How serious is serious misconduct if it’s not a sackable offence?
This is just one of several questions raised by the behaviour of Roger Sutton who resigned as chief of the Canterbury Recovery Authority (CERA).
Another is why was he given the opportunity to speak at the media conference announcing his resignation and which led him to breach the confidentiality agreement?
He used that opportunity to say he’d called women honey and sweetie and he apologised for that which left many saying this was PC gone mad.
Such endearments are not appropriate in a professional working environment but they’re hardly a sacking offence.
However, it’s become clear since then that there was a great deal more to the complaint of sexual harassment, which was upheld after a seven week investigation, than a few honeys and sweeties.
Not surprisingly the victim is upset:
The woman who made a sexual harassment complaint against Cera chief executive Roger Sutton is “torn up” and upset he has been able to foster public sympathy.
The victim has been told by State Services Commission (SSC) lawyers not to speak publicly about the case. She has repeatedly declined to comment when approached by Press. . .
He said his piece, at a media conference, but she is abiding by the confidentiality agreement.
Will there be any consequence for his breach?
Equal Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue is questioning the processes used by CERA and the SSC:
Dr Blue says the public vilification of the woman who made the allegations could have “a chilling effect on future complaints.”
She questioned why Mr Sutton was allowed to go public.
“We’ve heard one side of the story, or one side has minimised the issue,” Ms Blue told media.
“Where’s the woman’s voice in this? What sort of support is she getting? And what’s it going to do for people who are thinking about complaining about complaining are concerned they may be undergoing sexual harassment in the workplace.” . .
What is it going to do for anyone thinking about complaining about any harassment or other misconduct at work?
What would have happened had Sutton not resigned?
How serious is serious when it’s not sackable?
And if it’s serious but not sackable is it too hard to sack?