Dismissed if you don’t follow the employers directive
How far is too far? Some of the wild things employers have asked employees to do
Sometimes employers ask their employees to do the wildest things. This could be anything from getting your employees to write fake positive reviews about the business or forcing someone to do something illegal. Below are some examples of crazy bosses forcing employees into weird situations. While some of these situations are funny, others are examples of serious misconduct by employers. So, how far is too far? Dismissed, if you don’t follow the employers directive, is relevant, we know we get these calls.
One employee at a fast-food chain was told by their boss to go through the bins and find customers’ receipts. First of all, that’s gross. Second, the reason behind this request was so employees could fill out the survey sections to give the store a higher rating. While most of the employees didn’t mind, this is certainly a questionable request! Though, that store is probably one of the highest-ranked in the country! Can you be dismissed for refusing to go through the garbage? We say no!
At the start of 2020, right when COVID-19 was spreading like crazy, many pregnant patients at a hospital stopped going in for regular check-ups. This included checks on mild abdominal pain, UTI tests or STD checks, as they were scared of catching COVID-19 from the hospital. Due to this, patient numbers dropped. The hospital managers started telling nurses to tell all pregnant women, regardless of the problem, that they should come into the hospital for a check-up if they asked. Luckily one nurse complained about this practice and started refusing to participate. Though, for fear of being dismissed, she just forwarded the calls to her head nurse to do the dirty work.
An employee was having a drink with his friends when he got a call from work after hours. A temp had quit, and so the boss was calling him into work. He told the boss he couldn’t come into work as he was already two whiskeys deep, which meant he could not make the 30-minute drive as he would be over the alcohol limit. The boss responded that since he was coherent enough to have a conversation, he could drive. Luckily the employee drew some boundaries and said he wasn’t going to risk killing someone or losing his license for the job. Then he hung up and kept enjoying drinks with his friends. Dismissal for not following an unlawful order, is not valid.
A grocery store decided that they were going to get rid of their specialized cleaners who cleaned a dangerous compactor in the store. Instead, they were go going to get their inexperienced staff to do the job. Although only once they left the compactor so long it started to stink of rotten meat and produce. All this to save some money. Anyway, the first person they asked refused because it was dangerous, disgusting, and not at all within their job description. Eventually, they convinced one employee to tackle the task. He ended up smelling so bad he had to go home and stank for a few days after. Money really does make people do crazy things!
A boss once asked an employee to kill a litter of kittens because customers were waiting to be helped. The employee discovered the kittens when he was loading a pile of bark chips into his truck. He pulled back the plastic cover and found the kittens, so young their eyes weren’t even open yet. He called his boss to ask what to do, and the boss told him that they didn’t have time to help them and to just toss them off the embankment. Fortunately, this employee had a heart. He hung up on his boss and called his girlfriend to come pick up the kittens and drop them off at the local shelter. Hopefully they found good homes!
While working at a grocery store an employee was told to pour four giant jugs of industrial strength glass cleaner down the drain in the public bathroom sink. This glass cleaner had such strong chemicals that it melted the plastic bottle it was contained in and then proceeded to melt the paint stored below it. As the employee is tipping this dangerous waste down the sink, she spilt some on herself, resulting in chemical burns all over her arms. She didn’t even get an apology from her boss. This should have been a workers compensation claim or may have lead to a successful constructive dismissal claim.
No License? No problem
While working at a restaurant, during a busy rush period the kitchen started running out of supplies. One employee was told to quickly drive to the store to get more. The employee informed their boss that they did not have their license and that they didn’t know how to drive. The boss’s solution: just don’t get pulled over! When that didn’t fly, the boss found someone with a license to get supplies. Probably a safer solution for everyone! Employees have to know their rights and more importantly excise them.
Not allowed to be sick
While working at a restaurant, due to short staffing, when employees were sick, they were still forced to come to work. One night both waitresses on shift called in sick as they had both caught the flu and had to go get PCR COVID-19 tests, as was required by law. Following the tests, they had to isolate until receiving their results. Results wouldn’t be sent until the next day. Well, the manager wasn’t having that, so he forced one of the waitresses to work. She did as she was afraid of being dismissed. When she tried to wear a mask on shift, because she was unsure if she had COVID-19, she was instructed by the same manager to take it off. This was because it was making customers ‘uncomfortable’. Sounds like the staff and customers’ safety was the last thing this restaurant cared about!
A boss told his high school employee to take his daughter to the employee’s year 12 formal. The daughter was in Grade 11 and wanted the popularity that would come with being invited to an older cohort’s formal. The employee was hesitant but decided to do it when the boss agreed to pay for the employee’s suit and limo to and from the formal. Turns out the employee and his boss’s daughter had a really good time and kept dating for a few months. While it didn’t work out, they are still friends to this day. Definitely a cute ending to what might have been a very awkward night!
Good Quality Cocaine
One boss asked their employee if they knew anyone that could sell them ‘good quality cocaine’. Of course, the employee said ‘no’, and that asking him was highly unprofessional. The boss tried to pretend he was ‘just testing him’. Two weeks later the boss called him into his office and told him that he was being dismissed as he needs loyal employees. Luckily the employee took notes of the conversation and got a settlement for his unfair dismissal claim!
How far is too far?
Conclusion to Dismissed, if you don’t follow the employers directive
Some of these examples are crazy and are tasks employers should not be asking their employees to complete. Your employer cannot ask you to do anything illegal, whether it’s downloading some illegal software, selling them drugs, or driving drunk. Employers can not dismiss you if refuse to do these tasks either!
Even if your employer asks you to do something that is technically legal, you can refuse and complain about this request if it threatens your health and safety. If your employer has asked you to do something that you’re unsure about. You can also enquire about what is required from your role, including the tasks you are expected to complete.
If you make these enquiries or complain about ridiculous tasks you’re asked to complete, your employer cannot take adverse action against you. These rights to enquire and complain are protected by law as your workplace rights. Should your employer inappropriately discipline you, start harassing you, or dismiss you, then you may have a general protections claim against them!
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