Sunday, May 06, 2007

Imus Redux

All employment is contractual. Most often the terms of the contract need to be implied from the circumstances and from the law. Imus, as a sophisticated player in the employment contract game, had a more specific and refined contract than most.

The latest iteration of his contract was only three months into a five year term with an apparent value of $40 million. That contract provided that Imus' services were "unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial." The clause also said Imus' programming was "desired by company and ... consistent with company rules and policy."

Although I argued before that even without those clauses, CBS was aware of Imus’ style, this would make CBS’ argument even more difficult. On top of that Imus’ lawyer, Martin Garbus alleges that the station has a delay button which allows it to cut out any offending material. If that is true, then CBS not only tacitly allowed the material, but had the option to prevent it from airing.

To be fair to CBS, editing hosts, writers etc. is probably a difficult task. Presumably, there is some understanding between Imus and CBS as to what they can edit. Any argument for cause for termination would have to take that into consideration.

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