Human Resources News & Insights

She was fired for singing on the job

A woman has won six months’ wages as compensation after her Italian employer fired her for singing on the job, according to her union.

A spokesman for the CGIL steelworkers’ branch in Bergamo, Italy, said the woman — a long-term employee — was fired from a metalworking shop for “singing and bothering her colleagues,” according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

The union spokesman claims the stated reason for her firing is ridiculous because her job was hammering metal, and no one in the workplace would be able to hear her more than a couple of yards away.

He says the her singing was a pretext that the employer used to fire a worker during hard economic times.

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  1. I had one who would sing and do ballerina twirls and leaps in the office. Disruptive and dangerous to anyone walking around a corner.

  2. I have this issue now, my mail clerk walks around singing constantly. He is a very cheerful happy person but the singing is horrible and he sings the same verse over and over again until I want to scream. i have politely asked him to tone it down but I do not think he is capable…..ugh!

  3. WE have a whistler…I hate whistling but others may like it. It isn’t hurting anybody.

  4. I worry more when they are not singing!!!

  5. Simply help the employee see his co-workers side – that the singing causes them to lose concentration in their work and therefore becomes a hinderance to productivity. However, let the employee know how much the company values his upbeat attitude.

  6. I have a woman who sings all the time, and it’s not exactly my type of music. She sings in Cambodian around several other Cambodians. It sounds awful to my “whitebread” ears, but maybe not to her coworkers. It usually puts a smile on my face anywway, just because she’s so cheerful.

  7. Sining, humming and whistling mean that the person is happy with life. I’d rather have a happy employee than a disgruntled one. Unless, as NV experienced, the employee is being too disruptive. An office environment is very different from a warehouse environment.

  8. Michelle says:

    We also have a whistler, who when not whistling, hums. This gentleman does not whistle or hum a particular tune, but rather erratic notes. A tune I might find a bit more tolerable. This man feels it necessary to say hello with each pass by my office. Mind you, he passes by my door a minimum of 12 times a day. While I do not want to deny anyone their own happiness (obviously doing these behaviors brings hapiness to that person), I do perform duties which require a certain amount of concentration and I do not appreciate the intrusion of these behaviors.

  9. Agree with HR Dude, If an employee is happy at work, something is going OK with his life or better yet, his job.

  10. I also agree with HR dude. Let them sing as long as they are happy. Happy job, Happy Day for all.

  11. I’d rather have a whistler, hummer, singer than a complainer!

  12. HR in louisville says:

    I have to agree with Cindy!! I would rather have someone go by my office singing than.
    coming in and complaining.

  13. I have to agree with Cindy as well as HR Dude. Singing, whistling, humming, heck shout praises of joy, as long as I have happy employees I could care less.

  14. Michelle, Close your door if you don’t want to be distracted and let ’em be happy!

  15. Michelle says:

    Oh Sandy, If only I had a door!

  16. I used to have a very obnoxious person in the office next to me. Very loud, very mean spirited and full of herself. She cackled when she laughed. Closing my door didn’t block her out her voice. I even tried ear plugs one day…I’m serious. I asked my boss to move my office to the roof. He just said he was glad his office was further down the hall. gee, thanks. Some things you just can’t get away from.

  17. Michelle,

    It is really not that serious. Choose your battles.

  18. HR in louisville says:

    There was a manager that used to work at our company that growled at people when she was mad
    about something. It was very annoying and hateful. I would much rather have her happy and

  19. Michelle says:


    I do choose my battles wisely. Which is precisely why I have chosen not to say anything to the gentleman, who consistenly disrupts my day and instead post with my HR community. However, I guess when I thought I would get something constructive out of my post, I was incorrect.

    Thanks all and have a great weekend.

  20. HR in Louisville….she actually growled? When I am not my normal chipper self, I tell employees I came in on a broom! That usually keeps them at bay.

    But on the subject of singing, humming and dancing, I had an employee sing to me directly. The song was “and I love you so…” Not the whole song and he had a great voice. I know he did not mean anything by it, he just sang it to me when he saw me in the morning. No one seemed to be bothered by it. On the other hand, we have a cackler. She laughs so loud and so often, people are afraid to talk to her. My manager moved my work station to another side of the office so that he could hear himself speak to me and asked me how I could stand it. The response? I tune her out just as I tune out any other disruptive noises. But, I’d rather hear her laugh than cry or complain if given a choice.

  21. HR in louisville says:

    Yes, she growled, and would tell her assistant to come in to her office just to tell
    him to get out!! She was terrible! I believe she rode her broom in everyday.

  22. HR in Louisville sounds like she needs a good song and probably a good dance too!! It doesn’t sounds like she is that happy with her job!

  23. HR in louisville says:

    SSN, How do you get that I am not happy with my job just because I am commenting on
    a bad manager? She wasn’t MY manager anyway.

  24. HR in Louisville, I think you may have misunderstood, I was referring to the manager that you said growls.

  25. HR in louisville says:

    SSN, My apologies, from the way your sentence was written, It looked like you were referring
    to me. Have a good day.

  26. I had a coworker who kept us laughing when she would come in everyday with a whoop, a spin, and an outrageous giggle. She was also a practical joker. One of her practical jokes went too far – she threw a fuzzy wind-up mouse in the break room and everyone went crazy; someone even passed out. A few weeks later she was assigned to a telecommuting job.

  27. Denise:

    How did you get so lucky to be moved from your cackler? I had to wait until mine retired. It was a happy day!

  28. Not all whistler, hummers, or laughers are necessarily happy. In the psychiatric arena, these could be considered “self-stimulating” behaviors. It is almost a compulsion for some–just like a smoker who has to “light up” when things get stressful or unpleasant, the singer/hummer/whistler does it as a stress relief or to distract himself or herself from the real issues. These people often don’t realize they are doing it; or if they do, don’t realize that it is distracting to others–even if told by others that it is.

    So unless Little Mary Sunshine comes in with a bluebird on her shoulder and rainbow over her head, please don’t assume that all that cheeriness/noisiness is “really happy”.

    Granted, it certainly doesn’t make it any easier to spend time with a co-worker like that, but it can be overlooked a little.

  29. HR Dude says:

    I hear you, however you are speaking about a minority of folks instead of a majority of folks. In the HR world, you have to be open-minded to all prospects. If the work is getting done, no worries. We all have ways to relieve stress. If that outlet is successful, there should be a change in attititue for the positive. So, that furthers the point that if it makes them happy, why not? If it distracts them from other issues to be more positive, fantastic! So long as the work is getting done and the atmosphere is positive.

    The question is, what happens when it becomes a distraction to others or, as rproctor pointed out, even if told by others, Mr/Miss Sunshine insist on that behavior? Are the one’s complaining moody people themselves? What about other things, like radios, etc?

  30. We have a lady in our supply chain area who goes around the building singing all the time. It’s not that she’s happy…it’s a stress-reliever for her, from what I can tell (she’s a very negative person and has been counseled about her attitude previously). It does get annoying and is especially of concern when she starts singing around vendors or customers. We’re trying to work with her about being more professional in general and about being considerate of others. We’ll see if that works…too soon to tell at this point…

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