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Thursday, April 12, 2007
I don't care much for Don Imus. However, an interesting question is whether Don Imus's fate should rest with the market or should be determined by the sensibilities of his employer or co-workers.
Neither NBC nor CBS is obligated to hire Imus, or anyone else for that matter. Both parties entered into agreement voluntarily and, within contractual limits, either party can sever that agreement at any time. That said, we are no longer in the laissez faire world of yester-year. There are state and federal laws that ostensibly limit the ability for employers to base hiring/firing decisions on personal characteristics outside the realm of productivity and profitability.
From Advertising Age:
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- MSNBC has canceled its simulcast of CBS Radio's "Imus in the Morning," following a long line of advertisers pulling their support of the show yesterday and today in the wake of controversial statements made on the air by host Don Imus. An NBC News spokeswoman said the advertisers' withdrawal was "not a factor in today's announcement. It really came as a result of numerous conversations with our employees. It was not driven by dollars. It was driven by integrity."What drew my attention was the comment "numerous conversations with our employees." Does this mean that NBC employees decided they did not want to work with Imus or work for a firm that would hire Imus and therefore Imus was fired because his co-workers didn't want him around? If so, this sounds like co-worker discrimination, which in many other contexts would be actionable.
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