I’ve received some suggestions from readers on “favorite firings” to feature in this series. Here’s another good one. This story involves a situation that could have been tragic, but ended up being humorous.
The Facts: A married female employee (we’ll call her Ursula) was having an affair with a male co-worker (John). Ursula’s husband (Karl – not employed where Ursula and John worked) found out about the affair.
Karl was drinking one evening at the local pub, and decided he’d had enough of Ursula’s behavior. He brought his shotgun into Ursula’s workplace and shot the lock off the doors into her department.
When Karl saw John, he aimed at John and fired, but thankfully missed. Karl’s bullets did destroy the soft drink vending machine on the premises, however.
By the time Karl left, other employees had called the police. Karl was still drunk enough when he reached his truck that his driving was not of the highest caliber. He drove straight into the police car that had just arrived at the parking lot and still had its siren blaring and lights flashing. The police easily apprehended Karl after the crash.
The company decided to fire both Ursula and John, because of the disruption and danger their affair had caused. No, they weren’t fired for the affair itself, but because it led to danger to their co-workers.
John moved on with his life (presumably without Ursula). But Ursula sued her employer for permitting her to engage in what she called “extracurricular marital affairs.” In a rare display of prompt justice in employment cases, the judge quickly dismissed the lawsuit.
As a side note, Karl also sued. He sued the pub for letting him get drunk. His case was also dismissed.
Not much has been heard from Karl or Ursula since.
The Moral: The point of this story is not to make light of workplace violence, which is a serious problem and often leads to tragedy. This case could have ended with employees and others dead or wounded.
In this case, the employer incurred some legal risk in firing Ursula and John, because their affair was not work-related behavior. However, the consequences of them mismanaging their private lives had an impact in their workplace, and endangered their co-workers.
Because the employer treated both employees the same, there was no gender discrimination claim.
Many employees do not take responsibility for their own behavior and deserve to be fired. Ursula’s reaction in filing a lawsuit blaming her employer for her affair clearly fits this category.
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Remember, if you have any ideas for stories to publish, please email me or leave a comment below. But please disguise the facts to protect the innocent (and not-so-innocent) unless the situation is well-publicized, and then include a link to support your story. I will only publish verified stories.