Canadian construction CEO appeals against sacking for racism

Michael Geoghegan, former president and CEO of the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) in Canada, says he is considering a wrongful dismissal lawsuit after being fired last week by his own board.

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By  Eudore Chand Published  December 1, 2003

Michael Geoghegan, former president and CEO of the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) in Canada, says he is considering a wrongful dismissal lawsuit after being fired last week by his own board. Geoghegan may contest that he was terminated because of a left-wing conspiracy on the BCCA board of directors, not because he appeared on a radio talk show and described National Democratic Party candidate Jenny Kwan as a pretty but stupid politician who has only lasted in politics because she’s an attractive Asian woman. “Essentially, I was fired for expressing my political beliefs,” he told The Vancouver Sun. “I chose a very poor way of expressing my view that Jenny Kwan is a political lightweight ... There are no grounds for firing here.” Geoghegan made the comments during a debate on a radio talk show where he is a regular political commentator. On the air Geoghegan said, “The fact that she’s been as successful as she has in her career has everything to do with her gender and ethnicity. If she’d been a white male she would have been an also-ran a long time ago.” When Schreck called that comment racist and sexist, Geoghegan went even further. “No it isn’t, it’s true,” said Geoghegan. “It’s like ‘Oh, let’s get a Chinese female in the house. She looks pretty, not a lot upstairs, but hey, she looks good on camera’.” Geoghegan apologised for his “very poorly chosen” words later that day. In discussions with the BCCA, he said he offered to be suspended for two weeks with his pay donated to a charity of Kwan’s choice. But the BCCA board of directors met in a teleconference Friday, and Geoghegan said he was given a choice between resigning and being fired.

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