When the CBC was sued by a former employee for wrongful dismissal last year, the public broadcaster filed a statement in response that included a laundry list of alleged bad behaviour that would get almost anyone fired from their job.
Audrey James, CBC Television’s former senior director of scheduling, was terminated for just cause on March 2, 2018, ending a 29-year career at the broadcaster.
According to the CBC’s statement of defence in her subsequent suit, James was found to have violated the CBC’s code of conduct and policies on harassment and ethics, after a series of complaints made around the spring of 2017. Among other things, they allege James “made scheduling decisions…based on the negative relationships James had with her colleagues.”
James’s lawyer tells CANADALAND that his client denies the allegations.
The CBC also claims that she treated her 12 employees poorly, from discouraging employees from taking vacation to making a subordinate do her child’s homework. The statement includes remarks James allegedly made to her employees like “If you get pregnant, I will push you down the stairs” and “One day your daughter is going to jump in front of the train and kill herself.”
In addition, James allegedly made derogatory comments including a homophobic slur and mocked a month of Indigenous programming by calling it “Abo Month” and “would make a coordinating gesture of tapping her mouth with her hand.”
The CBC said her behaviour “had a destructive and lasting impact on the Programming team.”
The allegations haven’t been proven in court.
On December 13, James’s lawyer, Matthew Dewar, told CANADALAND that a reply would be filed imminently. No further documents had been entered into the court record as of Wednesday afternoon, and Dewar did not reply to follow-up emails.
The CBC wouldn’t comment on a matter before the courts.
James’s statement of claim calls the investigation into her conduct “tendentious,” arguing that the allegations the CBC relied on were “trivial” and “did not amount to just cause.” James asks for $366,494 of lost remuneration, along with other damages that account for the loss of pension value. James, who earned a $135,000 salary in her role, said she had not been able to find new employment that uses her skills and offers a similar salary.
A Tumblr page that appears to have been created by her daughter suggests that James was 18 or 19 when she started at the CBC.
Audrey James v. CBC statement of defence by on Scribd
Audrey James v. CBC statement of claim by on Scribd