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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

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Dumb Ways to Get Fired

While you’re here, you may wish to attend one of our upcoming workshops:

A follow-up to our popular webinar from earlier this year, “Ethical Issues in Workplace Investigations,” in this webinar, we’ll consider the unique ethical issues that arise in investigations in the education sector specifically. What is ethically appropriate (or not) as an investigator when it comes to interviewing minors, communicating with parents, and dealing with evidence from social media?

Someone played the “Dumb Ways to Die” video for me recently. I know it sounds morbid, but it’s actually a very clever video produced as a public service announcement for Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia on train safety (check it out at http://dumbwaystodie.com/).

It got me to thinking about the dumb ways that people manage to get themselves fired. There have been so many over the years. To protect the confidentiality of our clients (if you only knew…), I’ve outlined some of my favourites taken from reported cases.

Some really dumb ways to get fired…

  • By committing insurance fraud when you teach a course on business ethics (Plinuissen v. University of Western Ontario, 1983, Ont. Co. Ct.)
  • By competing with your employer while employed, and, even worse, redirecting potential client calls away from the employer to your own business (Mison v. Bank of Nova Scotia, 1994, Ont. C.J.)
  • By inviting your subordinates to your cottage under the guise of work and skinny dipping in front of them (Simpson v. Consumers Association of Canada, 2001, Ont. C.A.)
  • By writing an insulting memo to your superior in which, among other things, you refer to him as a “federated terrorist” (Neudorf v. Sun Valley Co-op Ltd., 1994, Man. Q.B.)
  • By writing a personal blog on an open forum, in which you make negative comments about all of your co-workers (despite the fact that you use aliases to try and disguise their identity) (Alberta v. Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (R. Grievance), 2008)

And my personal favourite…

  • By taking a prostitute to the office (which is outfitted with surveillance cameras) after hours and leaving her there unsupervised;
  1. AND lying about taking the prostitute to the office until confronted with said video;
  2. AND failing to pay said prostitute resulting in her showing up at work the next day to collect payment (Whitehouse v. RBC Dominion Securities, 2006, Alta. Q.B.)

I could go on and on. Needless-to-say, as long as we’re all human and as long as we continue to be employed, there will always be more dumb ways to get fired.

Chris Thomlinson