Hydro One Fired the Wrong Guy! By Frank Giorno

A few weeks ago Hydro One without mercy and reflection brutally dismissed a young man for making sexist comments to a City TV reporter who turned the camera on the drunken yahoos attending a Toronto FC match. But I think they fired the wrong guy.

Hydro One Should Fire Carmen Marcello its President and CEO for criminal billing practices

Hydro One Should Fire Carmen Marcello its President and CEO for criminal billing practices

Even though the young employee did something stupid and repugnant the just released report by Andre Marin, Ontario’s Ombudsman, into Hydro One’s billing practices show the company’s corporate behaviour is even more repugnant and indeed may even be criminal.

If Hydro One is consistent on applying their draconian firing policies the man they should fire ASAP is their CEO and President Carmen Marcello. After all the buck has to stop somewhere right? The tone for corporate behaviour rests with the CEO and President. And whereas the former young Hydro One employee was likely drunk or at least overtaken by the tribalistic behaviour that surrounds sporting events, the corporate billing practices were probably premeditated and developed while sober, one would hope.

Marcello has to go. If he stays it would signal that Hydro One has one human resources policy for the lowly grunts and another for those who run the show like Marcello.

Marcello may be a fine fellow. I do not know him. But right now, Hydro One under his leadership is a damaged company…much more damaged than the antics of a junior employee who when drunk or excited at soccer a soccer match said something stupid. The damage caused to Hydro One under Marcello’s leadership is much,much worst that what the fan could have inflicted on a scale from 1 to 10.

Hydro One should fire him but only after reading the scathing Ombudsman report of how Hydro One engaged in out and out robbery of their clients accounts. What’s that saying about what goes around comes around?

Hydro One’s billing system wrongly charged customers exorbitant amounts on their month bills. (see below for link to the Toronto Star Story). The initial response from Marcello and Hydro One is not encouraging. He accepts no blame and no responsibility. Marcello blames the sub-contracted billing company for all the wrong Hydro One unleashed on its customers.

Andre Marin, the Ombudsman found that in some instances Hydro One acted illegally. Hydro One even lied to the Ombudsman and tried to derail his investigation and then Marin said they even celebrated their deception like a gang of tribalistic soccer fans.

As for the young man who got fired by Hydro One. You did something really foolish and stupid. But you are lucky too. Because who wants to work for Hydro One and its criminal practices? I would suggest that the young man get a lawyer and examine his possibilities. Also I would suggest he publicly apologize for his statements and make a sincere effort to learn and grow from his mistake. Hiding in anonymity is the worst thing you can do. In time select an appropriate media outlet to tell your story, and also to offer a public apology.

The TV camera is a magnet for goofy behind the interviewer behaviour that ranges from a benign HI MOM to the more serious recent developments where boorish males yell sexually provocative slogans at female reporters. In this case the drunk males thought the camera was off. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that if they knew the camera was on they would not have acted as crudely. In fact one of the group of men asks “are you recording this”?

The complete story of how Shauna Hunt found herself confronted by a boorish gang of sports fans is more complicated. This is a story the media will not report in its entirety because it is more about the reckless media moguls who send their employees alone into a hazardous workplace situations without adequate support. Oh come on you say! People should act better than those boorish young men and the Hydro One employee deserved what he got…yes, that would be a great world if people always acted civilized. Hey we would not even need that great institution called the Police Department if people just behaved properly all the time.

For a television reporter going into a crowd to cover a story can be an occupation hazard regardless of gender. And cuts by media companies have made the job even more hazardous.

In the old days, a TV reporter would be accompanied by a producer or a camera man. The producer would select the shot or interview location and shoo away any idiots who interfered with the interview. The camera also would be able to assist if needed. But because of cuts to staff. A TV reporter now lugs the camera and is on their own to fend off yahoos. This time it was a female reporter, but next time it could be an altercation between a fan and a male reporter.

I suggest the reporter if she had any sense of decency would issue a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board and to the Workers Safety Board. But she won’t even though it is a workplace safety issue as much as it is a gender issue. Who wants to get fired right?

Here is the Toronto Star article about the Ombudsman’s Report on Hydro One’s billing practices.