Human Resources News & Insights

Wearing an orange shirt a firing offense? You bet, says law firm

Orange you glad you don’t work for this organization?

Humblest apologies for the pun — we couldn’t resist after reading of how a Florida law firm fired 14 workers en masse on a recent Friday.

Their offense: They’d all worn orange shirts to the office that day, apparently to heighten the team atmosphere at a planned after-hours happy hour.

According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel, the employees said they’d been wearing the orange shirts on payday Fridays for several months, “so they’d look like a group when they went out for happy hour.”

Apparently, that was cause for concern among the top brass at the law firm Elizabeth R. Wellborn P.A.

Here’s the Sun-Sentinel’s account of what happened:

The 14 workers wearing orange shirts were called into a conference room, where an executive said he understood there was a protest involving orange, the employees were wearing orange, and they all were fired.

The executive said anyone wearing orange for an innocent reason should speak up. One employee immediately denied involvement with a protest and explained the happy-hour color.

The executives conferred outside the room, returned and upheld the decision: all fired.

The firm had no policy against orange shirts, the employees said. And they weren’t protesting anything.

Florida’s an at-will state, so the employer needn’t explain why the workers were fired (and the law firm declined to comment).

Ironically, the fact the employees weren’t protesting something like working conditions or pay is probably unfortunate. If they were fired for that type of activity, they could have filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair labor practice.

And you know how the NLRB is eating that stuff up these days.


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