November 2, 2015 12:59 pm
Updated: November 3, 2015 12:00 am

Rehired Hydro One staffer ‘made amends’ for FHRITP incident, union says

WATCH ABOVE: In a stunning reversal, Hydro One has hired back the Toronto engineer fired for defending obscene remarks made in a live news report. The initial incident led to a huge outcry, and as Caryn Lieberman reports, so has the utility's decision to take the man back.


TORONTO — The Hydro One employee fired for defending the sexist heckling of a female TV reporter has been rehired after a labour arbitrator determined he made “extensive efforts … to make amends for his conduct.”

The power utility fired Shawn Simoes last May after he appeared on camera defending a man who yelled “F–k her right in the p—y” at Citytv reporter Shauna Hunt during a report outside BMO Field.

Simoes didn’t yell the remark himself but told Hunt on camera that the slur is “f–king hilarious.”

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READ MORE: Hydro One employee fired after FHRITP yelled at reporter

A Hydro One spokesman offered little information Monday, only confirming that Simoes was reinstated after an arbitration process.

The union representing Simoes later issued a statement saying that the rehiring was “fair and reasonable in all of the circumstances of the case.”

“The arbitrator properly took into account the extensive efforts by Mr. Simoes to make amends for his conduct including apologies to Shauna Hunt and Hydro One, voluntarily attending sensitivity training at his own expense, and making a donation to the White Ribbon Campaign,” reads the statement from the Society of Energy Professionals.

READ MORE: Employees can be fired for ‘much less’ than defending FHRITP

“The Society also received email messages of support from a significant number of Mr. Simoes’ coworkers, both male and female, that overwhelmingly supported Mr. Simoes’ return to work. In view of all these circumstances,  the arbitrator found that the penalty of discharge was unjust and ordered Mr. Simoes to be reinstated.”

The incident made international headlines and reignited a conversation about the harassment many female reporters encounter on the job.

It also stirred a debate about whether Simoes could be fired if the offensive behaviour took place outside of the workplace.

READ MORE: ‘I have felt like a piece of meat’: How FHRITP is sexual harassment not just a prank

Simoes previously worked as an assistant network management engineer for the utility and appeared on Ontario’s 2014 Sunshine List of public employees making more than $100,000 a year.

Simoes later issued a written apology to Hunt, which Citytv stated was “very genuine” and said Hunt was “happy to accept it.”

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