Law Firm Fires 14 For Wearing Orange
When I saw the YahooNews headline "Law firm fires 14 employees for wearing orange shirts," I naturally presumed it had something to do with St. Patrick's Day. As it turns out, it's even dumber than that.
When I saw the YahooNews headline “Law firm fires 14 employees for wearing orange shirts,” I naturally presumed it had something to do with St. Patrick’s Day. As it turns out, it’s even dumber than that:
They weren’t wearing sagging pants or revealing clothing. But dressing in an orange shirt is apparently enough to get fired at one Florida law firm, where 14 workers were unceremoniously let go last Friday.
In an interview with the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, several of the fired workers say they wore the matching colors so they would be identified as a group when heading out for a happy hour event after work. They say the executive who fired them initially accused them of wearing the matching color as a form of protest against management.
The law offices of Elizabeth R. Wellborn, P.A. offered “no comment” to Sun-Sentinel reporter Doreen Hemlock, but four ex-employees tell the paper they were simply wearing their orange shirts to celebrate “pay day” and the upcoming Friday group happy hour.
“There is no office policy against wearing orange shirts. We had no warning. We got no severance, no package, no nothing,” Lou Erik Ambert told the paper. “I feel so violated.”
Ironically, had the employees been wearing orange as a form of protest, it would have been illegal to fire them, ABC News reports.
And there’s really nothing anyone can do about the terminations since Florida is an at-will state, meaning employers can fire an employee who doesn’t have a contract “for a good reason, for a bad reason or even for the wrong reason, as long as it’s not an unlawful reason,” Eric K. Gabrielle, a labor and employment lawyer at Stearns Weaver, told the Sun-Sentinel. Gabrielle said there was no apparent violation of the law in this case.
While I support the right of employers to decide whom to employ, this is just . . . bizarre. If management had some whiff of protest, I can maybe see the initial instinct to nip it in the bud. But upon finding out that they all dressed the same for an after-work happy hour, you’d think they’d have backed off.