Employment Law Hijinks

|

Overlawyered points to The 10 Most Bizarre Employment Cases of 2004. My favorite is the woman who sued after being fired from her job as a social worker:

While visiting a client, the client had a seizure, which Michelle Howard, a religious woman, decided was "demonic in nature." She prayed over the client and anointed her with water. The court ruled that she "was not terminated for merely praying at the office," but for violating agency rules.

Agency rules apparently stipulated that you call 9-11 in such circumstances before waging spiritual warfare against the Dark Prince. There's also the case in which "justices held that [a police] officer was not 'commenting on an issue of public concern' when he sold on eBay videotapes of himself in a police uniform stripping and masturbating. "

Advertisement

NEXT: Look Closer

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Dude, the crap you can buy on Ebay is just amazing. I think I may sell a turd. I’d better include a picture, though. Only a fool would buy a turd sight unseen!

  2. Shape that turd into the virgin Mary and you’re set for life.

  3. I think that taco salad I had for lunch could ultimately buy me a new car!

    Uh, what was the topic again?

  4. The masturbating cop case went to the Supreme Court? How did I miss that one?

    I’ve never really understood how it’s legal for employers to fire people for off-job behavior, especially stuff like nude pictures on the internet, or these videos on ebay.

    Sounds like the city was making his issue their concern. Har.

    I’m not sure what’s bizarre about #2. Seems pretty clear cut and reasonable to me.

  5. dead king of kings: well, he was wearing a municipal uniform as a selling point. that seems sorta…dumb?

  6. The judges decided it isn’t discrimination to call your Native American employee “Kemosabe” after watching “Lone Ranger” episodes?

    I hope they don’t consult “Tarzan” movies when some cracker won’t stop calling the help “Boy.”

  7. “The judges decided it isn’t discrimination to call your Native American employee ‘Kemosabe’ after watching ‘Lone Ranger’ episodes?”

    Good God. Of course it’s not “discrimination.” Who cares what method they used to come to that conclusion? Nobody was hurt by the word “Kemosabe.”

    The oversensitivity crap is way tired at this point. The “hurt-feelings = money” crap is even more so.

    I get made fun of all the time. Who gives a shit?

  8. “I get made fun of all the time. Who gives a shit?”

    I do. Wanna buy it?

  9. Regarding the Friends case, I am surprised that no feminist group or decency on the airways groups hasn’t tried to get one of their minions hired to work for Stern or one of the other shock jocks and then claim hostile work enviroment and sue.

  10. Whatever one might think of the underlying issues in the kemosabe case, the methodology used (watching Lone Ranger episodes) is pretty fun.

  11. I thought Kemosabe (trusty scout) was what Tonto called the (white) Lone Ranger. They should have nailed the employer for cultural illiteracy.

    OTOH Tonto did also name his horse “Scout.”

  12. #2 is a great example of the sexual harrassment roulette employers are often forced to play. It’s just as likely that if they hadn’t fired the employee, the auditor could have successfully sued them.

    Anyhow, whatever typical workplace behavior is, the guy was way out of line. I don’t work at a tea-party type place myself, but if one of my employees pulled something like that he wouldn’t have to worry about giving up his seat because he’d be out on his ass.

  13. Crimethink,

    It was a manufacturing plant. The tea party bit was a snide remark.

    You should take a tour of a sweatshop sometime. Or have a look at Orange County Choppers on the Discovery channel. It’s very common to have centerfolds on the walls.

    How does one not know of these things? I’m as white collar as they get, and I have at least a little idea.

  14. Crimethink,

    BTW, free markets, as it were, wouldn’t take kindly to a puritan shop owner. My uncle is a fundie evangelical who owns an auto repair place, and he can’t really do anything about the four letter words and girlie posters.

    You’d find yourself out of business shortly, because you don’t find too many grunts who are as pure you apparently require. Then who’d be out on their ass?

    Sorry if I’m being harsh, but I’m just suprised that you’ve never been into a machine shop before.

  15. No doubt the children of the world are more knowledgeable on these matters than the children of light. 😉

    Still, I was raised in a relatively lower-class family and we were still taught that, whatever you do with just guys around, it has to change when a woman walks into the room.

  16. kmw,

    Just curious, would your uncle tolerate the kind of behavior that the guy in #2 got fired for?

  17. Still, I was raised in a relatively lower-class family and we were still taught that, whatever you do with just guys around, it has to change when a woman walks into the room.

    Indeed, my mom would always take my uncle to task about the stuff on the wall of his shop. But he said there’s not much he can do… Anyone qualified to work for him would do the same thing if he fired anyone for it.

  18. Just curious, would your uncle tolerate the kind of behavior that the guy in #2 got fired for?

    It’s hard to tell, I’m sure he wouldn’t like it, and would probably yell at the employee. I don’t think he’d fire him, because the other employees would complain about it.

    It’s a tough line of work, that’s why I went and got’s me an edumacation. :P) I’m too much of a sissy for that stuff.

    (Except for gun talk. I can hold my own with that topic.)

  19. No doubt the children of the world are more knowledgeable on these matters than the children of light. 😉

    That’s pretty funny. (Between you and me, I’m the only non-holy roller in my entire family. My brother is an Assemblies of God pastor. Yes, I’m the black sheep. And on a highway to hell.)

    Living easy living free

    Season ticket on a one-way ride

    Asking nothin’ leave me be

    Taking everything in my stride

    Don’t need reason don’t need rhyme

    Ain’t nothin’ that I’d rather do

    Goin’ down party time

    My friends are gonna be there too

    I’m on a highway to hell
    On a highway to hell
    Highway to hell
    I’m on a highway to hell

    No stop signs speed limit
    Nobody’s gonna slow me down
    Like wheel gonna spin it
    Nobody’s gonna mess me around
    Hey satan paid my dues
    Hey I’m in a rockin band
    Hey mama look at me
    I’m on my way to the promised land

  20. Still, I was raised in a relatively lower-class family and we were still taught that, whatever you do with just guys around, it has to change when a woman walks into the room.

    This illustrates what I’ve believed for a long time, that probably 75% of what people complain about “P.C.” is just old fashioned good manners and good behavior. In my family, telling dirty jokes or pinup centerfolds or racial epithets were thought of as bad manners, un-gentlemanly, and un-Christian. Had nothing to do with modern Political Correctness.

  21. probably 75% of what people complain about “P.C.” is just old fashioned good manners and good behavior.

    I agree. A couple months ago some college student posted on this forum complaining about how PC his college was.

    Apparently he swore at a professor on a disciplinary committee. When he got the inevitable letter from the college administration, they described his offense as “acting in a threatening manner” or some other phrasing that carries PC connotations.

    Translated into standard English, he cussed out the teacher.

    Or, in the lingo of the more career-oriented college where I teach, he acted in a manner that is not acceptable in a professional environment.

    No matter how you phrase it, he was a jerk. For every case of ridiculous political correctness, there are 3 more cases of people acting like jerks and getting in trouble for it. PC is indeed a problem, but some perspective is needed.

  22. dead_elvis,

    You’re absolutely right. The more we look to The State to be the enforcer of what moral rules we have left in this society, the more impersonal, rigid, and strange-sounding the rules become. It’s just another consequence of the slow steady decline of the American family. Sweden, here we come…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.