The weird workplace

Best of luck finding some schmuck'; GM workers, find your thesaurus; He stole what?; French engineers, find your rulers; Innuendo everywhere — just not in line, please
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/16/2014

‘Best of luck finding some schmuck’

PLEASANT HILL, Calif. — The city clerk for the City of Pleasant Hill in California recently handed in her resignation, a doozy of a rant to Mayor Tim Flaherty and city manager June Catalano. Kim Lehmkuhl wrote: "This has been an atrocious, incredibly depressing and mind-numbingly inane experience I would not wish on anyone. I wish the City the best of luck in finding some schmuck eager to transcribe every last misogynistic joke, self-indulgent anecdote and pathetic, pandering attempt by council, and every tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, racist aside, and NIMBY asshattery from the lovely council meeting frequent flyers… June, also best of luck with your imminent unfunded pensions scandal, that is going to be a rough one," according to CNN. Few tears were shed by her resignation, according to the mayor. "At least her resignation demonstrated her ability to craft a full sentence with colourful language," said Flaherty. "Every council member had called for her resignation. We had to hire people to do her job." The city clerk position is an elected one.

GM workers, find your thesaurus

DETROITGeneral Motors asked its employees to stop using words such as "deathtrap," "widowmaker" and "rolling sarcophagus" in internal communications, according to a 2008 presentation to employees that was just leaked. But the list of banned words went on, including: Hindenburg, powder keg, Titanic, apocalyptic, you’re toast and Kevorkianesque. Plus safety, safety-related, serious, failure and defect, according to CNNMoney. There were also entire sentences to avoid: "This is a lawsuit waiting to happen" and "unbelievable engineering screw-up" were on the naughty list. GM told employees they need to understand there "really aren’t any secrets" in the company. "For anything you say or do, ask yourself how you would react if it was reported in a major newspaper or on television," it said.

French engineers, find your rulers

PARISA $5 tape measure might have saved the French government about $118.5 million — and counting. France’s national rail company, SNCF, said it has ordered 2,000 trains that are too wide for many station platforms, entailing costly repairs with a price tag of 80 million euros ($118.5 million Cdn) to date, according to Reuters. Most of France’s 1,200 platforms were built more than 50 years ago, but the dimensions given to engineers were from stations built less than 30 years ago. The government’s transport minister blamed an "absurd rail system" for the problem, referring to changes made by a previous government in 1997 that separated the rail operator from the rail company.

Innuendo everywhere – just not in line, please

RUSSELL, Iowa — A cashier at a convenience store has been awarded unemployment benefits after being fired for talking about sexual activities with a customer, according to the Des Moines Register. Wellma Shafer was fired from the Last Chance Market in January but filed a complaint alleging profanity and off-colour humour were part of the store’s culture. To prove her point, she highlighted some of the items for sale in the store. "There’s jelly beans, salsa, hot sauces and all kinds of different things about women’s (bodies)," she testified. "There’s a whole shelf referring to — well excuse me — but there’s one called ‘The Hottest F---in Nuts.’" Plus there was coffee called "Wake the F--- Up" with a label that read: "This coffee makes a seriously strong cup of Joe. It will put some stride in your step and some lead in your pencil." Plus there were expletive named hot sauces that said they had "ass-burning" qualities. The court said the owner should have warned Shafer of any problems with her performance before terminating her. The kicker to all this? The store also has a sign that reads, "Shirts and shoes required but bras and panties are optional." And when a reporter called the owner for a quote, he swore at the newspaper.

He stole what?

SEATTLE — Vigilant employees are often on the lookout for shoplifters, but not many are keeping an eye on the toilets. Perhaps they should be — Seattle police are looking for a man suspected of stealing the toilet tank from a restaurant bathroom as workers at a Subway sandwich shop prepared his family’s meal. After placing an order, he entered the restroom and remained inside even after his wife knocked on the door, asking why he was taking so long, according to Reuters. She left without him. When he finally emerged, he hurriedly left the restaurant carrying a large plastic garbage bag. An employee who later entered the bathroom discovered the tank was missing, and the running sink was stuffed full of paper towels.