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The 4 strangest reasons for firing someone

10 June 2014

For various reasons, it is sometimes necessary to terminate a person’s employment; however, not all dismissal cases are straightforward.

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This week we take a light-hearted look at some unusual reasons for termination around the globe.


A New Zealand health care company lost an unfair dismissal case in 2009 after firing their financial controller for sending "confrontational" emails.

The woman, who has a fondness for capital letters and red and blue bold fonts, had sent a memo to her colleagues, explaining the importance of filling out staff claim forms by a certain time and date. The company claimed that the colourful font choice was causing disharmony in the workplace. Fortunately for the employee, the authorities disagreed.

2. Let go for being a “Good Samaritan”

When an American waiter ran from his restaurant to rescue a woman from a car-jacking attempt, many people considered him a hero. His employer, however, labelled him an unreliable employee and terminated him.

3. Terminated for a unique kind of money laundering

While terminating someone's employment due to their criminal activity may seem like a reasonable choice, it is always important to consider the specific circumstances.

A bank in the US fired a mature-age worker after discovering he had committed a crime 50 years ago. His offence? As a teenager, in 1963, the employee had used a cardboard cut-out of a dime to operate a washing machine in a laundromat.

4. Fired for being too attractive

An employer in the American state of Iowa decided to terminate one of his female employees because he believed she was too beautiful, and was putting a strain on his marriage.

The pair had never engaged in any kind of romantic relationship. The Supreme Court therefore decided the reason for termination was within the employer's rights, which meant the woman's unfair dismissal claim failed.

Although these cases seem somewhat bizarre, there are of course some serious issues to be considered when terminating an employee. Unfair dismissal, discrimination or even bullying claims may result if proper processes are not followed when exiting a worker from a business.

iHR Australia offers HR consulting services, including support around organisational restructures, termination and redundancies. iHR also conducts independent workplace investigations into claims of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

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