Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Christoper Null: The Working Guy, who has a Tech blog over on Yahoo!, has this interesting story about a New Zealand worker fired for sending confrontational emails:
WHAT COULD BE MORE ANNOYING THAN THIS? MAYBE IF IT WAS BOLD? AND RED? . . . .
And if you worked for New Zealand's ProCare Health, it could even get you fired.
That's exactly what hapened to Vicki Walker, who was abruptly kicked out of her job for sending "confrontational emails" with text formatted in a variety of red, bold, and all caps fonts. Walker had sent the emails to fellow workers within the company, usually with stern and detailed instructions on how forms should be properly filled out.
Someone at ProCare didn't like her approach, suggesting she caused "disharmony in the workplace" and was being too confrontational via email, eventually firing her without warning.
Walker, however, got the last laugh. She sued for wrongful termination and won the case, pocketing $17,000 in lost wages and for other unspecified harm caused due to the firing.
OK, so Null brings up some good questions about this unusual workplace situation, including: "Is it OK to fire someone for misuse of their caps lock button?" I love his witty repartee about those responding in caps being fired!
What would happen in the United States? Well, with our vaunted employment at will system, probably not much, unless you could make the argument that this type of firing causes intentional infliction of emotional distress (hard to see how this would qualify as utter intolerable in a civilized society, no?).
Just cause for firing in a union or civil service environment - here, I have to agree with the Tribunal in New Zealand, I DON'T THINK SO!!!
Hat Tip: MIKE ZIMMER!!!!