Is it too hard to sack?

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?

4 Responses to Is it too hard to sack?

  1. Andrei says:

    Unfortunately most of those who flourish in the political arena, which includes the corporate political arenas are disciples of the Prince of Lies and are exceptionally good at twisting and distorting the truth to advance their own agendas.

    So how are we mere mortals to judge the real facts of this case and the plethora of analogous ones where often the accused is publicly pilloried while the accuser remains anonymous?

    Its impossible for us to judge the merits or otherwise of the accusations!!!!

    But all should bear in mind there is a Day of Judgement when all will be revealed


  2. Ross Miller says:

    Sage post.


  3. JC says:

    To me it looks like a stitch up between a powerful and well liked CEO and an SSC being piggy in the middle.

    What neither “got” was there were equally powerful and credible women prepared to go public to defend the complainant.

    Its 25 years since I was in public service in probably the wildest and uncurried department in the PS and I never ever saw a senior officer putting the sort of stuff Sutton is alleged to have done on a female employee. I heard about the odd stuff but such people were quickly banished to a forest at the end of a road in the Nevernevers.



  4. Gravedodger says:

    When due process is conducted beyond the public view the buggers muddle will always intervene because when facts are hidden then the desire to seek them out will motivate many.
    We have a prominent New Zealander in the Lakes district that nearly everyone knows the Identity of, yet no one will publish it.
    There are regular stuffups revealed from “Family Court” proceedings where suppression prevents some from gaining any traction against powerful legal threats.

    One of the main tenets of a just legal system is open court proceedings where evidence can be tested. What Rennie took weeks to discover and the subsequent outcomes prove, is that justice conducted in secret will always be suspect and will feed rumor and speculation.

    I am not passing judgement on Mr Sutton but the process that is increasingly blurring the perceptions held by so many is becoming the nub while the truth is being hidden and then manipulated for advantage by all sides.

    Confidentiality has a place but eventually the truth will out and those who would hide will be exposed.

    Jacky Blue, Hon Gerry Brownlie et al have the power to sort such crap out but I am betting nothing will change and the next allegation will be handled just as badly.


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