The Weird Workplace

New feature looks at quirky, unusual and entertaining workplace stories
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/26/2013

Hockey ref called for misconduct

SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT. — A referee from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) has been suspended for the rest of the season after he tweeted out a low opinion of women in the northern Ontario city. Joe Monette, a native of Windsor, Ont., posted this on Twitter: “Soo Saint Marie, two words, Slim Pickens #noteeth #hicktown #allfat(t)ies.” Monette, who later apologized via Twitter, said the tweet was meant to be a joke to a friend who lived in Sault Ste. Marie, but neither league officials nor the mayor were laughing.

Here’s a tip: Leave a tip

ST. LOUIS, MO. — Can a restaurant receipt go viral? Yes, as seen when a waitress at an Applebee’s restaurant snapped a picture of a bill she thought was both insulting and amusing and uploaded it to Redditt. A pastor who ate dinner at the restaurant had scratched out the 18 per cent gratuity that was automatically added to her portion of her group’s bill and wrote: “I give God 10% why do you get 18.” She also scratched out the tip on her US$34.93 bill and wrote zero and signed her name with “Pastor” in front of it. The waitress who snapped the photo — who wasn’t the one stiffed on the tip — was fired. In a statement, Applebee’s said: “Our guests’ personal information — including their meal check — is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly.”

A stinky situation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — How much flatulence is worthy of a reprimand? According to the Social Security Administration in the United States, 61 instances in a 17-day span — though the reprimand letter was rescinded after higher-ups at the federal government agency got wind of it. The website The Smoking Gun obtained a copy of the reprimand, which was circulated among union officials, and the five-page letter outlines the worker’s history of flatulence, including specific dates and times. It details meetings between the worker and his supervisor, and contains text such as: “I informed you that the smell from your being flatulent disturbed your co-workers and disrupted the work environment.” It outlines the steps the supervisor took to deal with the situation, including referring the worker to an employee assistance program and recommending the medication Gas-X. The reprimand, which would have stayed in the worker’s file for one year, was considered “the least severe” penalty available to state the severity of the conduct and deter future misconduct.

Game over: You’re fired

OTTAWA — A part-time customer service representative at the Canada Revenue Agency didn’t receive a high score with a new game he developed. Instead, he was given a pink slip. David Gallant, a self-taught computer developer, created an online game called I Get This Call Every Day. He told the Toronto Star the game was a work of fiction inspired by true events. In it, the player listens to a conversation between a caller and a customer service representative and decides how to respond. The caller comes across as “dense and snippy,” according to the Star. The federal government wasn’t lining up to play the game — a statement from the director of communications for the minister of national revenue called the conduct “offensive and completely unacceptable.” Gallant was fired, which didn’t come as a surprise to him: “I made this bed when I released the game. If I have to lie in it, I will lie in it.”

Worst internship ever

STRATFORD, CONN. — There have been a lot of headlines involving the ethics of unpaid internships and related lawsuits. But Kenneth Beck, a Connecticut lawyer with 20 years’ experience, stirred up a hornet’s nest when he posted on ad on Craiglist that said inexperienced legal students could work with him — if they paid him, according to the Connecticut Law Tribune. “I wasn’t looking to charge five people $300 an hour to go to court with me,” he said. “I was just looking to basically not lose money that’s involved in explaining things. It would be learning by doing. I thought it was a creative way to fill a gap. I thought I was offering a service.” Shocked by the fury and nasty emails he received, Beck pulled the ad down.

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