Sometimes getting in trouble at work isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it. Literally.
Hospital worker Johanna Renclawowicz, a mother who emigrated to Norway from Poland with her husband four years ago, was allegedly fired from her job as a cleaner for speaking her native Polish during lunch breaks, The Foreigner reports.
Renclawowicz is now suing the hospital located in Skien, Norway, claiming discrimination, particularly since she says she obeyed her manager’s request to speak Norwegian while on duty, but would occasionally speak Polish with co-workers while on break.
Indeed, her manager even went to far as to hang posters saying “At work we talk NORWEGIAN.” After Renclawowicz pointed out to her manager that speaking her native tongue during unpaid meal breaks was not grounds for firing, according to the Labour Inspectorate, she was told that was "bullshit," The Daily Mail reports.
Of course, this isn’t the first time an employee has claimed they’ve been let go over a language violation. Roughly one in six workers say they have faced discrimination of some sort during their lives, according to a 2009 European Commission report.
In fact, a Portuguese man working in the U.K. was fired from his job as manager at a banana-packing factory for the exact opposite -- not speaking Polish, The Portugal News reports
There have been similar cases stateside as well. A teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina sued the school district after the school fired her for violating a strict no-Spanish policy, according to UPI. Likewise, airport worker Jose Lopez sued his employer last year claiming he was fired for speaking Spanish in front of his supervisor twice, ABC 13 reports.
(Hat tip: The Daily Mail)
Adding A Slice Of Cheese, Free Of Charge
In 2009, a female Dutch McDonalds employee was fired after she gave a colleague a cheeseburger instead of the cheaper hamburger that had been paid for, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/7080767/McDonalds-wrong-to-fire-worker-over-cheese-slice.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Telegraph</em> reports.</a> A Dutch court ruled that the firing was too severe a punishment and ordered McDonald's to pay the ex-employee the full salary for what were the remaining five-months on her contract, as well as legal fees.
Smelling Like Smoke
Stephanie Cannon was fired from her reception job at the Frauenshuh Cancer Center of Park Nicollet Health Services on the grounds that she smelled like smoke at work, <a href="http://kstp.com/news/stories/S2703953.shtml?cat=1" target="_hplink">KSTP-TV reports</a>. Cannon is a regular, pack-a-day smoker who told the local ABC affiliate that she never brought her habit with her to work.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/judy-henderson-home-depot_n_1861595.html?1346951029" target="_hplink">Home Depot fired Judy Henderson</a> in 2010 after she told the company that she would extend her sick leave because of a cancerous tumor. The company agreed to pay $100,000 to Henderson, who had worked at Home Depot since 1997.
Nearly 50-Year Old 'Stupid Stunt'
Wells Fargo <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/richard-eggers-wells-fargo_n_1836441.html?1346169626" target="_hplink">fired Richard Eggers</a> from his job of nearly 7 years in July after discovering that he was caught putting a cardboard cutout of a dime in a laundromat washing machine nearly 50 years ago.
Former Tuesday Morning CEO Kathleen Mason claimed that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/kathleen-mason-tuesday-morning_n_1738344.html?utm_hp_ref=business" target="_hplink">she was fired from her position after she disclosed to the company's board that she has cancer.</a> One board member even allegedly made fun of Ms. Mason's wig. Her charges are being taken to court as she sues her former employers for damages and reinstatement.
Eagles' Worker Fired For Facebook Update
Philadelphia Eagles stadium operations worker Dan Leone was fired after he updated his Facebook status criticizing Eagles management for trading Brian Dawkins in 2009, <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10192227-71.html?tag=mncol;txt" target="_hplink">CNET reported.</a> Mr. Leone allegedly posted this: <blockquote>"Dan is ******* devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver...Dam Eagles are Retarded."</blockquote>
Sending EMAILS IN ALL-CAPS!
In 2007, New Zealand resident Vicki Walker was fired from her job for sending emails in bold, red-underlined all-caps fonts, <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2009/09/01/new-zealand-woman-fired-sending-caps-e-mail/" target="_hplink">Fox News reports.</a> Walker was laterawarded $17,000 for wrongful termination.
Mocking Your Customers On Youtube
Barista Christopher Cristwell was fired by Starbucks after he took his pent-up anger out on Youtube, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2040748/Starbucks-sack-Christopher-Cristwell-YouTube-song-mocking-customers.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Daily Mail</em> reported.</a> Known as "The Starbucks Rant Song," Mr. Cristwell told his internet viewing audience that cappucino lovers were "the worst of all." A spokesman for Starbucks stated: <blockquote>'While Christopher was expressing his own views in the video, the disparaging remarks about our customers and company are unacceptable and out of line with our commitment to our customers and partners (employees).'</blockquote>
Being Too Fat
Ronald Kratz II was fired from his job as a parts sorter after his employer determine that it interfered with his job performance, <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/28/worker-allegedly-fired-for-being-overweight/" target="_hplink">Fox News reports.</a> Following his dismissal, Katz filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and lost over 300 pounds.
Giving The President The Finger
Russian newsreader Tatyana Limanova was let go after she gave President Obama the finger on live television, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8918725/Russian-newsreader-fired-after-giving-Barack-Obama-finger-Firing-me-was-sense-of-humour-failure.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Telegraph</em> reports.</a> Limanova claims that the gesture was just a misunderstanding rather than an insult towards the leader of the free world.