Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Arbitrator rules for ‘Globe and Mail’ over Jan Wong

From the Toronto Star:

Journalist Jan Wong breached a confidentiality agreement with The Globe and Mail and must pay back an undisclosed severance payment, an arbitrator has ruled.

The decision by arbitrator Louisa Davie comes after Wong’s former employer objected to a book she wrote about her battle with depression, as well as some of her Tweets and media interviews.

Davie ruled this week that Wong’s 2012 book Out Of The Blue breached a Memorandum of Agreement signed by herself, the Globe and her former union, the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 87-M.

According to the article, that agreement set limits on to whom Wong could disclose terms of her settlement.

“There is a somewhat simplistic attraction to the Employer’s position that because it has been deprived of the confidentiality for which it bargained, the grievor should similarly be deprived of the benefit she received, namely payment,” Davie wrote.

For background, here is a 2012 blog post on Out of the Blue‘s release. It’s worth noting that the original publisher, Doubleday Canada, wanted all references to the Globe and Mail and a few Manulife Financial, the company’s insurer, removed from the book. Wong refused and self-published it.

Addendum

The Globe and Mail published a relatively detailed story on the ruling.:

The Globe, which was represented by lawyer Stephen Shamie, said in a statement that it took the action on principle, and that the repayment of the settlement funds would be donated to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

“The Globe and Mail took this action on principle to protect the confidentiality of private negotiations with both its union and its staff and to maintain a system which respects the privacy of personnel matters,” the statement reads. “All personnel matters related to current and former staff must remain confidential for the sake of the employees. For that reason, The Globe has not responded to allegations made by Jan Wong and nor will it.”

Wong, in an email, told the Globe she was extremely disappointed in the outcome of what she described as an unfair process. She had lawyers working on avenues of appeal. The union failed to to present all the defences it could, she said.

The union said it had one of the country’s top labour leaders working on Wong’s case, but the arbitrator found that Wong had breached the terms of settlement.

Fri, July 5 2013 » Main Page, Media