact, we are often given ample proof. See also: the Montreal Stanley Cup riot of 1993 and the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot of 1994. Social media just adds another dimension.
One can assume that the folks in question were hardly destined to be captains of industry and most of us wouldn’t bother comparing ourselves with them. But it’s worth noting AGAIN that social media has changed the game. I still see otherwise smart people posting stupid things on Twitter and Facebook, making jokes about lying in job interviews, or just plain old swearing and complaining about life or work. “Don’t worry,” one friend assured me, “My privacy is set too high for them to check my Facebook.”
“Don’t bet on it,” I thought to myself.
You need to watch what you’re doing. Always. Because here’s the thing: even if you don’t take a picture and post it online, you never know who else has a camera.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I always look over my shoulder before saying anything negative about anyone. My husband thinks I’m insane -- sometimes I even do it when we’re alone in the house. But I don’t care. Better safe than sorry.
And your boss can legally fire you without cause -- meaning for things you do outside the office -- as long as they meet notice and severance requirements.
Many of us probably agree that participating in a riot is ample cause. But I’m wondering how people feel about the case of Nathan Kotylak, the 17-year-old elite water polo player who was caught on camera trying to set a police car on fire during the riots.
Kotylak came forward, after he was identified, and apologized, saying he got caught up in the moment and was “ashamed.”
Still, a Facebook group has been set up, "100,000 strong to ban Nathan Kotylak from the Canada Olympic team," and has posted a petition online.
Shelly Comeon, the creator of the group, told the Canada Headlines Examiner, "If a member of a national team that represents Canada on the world stage wants to go out and destroy pubic property and risk other people's lives in the process, that's [Nathan Kotylak's] choice. But as Canadian tax payers we should have the choice to not reward him for his actions with scholarships and trips to the Olympics.”
Kotylak was suspended from the national water polo team and his family was forced to leave their home due to threats. But, so far the group only has 1,393 likes at the moment and the petition only 484 signatures.
Is that because of a lack of publicity or does it seem harsh to ruin this kid’s career over one (extremely) idiotic (and violent) mistake?
Also, we assume any of the firings in question would mean good riddance to bad rubbish, but what if the person is really GOOD at his or her job? Is the employer required to fire them regardless? Kotylak is apparently a star player on the Canadian team. Could keeping him from the Olympics mean losing? Is that fair to the team? If your star lawyer/trader/designer/salesman got caught looting a store, would you fire them on principal?
Employers will likely find themselves facing these questions more often. And maybe sooner rather than later of Vancouver officials live up to their promise.
Category: Career dilemmas, Life @ work, Recruiting and managing