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CBC hires 'leading authority' to investigate Ghomeshi affair

Jian Ghomeshi is photographed in Toronto on July 3, 2012.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has hired Janice Rubin, an employment lawyer with more than two decades of experience, to lead an investigation into the Jian Ghomeshi affair.

In a memo to employees issued Tuesday afternoon, CBC called Ms. Rubin "a leading authority on workplace harassment" and noted she has a certificate in workplace investigation. It said Ms. Rubin, the managing partner of Toronto-based law firm Rubin Thomlinson LLP, is "an experienced workplace investigator, having conducted investigations into allegations of harassment, bullying and poisoned work environment and other employee misconduct."

"Current and former CBC/Radio-Canada employees who worked on Q or Play [the CBC Newsworld pop-culture show] during the period in which Jian Ghomeshi was host, and who have complaints, concerns or experiences they wish to share regarding harassment, discrimination, violence or other inappropriate workplace conduct during their work on these programs, are invited to contact Ms. Rubin," said the memo, written by the CBC's executive vice-president of English services, Heather Conway.

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"Some of you may only wish to discuss your concerns or experiences with Ms. Rubin without any further action being taken. However, if you have a specific complaint that you wish to have investigated, Ms. Rubin will do so in accordance with applicable CBC/Radio-Canada policies. CBC/Radio-Canada will fully co-operate with Ms. Rubin in completing her investigation."

Ms. Rubin will deliver a report to the broadcaster's senior management setting out "a summary of the complaints, concerns, and experiences shared," "findings with respect to each complaint she is asked to investigate," and "recommendations as to any steps CBC/Radio-Canada should take to resolve the complaints." Citing privacy concerns, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said in an interview that the details of specific complaints would not be made public.

Ms. Rubin has also been asked to deliver a separate report for senior management with recommendations on how the broadcaster can act "to prevent similar issues from arising in our organization in the future."

The CBC fired Mr. Ghomeshi on Oct. 26 after executives saw evidence they say indicated he had caused "personal injury to a woman." In the days since his dismissal, numerous women have come forward with allegations of physical or verbal assault. At least one of his former co-workers at Q has alleged sexual harassment.

Mr. Thompson said that Ms. Rubin will take "as long as it takes to allow for a thorough investigation," while recognizing "the urgency of dealing with this situation as quickly as possible."

She has free rein to speak to anyone at the broadcaster.

With a report from James Bradshaw

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Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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