Recently, a couple of Research in Motion executives got drunk and disorderly on an Air Canada flight. As a result, the plane was brought down early at an unplanned destination. Among other things, this caused a number of passengers to miss their connecting flights and inconvenienced all of them. The incident has been getting a lot of air time here in Canada.
Today, RIM announced that it was firing the two yahoos. I think that is dirty pool and is inappropriate. There is no way they would have lost their jobs if they worked for another company (and, especially, IMHO, if they weren’t executives). In other words, a standard is being applied here based on their employer (RIM) and their executive status.
In fact, both print and online news sources have trumpeted these guys’ positions at RIM since the news initially broke (e.g. initial report in the Star headlines RIM, e.g. CBC notes RIM connection in its first report, e.g. next day’s article, e.g. other newspapers too). Would the media have made the same fuss about two line workers at IBM? Would anyone even know they worked for IBM? And, even if their employer was known, why would such information ever appear in a news item about a crime they (are alleged to have) committed? Think of it, when do you ever see someone’s employer become the focus of the news stories reporting on a crime that their employee(s) committed? And that’s just it - the news stories have repeatedly and conspicuously announced that these idiots were employed at RIM. TPTB at RIM had, therefore, little option but to give them the axe.
Again, I’ll ask - since when does your punishment (getting fired and/or publicly humiliated, etc.) depend on who you work for (excepting perhaps “major” figures known to the public beforehand)? More to the point, if the media had not discovered, and then broadly announced that these guys worked for RIM, the incident would not have even been reported and they’d still have their jobs.
I’ll finish by asking you to imagine that, tomorrow, two guys who are flying to Vegas pull the same stunts on their flight. Of course they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the applicable law(s). But, should they lose their jobs? Well, if they manage to keep the name of their employer from getting out, chances are their boss will never even find out what’s happened, let alone fire them. And if the identity of their employer is known, would it be likely to be shouted out in headlines, over and over again? If they work for Dell? What about Esso? No, that is reserved for employees of Research in Motion (or whatever company happens to be a media target at the time).