Watch video above: Sterling’s punishment raises questions about how private conversations can affect you. Sean Mallen reports.
TORONTO – Can someone be fired for private comments that reflect badly on the company they are working for? The short answer is yes.
That’s the situation L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling found himself in after a recorded conversation between him and his girlfriend V. Stiviano was leaked over the weekend resulting in a ban from the NBA for life.
The long-time team owner’s racially charged comments, which were released by TMZ and Deadpsin Saturday morning, caused a national uproar and spurred a discussion about whether anyone can be fired from their job simply by making offensive remarks in a private setting.
At least one labour lawyer believes that’s 100 per cent possible in Canada.
“If it imputes negative things about their employer that cost them market share, that cost them business, that would be cause for discharge in Canada,” said labour lawyer Howard Levitt during an interview on The Morning Show.
It is also legal in Canada for someone to record a conversation without you knowing as long as “the party recording it knows it’s being recorded.”
“You can walk around with a tape recorder all day long if you wanted to in Canada,” Levitt said.
“If you’re on your job tape recording your bosses, that might violate a workplace code, but that’s a different issues. In terms of criminal law, it’s not illegal.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver condemned Sterling’s remarks on Tuesday calling them “hateful” and “deeply offensive and harmful.”
VIDEO: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Clippers owner Donald Sterling is banned from the league and the Clippers for life over his racist comments.
He was additionally fined $2.5 million and faces a forced sale of his team if other league owners kick him out with a three-quarters vote.
In the meantime, Stiviano said through her lawyer that she didn’t release the audio recording and is “very saddened” by Sterling’s lifetime ban.
Siamak Nehoray of Calabasas told the Los Angeles Times that her client “never wanted any harm to Donald.”
Nehoray previously said the recording posted online was a snippet of a conversation lasting roughly an hour.
In it, the Los Angeles Clippers owner apparently was upset with Stiviano for posting photos online of herself with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.
A number of high profile voices, including U.S. President Barack Obama, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and former basketball stars Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have all expressed their condemnation over Sterling’s comments.
With files from The Associated Press