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Woman Fired For Using Uppercase In Email 364

tomachi writes "An accountant in NZ has been awarded $17,000 NZD for unfair dismissal after her boss fired her without warning for using uppercase letters in a single email to co-workers. 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.' Her boss deemed the capital letters too confrontational for her co-workers to read after they woke up from naptime."


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Woman Fired For Using Uppercase in Email

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  • by aardwolf64 ( 160070 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:54PM (#29262727) Homepage

    See what you did? You made me RTFA just to see if it actually mentioned naps (it doesn't, btw.)

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:17PM (#29263069)

    Also what's up with that measly fine? Given the poor economy it will probably take her a year to find another job, so she should receive one year's salary. (IMHO). Teach these corporations not to mistreat the citizens.

    She has already found another job. She was only out of work for 6 months.

  • by ktappe ( 747125 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:19PM (#29263095)
    If you RTA, there was more to the story. The woman (allegedly) had a history of confrontation with her coworkers. But she was never reprimanded for those; just summarily fired with no warning and the only "evidence" the employer could dig up was this single e-mail. Basically the employer blatantly mishandled the entire situation and was left grasping at straws, trying to use an e-mail as justification.

    In short, she wasn't just fired for the caps in the e-mail; it was simply claimed she was.

  • by rssrss ( 686344 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:25PM (#29263157)

    Unfortunately, it is required by law in certain contract clauses:

    See, e.g. Uniform Commercial Code [] Section 2-316 (2) requirement that exclusions of warranties be "conspicuous" and the definition of that word at Sec. 1-201 (b)(10).

    Sorry to go statutory on you, but I don't like all caps any more than you do.

  • Re:Uh huh (Score:3, Informative)

    by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:33PM (#29263307) Homepage Journal

    If they fire her for wrong doing it won't count towards "Turnover Count" but if they let her go it would impact the turn-over numbers. If they haven't had any turnover for say 5 years then there is incentive to ensure the "good record" goes unblemished.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:36PM (#29263359)

    Which means that we get to fire them all!!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:36PM (#29263363)

    has cost their company $17k as a result

    actually, they're New Zealand Dollars, so it's only about US$17. (at this point I'd say something about running away, but everyone knows that they don't have the internet in New Zealand, so I can get away with it)

  • by reebmmm ( 939463 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @02:06PM (#29263799)

    I'm a lawyer, and I'll be the first to admit that many of my colleagues do little to help themselves when it comes to being end user friendly. The blocks of all caps being a sure symptom of that. A site about contract drafting style actually had a pretty good discussion regarding the conspicuousness requirements and the use of all caps: []

    In my opinion, the all caps paragraphs are merely remnants from a time when contracts were drafted without the assistance of word processors capable of doing bold face type. And, frankly, that wasn't that long ago. Many lawyers that I know continue to cut and paste the boilerplate language or modify the boilerplate language keeping in tact whatever drafting convention was used originally.

    That said, there is also some advantage to using all caps over bold face for when it comes to OCR, text translation, format-less archiving, etc. In that case, the "conspicuousness" is maintained (i.e., all caps), even if the formatting is dropped. It's a very weak advantage.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @03:01PM (#29264653)

    .... I hate manure?

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @03:16PM (#29264889)
    I have worked for 4 family owned companies (in three of them I knew the families from outside of the work environment). Based on that I have discovered a pattern that I have talked over with others that have experience with multi-generation family owned companies. Generally, the first generation greatly values the employees because they recognize that the value of the company is the result of the people who work for them. Often, the second generation was partially raised by some of the employees of the company (Dad was busy running the company, but he brought Junior to work and had various employees supervise him), and sees them as family that the owner is responsible to look after. The third generation usually sees the whole company as a bunch of numbers to be added and subtracted to maximize the bottom line.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:22PM (#29265807)

    Read the article.

    Apparently she was an abrasive and abusive workplace bully. Even worse, she was the gutless sort of person who would not bully you to your face, she used email and emphasized her points in red bold capital letters. We have all been guilty of email-venting, but it sounds like she consistently took it to the next level.

    Everyone has worked with someone like this and I congratulate the employer for having the balls to kick a subversive element from the workplace making it a better place for the rest of their workers.

Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?