Employment Law

Radio show hosts threatened with termination over personal opinions

A headshot of Toronto employment lawyer Lior Samfiru next to the logos for Samfiru Tumarkin LLP and radio station 640 Toronto.

Cumulus Media in Atlanta has instructed all of its media personnel they will be terminated if they continue to voice certain opinions concerning the U.S federal election. Many employees have construed this as possible censorship. While the media company is American, there are some broad concerns across media platforms concerning censorship and personal responsibility.

Lior Samfiru is a Toronto employment lawyer and partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. He joined host Mike Stafford on Global News Radio 640 Toronto to discuss the implications of public figures voicing their opinions and the potential consequences for employment.

What They Discussed

Is this legal as radio hosts are often hired to voice their opinions?

It is far more difficult for an employer to restrict what journalists report on as it is an implied term of employment. In talk radio, however, it is not necessarily a journalistic endeavor. An employee would have had to negotiate the terms of their employment. This restriction is not imposed by the government and a private corporation and from a legal standpoint, there doesn’t seem to be a case.

Does the timing of this memo being sent out the matter as it comes on the heels of the events at the Capitol?

In Canada, all freedom of speech rights is subject to reasonable limits as there are situations in which rights can be restricted for the greater good.

Does the opinion expressed by the host matter in regards to restricting speech?

Private corporations are allowed to dictate how they want their employees to voice opinions. In Ontario, political views are not protected ground.

Would disobeying these restrictions be grounds for a termination for cause?

An employer should have a clear policy outlining the terms. In Ontario, one incident might not be grounds for termination for cause; there should be warnings and escalation as a result of misconduct.

Laid Off? Questions about your rights during COVID-19?

Our employment lawyers are ready to provide you with the advice you need, and the compensation you deserve.

Get help now

Advice You Need. Compensation You Deserve.

Consult with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. We are one of Canada's most experienced and trusted employment, labour and disability law firms. Take advantage of our years of experience and success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

Get help now