Fired for E-mailing

Just when you thought you’d heard every conceivable reason to fire an employee, a company in New Zealand is credited with inventing a new one. It seems Vicki Walker was fired from her job at ProCare Health for displaying a little too much ‘tude in an e-mail to co-workers.

The story broke last week on a Yahoo! tech blog, written by Christopher Null. He says the woman was fired without warning when her fellow employees took offense to the language and style of her e-mail.

(She) was abruptly kicked out of her job for sending "confrontational emails" with text formatted in a variety of red, bold, and all caps fonts. Walker had sent the emails to fellow workers within the company, usually with stern and detailed instructions on how forms should be properly filled out.

Someone at ProCare didn’t like her approach, suggesting she caused "disharmony in the workplace" and was being too confrontational via email, eventually firing her without warning.

But if you’ve ever been guilty of unabashed e-mailing, take heart: Justice was served when Walker prevailed after filing a wrongful termination claim.

Walker, however, got the last laugh. She sued for wrongful termination and won the case, pocketing $17,000 in lost wages and for other unspecified harm caused due to the firing.

Have you ever been annoyed by a co-worker’s e-mail? Tell us what did you do about it?

— Leslie Stevens-Huffman

2 Responses to “Fired for E-mailing”

  1. What a dumb company. My company got rid of me for similar reasons, i.e. not being a “team player,” which was BS. I had sent some emails and made some comments that some people didn’t like, but so what. I did my job, in fact I excelled at it. But they presented it as a “restructuring” and my position was eliminated.

  2. Gerry Pollak

    I think we’ve all been on the receiving end of this behavior. Some of us may be even guilty of flaming too. I’m very careful about my emails now but I crossed the line more than once in my earlier days. When I receive an email like this, I email back, using more diplomatic language, that he/she should talk one on one about the problem rather than send “flames” like this. Most of the time, the employee had no idea of the impact and the problem was resolved. If not, then, that’s what HR is there for.
    Seems the company should’ve warned her, probably 2 or 3 times, and then fired her if it persisted. Emails that detract continually from employee productivity MAY be grounds for firing but it seems the company didn’t think things through.
    Sounds like justice prevailed. Hopefully the company learned their lesson and they’ll be better off for it.