This subject is very close to my heart, as I am moving my family from Nova Scotia back to Vancouver next month after several years away, and in my
opinion, Vancouver (and the entire Lower Mainland) is the most beautiful place in Canada to live, with the friendliest and most respectful citizens of
any city I've ever lived, and I was extremely proud to see so many volunteers cleaning up the mess the morning after the riot.
First let me comment on the man who was fired for making the "bad taste" comment. I don't think he should have been fired, because he was not
personally involved in the riot, however I think his employer would have been well within his rights to require that he remove his affiliation with
that company on his Facebook profile. This would have resolved the employer's concern about bad publicity.
Second, to answer your question about employers having the right to fire employees who participated in the riot, I feel that they definitely do have
the right to decide how they want their public image to be perceived, and that Vancouver-based employers have every right to decide to fire an
employee who participated in the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot.
Take the now-famous case of Camille Cacnio, a now-former employee of Burrard Acura (who absolutely did the right thing by firing her on the spot). She
willingly participated in looting a downtown clothing store and was caught on video leaving the store laughing while carrying out stolen merchandise.
She posted a lengthy "apology" on her blog, during which she openly admitted stealing items from the clothing store because it was "fun", and made
a lame attempt at justifying her actions by saying that was the only time she would ever do something like that:
And still, a lot of people will never find remorse for me because I had a huge smile on my face. But like I said earlier, it was fun at the time. I
thought it was pretty funny because this is the only time that I would ever do something like this. The smile on my face was an “I’m such a badass
I can’t believe I’m doing this!” kind of look.
She also attempted to convince anyone reading her apology that her crime was a minor one, and therefore she shouldn't be grouped in with other
participants of the riot:
Full text of original apology by Camille
I did not vandalize any buildings.
I did not set fire on anything.
I did not break any glass.
I did not instigate the riot.
I did not physically harm anybody.
I did not jump on any cop cars.
I did not even plan on being in the riot.
On any regular day I would not condone looting.
However, at the time of the riot everything just seemed so right.
The fact of the matter is, even if she didn't steal anything, simply by refusing to leave the area once the VPD read the
, she broke the law, and her employer has the right to decide not to employ a
The whole riot disgusted my wife and I as we were watching it live. For the record I am not a hockey fan, nor a fan of any sport, but since I'm
moving my family back to Vancouver next month, my wife and I spent the evening of June 15th, 2011 watching live feeds of the crowds in downtown
Vancouver online, and reading Twitter posts about the event. For two full hours before the game, we noticed there were an increasing number of tweets
saying there was going to be a riot after the game, and the closer it got to the end (and the more likely that Vancouver would lose), we saw more and
more people tweeting "there's going to be a riot" and to "get out of downtown Vancouver NOW!".
Less than 5 minutes after the game was over, my wife directed my attention to the live feed and we saw the first car being flipped over. We spent the
next 4 hours going back and forth between live feeds, TV news (CBC), and Twitter, and contrary to VPD claims that "anarchists" were responsible for
the riot, we saw only crazed, drunken, hockey jersey wearing fans openly attacking cars and businesses in downtown Vancouver. Not one "Black Bloc"
anarchist/instigator, as they claim. We also noticed that at least two thirds of the people we saw in the crowds were taking pictures or videos of
what was happening, and before we went to bed that night, those pictures and videos had already made their way onto Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube -
evidence of what they had done.
Because of the unprecedented nature of this riot (it happened live not only on TV, but on Twitter and Facebook - the first ever Social Media Riot), I
feel that anyone in the downtown core of Vancouver who participated in the riot should fear for their jobs. The public backlash is unlike anything I
have ever seen, with Facebook groups helping the VPD to identify every rioter they possibly can.
Because of the huge amount of public outrage, I feel that any employer of a riot participant is well within their rights to distance themselves from
anything to do with the whole situation - they have a business to run, and having a rioter in their employ definitely does adversely affect their
ability to run a successful business.
Remember, these people rioted over a freaking hockey game. There were nearly 3 million people surrounding Tahrir Square on February 10th, 2011,
peacefully protesting against nearly 30 years of oppression, and they did not riot even after Mubarak refused to leave office that day. North
Americans need to get their priorities straight.
The good news for me is that there's going to be a pretty lucrative job market when I get back there next month - with all the firings going on in
Vancouver right now, It'll be a heck of a lot easier for me to find a job there.