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A trio of titillating titbits from the world of employment law

BY Heather Kemmett
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

What’s that I hear you say? Employment law is boring?! Read on, friend- there are just too many weird and wonderful things happening in the world of employment law that we simply had to share with you…

Our first story concerns the happy topic of the daily trudge to work. Have you ever sat, staring bleakly out of the window, on an immobile train packed with fellow commuters as the minutes count down to your 9am start time while a screech from above announces that, following [insert appropriate pathetic excuse here] the train will be delayed? Instead of silently cursing Scotfail, the East Coast Flatline or the Heathrow Distress, why not take a leaf out of French train passenger Soazig Parassols’ book and sue the rail company? Mademoiselle Parassols was recently awarded €1,500 after successfully suing French transport firm SNCF because their repeated delays saw her lose her job at a law firm in Lyon. The secretary was offered a month long trial at the firm, but shoddy service from the rail company servicing her home town of Amberieu meant that her commuter train was delayed six times in that period, for between 10 and 75 minutes at a time. Phew- that’s enough to send anyone off the rails.  

Lets turn now to a rather more unhappy tale- that of the unemployed Austrian man who sawed off his own foot to avoid being found fit to return to work. Hans Url was pretty hacked off when his local job centre threatened to force him to take up work, and when he was called in to a health meeting he decided to take drastic action by chopping off his left foot and burning it in an oven so it could not be re-attached. Hans will be hopping mad to discover that his attempts may have been in vain. Hermann Gossinger, a job centre spokesman has reportedly said that "He will be assessed once he is out of hospital and we will see what work we can find for him." Those pesky fitness for work rules are strict after all- perhaps Hans should have read the footnotes.  

Finally, we all know the well-worn advice about dressing for success, but it seems that someone forgot to tell 14 employees of a Florida law firm (why is it always a law firm?!) who were apparently sacked for wearing matching orange shirts. According to the fired workers, they had taken to wearing the sunny attire on Friday paydays so that they looked alike during their after work drinks. However, their employers didn’t see the a-peel of the orange outfits and summarily dismissed all 14 employees, considering the coordinated clothing to be a form of protest. Unfortunately for the employees, Florida is an “at will” employment state, meaning that employers can terminate employment contracts relatively easily. It seems dressing like a fruit really does get you canned.

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