Sacked: 5 unbelievable reasons workers were dismissed
Terminated workers often have unbelievable stories to tell about how they were let go. In this article, we look at some the most shocking and bizarre reasons workers have been sacked from across the globe. Sacked: 5 unbelievable reasons workers were dismissed is the tip of the iceberg. We will look to what goes on out there in Australian workplaces every day.
1) Programmer sacked for outsourcing his work to China
In 2013, a US-based infrastructure company noticed that someone was repeatedly logging into their IT system from China. This was despite the company not having any staff in the country. The company immediately suspected hackers. But when IT experts were tasked with investigating the mysterious security breach, they discovered the person responsible was in fact within their ranks.
It turned out that one of the company’s US-based programmers, who had been described as an “inoffensive and quiet” family man, had been behind the security scare. Known only as “Bob,” the programmer was in his forties and earning a six-figure salary at the company. Bob had worked out an ingenious scheme that allowed him to spend his days at work watching cat videos. Then spend thec rest of day trawling through social media. In a move that saw him sacked immediately, Bob had been paying a Chinese consulting firm to do his job for one-fifth of what he was getting paid in salary.
Everybody thought the employee was working hard
And no one suspected Bob could be up to such wrongdoing. He was one of the company’s best programmers who was seen daily working tirelessly at his desk, seemingly engrossed in his work. Prior to Bob being dismissed, the company found hundreds of PDF invoices addressed to the Chinese consulting firm. Bob was of course promptly sacked after the company discovered the full scope of his wrongdoing. It found out that he was pocketing several hundred thousand dollars per year while only paying the consulting firm around 50 thousand.
2) School basketball coach sacked for not apologizing for 100-0 win
Who knew you could be sacked for performing too well in your job? Well, that’s exactly what happened to a Texas high school basketball coach who led his team to a remarkable 100-0 win. And the reason coach Micah Grimes was sacked by the Covenant School of Dallas will blow your mind. The school, rather than being happy about the monumental win, had described it as an effrontery to the teachings of Christ.
“It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honourable approach to competition,” the head of the school told media. Rather than praise his amazing coaching, the school had ordered Mr Grimes to email an apology to the school his team thrashed. But he flatly refused to do so. Instead, he made a statement to the media in which he said he wouldn’t “apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honour and integrity.”
Mr Grimes’ refusal to offer an apology, in addition to his statement to the media, saw him promptly sacked by the school. Of course, being sacked under these circumstances would likely not be possible in Australia, where our robust workplace laws protect employees from unfair dismissal. But in America, it’s a different story, with employees having far less rights when it comes to getting sacked.
3) Dental assistant sacked for being too sexy
This unbelievable story from 2012 involves a dental assistant, Melissa Nelson of the US state of Iowa, who was sacked for being “irresistible” to her boss. Ms Nelson had worked at the dentistry of James Knight for a decade. Then his wife began to complain about his infatuation with her. Ms Nelson, who was married with kids, was subsequently sacked by Mr Knight for threatening his marriage, believe it or not.
The employee later took Mr Knight to court for discrimination. Where she revealed that he had regularly complained about her clothes being “distracting” as they “accentuated her body.” Mr Knight would often ask Ms Nelson to wear a lab coat to help quell his arousal. The employer had even told Ms Nelson that “if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing.” Mr Knight had also made comments about Ms Nelson’s infrequent sex life, telling her “that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.”
Ms Nelson had texted Mr Knight to let him know that his criticisms weren’t fair. But when his wife found out that they had been texting, he sacked Ms Nelson for being a “big threat to our marriage.” This came after Mr Knight had sought the advice of his pastor. Who he told it was necessary to sack her because “he would try to have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her.” Amazingly, Ms Nelson lost her discrimination case against Mr Knight despite Iowa law stipulating that gender-based discrimination is illegal.
General protections provisions
It’s worth noting that in Australia, it’s highly unlikely a workplace discrimination claim like this would come to the same result. This is because the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 provide strong protections. It ensures workers aren’t discriminated against based on their sex, race, religion and many other characteristics.
Customer service rep sacked for using cardboard coin at laundromat 50 years earlier
This story from 2012 could possibly be one of the most bizarrely unfair cases of a worker being sacked. It involves 68-year-old Richard Eggers, who was sacked from his customer service role at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. This is for something he had done half a century earlier as an 18-year-old. The remarkable reason Mr Eggers was sacked was because he had placed a cardboard cut-out of a 10 cent piece into a washing machine at a laundromat back in 1963. Mr Eggers had been convicted by a court and spent two days in jail for what he described as a “stupid stunt”.
Mr Eggers had been sacked as the US government had in 2011 implemented a strict law designed to weed out those employees in the banking industry who had been found guilty of financial crimes. Typically, however, these crimes include the likes of money laundering and fraud. But fearing the steep penalties they could face, Wells Fargo decided to sack Mr Eggers despite his crime hardly amounting to more than a teenage prank. And one that took place some fifty years earlier.
Teenage office assistant sacked for calling job “boring” on Facebook
It would be hard to find an employee who hasn’t at one time thought of broadcasting their displeasure with their job on social media. In 2009, 16-year-old office assistant Kimberley Swann was sacked for doing just that. On her first day at London company Ivell Marketing & Logistics, Ms Swann took to Facebook to declare just how boring her new job was. The post read: “first day at work. omg (oh my God)!! So dull!!.”
A few days later, Ms Swann decided to moan about her job yet again. This time posting: “all i do is shred holepunch n scan paper!!! omg!” And two weeks later, she was at it again, posting “im so totally bord!!!”. But the innocent seeming posts came back to haunt Ms Swann when they were discovered by her boss, Mark Ivell. Ms Swann was called into a meeting where Mr Ivell told her that “I have seen your comments on Facebook and I don’t want my company being in the news.” This was despite Ms Swann never mentioning the company’s name in the posts.
Ms Swann was promptly sacked for what Mr Ivell described as her “disrespect”. Because this made her role at the company “untenable.” Both Ms Swann and her mother hit out at the company following her sacking. Ms Swann told media that its management had “stooped quite low” by sacking her. While her mother was in disbelief that the company would sack such a young employee, saying: “this is a 16-year-old child we’re talking about.”
McDonalds worker sacked for giving free cheese with hamburger
This might possibly be the most ridiculous reason for a worker to get sacked. In 2009, a McDonalds waitress in the Netherlands was sacked for selling a hamburger to a colleague that included a free slice of cheese. After being sacked, the waitress took McDonalds to court with an unfair dismissal claim. The fast-food chain argued that the waitress had contravened company policy prohibiting free gifts to friends or colleagues.
However the court ruled that sacking the waitress was a far too serious measure, saying that “it is just a slice of cheese.” McDonalds was ordered to pay the waitress around $AU6,500.
Conclusion to: Sacked: 5 unbelievable reasons workers were dismissed
We at A Whole New Approach are Australia’s leading workplace mediators and commentators. AWNA are dedicated to helping workers stand up for their rights. If you have been unfairly sacked, experienced bullying or sexual harassment, or have faced discrimination, we can help.
Talk to us about making unfair dismissal or a general protections claims Our expert advisors can help you understand the process of taking action through the Fair Work Commission. And we can make it easy for you and help ensure a favourable result. We are proud of our staff and the outcomes they have got for our clients. You can benefit from our no win, no fee service. Your first consultation with us is free.
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