Take This Job and …

Your evil boss will seem harmless by comparison.

Illustration: Christoph Niemann

If you have complaints about your job, the latest report from Chicago’s legendary global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas is sure to set your concerns to rest. The company recently released a compilation it called “2005 Most Unbelievable Workplace Events"-a series of injustices so senseless that your evil boss will seem harmless by comparison. Here are a few of the worst instances.

What Happened
While drinking a Coors beer at a bar in Greeley, Colorado, Ross Hopkins, an employee for a Budweiser distributor, was seen by the son-in-law of his boss. When the son-in-law offered to buy Hopkins a Bud instead, Hopkins declined. The following Monday, he was fired.
The Employee
According to Hopkins’s lawsuit, he was told that drinking “a competitor’s product was ‘putting food on the competitor’s table, while we are putting food on yours.’”
The Employer
“[H]ow much Mr. Hopkins can remember the night of the incident is in question,” Jeff Bedingfield, an attorney for the distributor, told the Greeley Tribune.
The Closer Says
Hopkins claims he ordered a Bud, but the waitress “mistakenly” gave him a Coors. The Closer smells a setup. He also smells two equally bad beers.

What Happened
According to a federal lawsuit, a manager of a Supercuts shop in Chicago posted a notice for employees: “Speaking a language other than English is not only disrespectful, it’s also prohibited.” Two stylists quit. The suit alleged that more than 20 other Supercuts outlets around Chicago had the same policy.
The Employee
“Business(es) need to understand that we are free to speak our language,” Rosa Gonzalez told the Chicago Tribune after quitting.
The Employer
“The goal of the policy,” attorney Davi Hirsch said, “was to speak essentially whatever language you chose in the lunchroom or on breaks, when you’re not servicing customers.”
The Closer Says
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the ban violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In other words: Supercuts may get its bangs trimmed.

What Happened
Iain King, a security guard at Centre Mall in Hamilton, Ontario, tackled a masked bandit who was robbing the Desjardins Credit Union. Then he got canned for breaking the security company’s new policy against intervening.
The Employee
“Their regulations say we’re only supposed to observe,” King told the Hamilton Spectator. “We are not supposed to give chase or make arrests anymore.”
The Employer
G4S Security Services, the international security operation that employed King, had no comment for the media. In its 2004 annual report, the company boasts, “We have absolute integrity in everything we do.”
The Closer Says
Risking one’s life for a prosperous worldwide corporation to protect the moribund Canadian dollar is too noble for words. At the very least, the guy should get a Canadian Football League contract.

What Happened
While driving a full school bus in Howell, Michigan, Deanna Igielski, according to her complaint, saw another school bus driver “operating her bus in a reckless manner with willful and wanton disregard for life and/ or property.” She reported the incident to her supervisor, who fired her.
The Employee
“She felt like it was her duty to report the other bus driv-er,” Lyle Dickson, Igielski’s lawyer, told the Detroit News after his client filed a lawsuit seeking more than $25,000. “Instead of an ‘atta girl’ she got a ‘goodbye, girl.’”
The Employer
Rick Terres, associate superintendent for business for the Howell Public Schools, said it was school policy not to give statements on pending suits.
The Closer Says
Igielski deserves a hell of a lot more than $25,000 for chauffeuring around 60 unsupervised school kids.

What Happened
Cindee Goetz, a librarian in LaPorte, Indiana, got slapped with a weeklong suspension for spending too much time at work trying to rescue a squirrel trapped in the library’s ceiling.
The Employee
“They said I went around the chain of command,” said Goetz, who had contacted a friend in an animal-removal business. “It’s a real pickle to be in, all over me being compassionate toward animals.”
The Employer
“I don’t want that squirrel to die, either,” Judy Hamilton, the library’s executive director, told the Associated Press. “[But] I’m not running a squirrel condominium here.”
The Closer Says
Hats off to the squirrel for finding the one place where there’s never a shortage of nuts-the library.

 

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