There was no gender bias in dealing with employees – NCN
Following the recent suspension of its Sport Editor and the removal of its News Anchor from reading of the 6 ‘O’ Clock News, the National Communications Network (NCN) hired a Communications Practitioner to examine the facts surrounding Management’s interactions with the employees, to determine whether the charges of gender bias and accusations of discrimination are justified.
The company in August suspended Sport Editor, Jocelle Archibald-Hawke for one month without pay, after she posted a status on social media- facebook, comically criticizing another staff/producer at NCN, while News Anchor, Natasha Smith was removed from reading the news, allegedly because she is pregnant; both instances saw much criticism directed at the state-owned entity.
According to a statement from the entity, the Communications Practitioner, Mr. Abraham B. Poole concluded that there was no gender bias and discrimination in dealing with the issues.
Mr. Poole has said, “The camaraderie observed and the commitments expressed by all of the members of the management committee contradict the serious accusations and vehement condemnation that NCN Management has been subjected to in recent weeks. I am surprised that there was absolutely no split in the opinion of all the managers that the management intervention, which unfortunately led to the major misunderstanding, was designed to improve the work of NCN and that there was neither overt nor covert gender bias.”
In relation to Ms. Smith who was later reinstated to read the news, Poole identified a number of difficulties in the communications chain which “are correctable and preventable.”
“The diligence of the Human Resource Manager impressed me favourably and the empathy conveyed to Ms. Smith with the assurance that neither herself nor her pregnancy was the reason for the improvement measure in the presentation of the NCN news,” he said.
On the circumstances relative to Mrs. Archibald-Hawke, in whose case, the company decided to release her month’s salary, Mr. Poole said “It is to the credit of NCN, notwithstanding serious and disturbing infractions, that as a good employer it has opted to be hopeful that discipline would result in change.”
In relation to the management’s change in decision, he noted that the compassion that has persuaded the Management of NCN to review and modify by attenuating the disciplinary measure must be seen as an investment in the future of the employee and must not be viewed as organisational weakness.
During the period of his inquiry, the Communications Practitioner was privy to the minutes of relevant management meetings and hosted meetings with members of the NCN’s Management Team and the affected employees.
Reacting to the preliminary disclosures, the Chairman of NCN’s Board contends that NCN is an ideal platform from which to foster the rights of women and display gender equity in the workplace.
Mr. Poole has been a media practitioner and lectured at the University of Guyana. He holds qualifications in Communications and International Relations and has held several positions while employed by the Government of Guyana and the United Nations Development Programme – Guyana, among other organisations.