Friday, September 4, 2009

In The News...

Let this be a lesson to you!  Do not use angry fonts.  Use the sweet, happy fonts. 

I never realized that fonts could be such a landmine at work.   Avoid the unitelligent fonts, the inbriated , enebriated, inebriated, drunk fonts and at all costs the criminally insane fonts.  Maybe companies could provide proper font usage classes? 

Emails Spark Woman's Sacking
By Rebecca Lewis
4:00AM Sunday Aug 30, 2009

An Auckland accountant was sacked for sending "confrontational" emails with words in red, in bold and in capital letters.

Vicki Walker, who was a financial controller with ProCare Health, has been awarded $17,000 for unfair dismissal, and plans to lodge an appeal for further compensation.

She is now speaking out, calling for greater protection for white-collar workers from the financial, emotional and mental stresses involved in a dispute with a big corporate employer.

"I am a single woman with a mortgage, and I had to re-mortgage my home and borrow money from my sister to make it through," she said. "They nearly ruined my life."

The Employment Relations Authority ruled that Walker was not fairly terminated from her position after sending the emails to co-workers.

ProCare told the authority Walker - who was fired in December 2007 after two years of employment - had caused disharmony in the workplace by using block capitals, bold typeface and red text in her emails.

She had also acted provocatively in seeking to view complaints laid against her by colleagues.

But Walker said they talked about a number of emails she had sent, yet used only one in evidence. The email, which advises her team how to fill out staff claim forms, specifies a time and date highlighted in bold red, and a sentence written in capitals and highlighted in bold blue. It reads: "To ensure your staff claim is processed and paid, please do follow the below checklist."

As part of her compensation, Walker was awarded nearly $6000 in lost wages for the 13 weeks between leaving ProCare and finding a new job, but she says she didn't find fulltime work until October 2008.

Walker was also awarded $11,500 for any harm caused through her dismissal.

"To say that [email] is confrontational is ridiculous," says Walker. "I have spent thousands defending myself and there are so many issues that are unresolved that I want to take them up on."

Authority member Alastair Dumbleton said Ms Walker received no warnings, and while she had contributed to disharmony in the workplace it was not to the extent that dismissal was fair or reasonable.

She had been a capable and competent employee, he said. ProCare did not have a style or etiquette guide for employees using email, so it was not clear what was regarded as unacceptable communication.

ProCare did not respond to a request for comment on the compensation ruling.

Thanks to Verbatim for sending me this link!


Anonymous said...

It is interesting how quickly people are prepared to leap to judgement with one side of a story and very few facts. I know someone who works there so took the trouble to find out. It seems the woman was a bully and many staff avoided having anything to do with her. Some were so upset with how she treated them that they threatened to leave. The Company offered all sorts of support and help to get her back on side with staff, which she refused. They even got in an Independant Mediator who was there for a week and trying to sort things out. When she left the staff had a celebration champagne breakfast the next morning. Apparently she was offered something similar to that to leave before she took them to the tribunal. And no one in ProCare was asked for their comment before the article went to press.

Anita Bier said...

Interesting, Anonymous! And thanks for the input.

And can you tell me how to get a job in a place that has champagne breakfast celebrations? ;)

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