The Weird Workplace

A collection of unusual and quirky stories from across Canada and the world
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/21/2018
Megaphone
An unhappy employee took advantage of his employer’s intercom system recently to announce his resignation. Credit: VectorPot (Shutterstock)

Message received, loud and clear

GRANDE PRAIRIE, MAN. — An unhappy employee took advantage of his employer’s intercom system recently to announce his resignation. After handing in his resignation letter at a Walmart in Grande Prairie, Man., Jackson Racicot used the intercom system to tell people “Nobody should work here, ever.” He went on to complain about how he was treated on the job, including “the bullshit,” “bogus writeups,” and his assistant manager calling him “a waste of time.” Racicot posted a video of his announcement on Facebook (which has now been seen 625,000 times) to raise awareness about how people are treated at giant corporations like Walmart, and so people would boycott the chain, according to the Toronto Star: “Don’t be treating your employees as if you own them.”

Hot and heavy at the fire hall

VERNON, B.C.  — Two fire hall employees in Vernon, B.C., were caught red-handed a few months back when caught on video having sex — in the fire chief’s office. David Lind had installed a hidden camera there after finding his filing cabinet open one day. The randy couple was subsequently fired, but the union raised privacy concerns. Recently, an arbitrator ruled the City of Vernon could use the video footage as part of evidence to justify its dismissal. But one arbitration panel member, Lorney West, questioned the number of people who viewed or were told about the video: the deputy chief, HR director, manager of HR, manager of information services, chief administrative officer and legal counsel. “In my view, the employer has demonstrated at least at minimum, a disregard for the basic respect all employees deserve, regardless of circumstances,” he said.

Whatever you do, don't 'reply all'

UTAH — Instead of festive cheer, thousands of state employees in Utah suffered through a massive email screw-up before Christmas. The email started innocently enough, looking to discuss an upcoming potluck among Utah Department of Technology Services workers, according to Newsweek. However, the email mistakenly went out to more than 25,000 employees — and people started using “reply all” to respond. Workers soon took to social media to try to stop the email chain clogging inboxes, but it still escalated. “It’s Replyall-gate 2018. Adventures in state government. #ReplyAll. Actually don’t reply all,” wrote Joe Dougherty, a public information officer at the Utah Division of Emergency Management. Even the governor weighed in: “This is real and it’s an emergency... I fear this will never end,” said Spencer Cox.

Hair-raising teacher

VISALIA, CALIF. — Yet another teacher got into trouble recently, this time when she commanded a student to sit down so she could cut his hair — while singing the national anthem. Science teacher Margaret Gieszinger was caught on video chopping the locks, and when the student got up to leave, she called out “Next!” and motioned for another student to sit down. The teacher then approached a female student and attempted to cut her hair, but the students ended up running out of the classroom. Gieszinger was later arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment, according to the Visalia Times-Delta. One of her students later said the incident was out of character for the teacher: “She is a loving and kind lady. She is usually all smiles and laughs. This is not the Miss G. we know and love.” The school said mental-health counsellors would be available for any troubled students.

Blatant racism

TOLEDO, OHIO — Nine African-Americans who worked at a General Motors plant in Ohio have filed a lawsuit accusing the automaker of ignoring racially charged incidents, according to the Detroit Free Press. The complaint alleges five nooses were hung from a ceiling at a plant in Toledo in early 2017, along with images of swastikas, stick figures with nooses around their necks and “whites only” signs being painted on walls. Worker Mark Edward said he was really startled: “I couldn’t understand who in my work area disliked me that much or had that much hatred to hang a noose by my job.” The lawsuit — which is seeking monetary compensation for lost wages and mental anguish, along with having the guilty workers fired — claims GM did nothing to address the culture of discrimination and failed to protect workers. But the company says workers underwent anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training, and it is “committed to providing an environment that is safe, open and inclusive.”

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