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Employee and Employer Pay Price for Use of ALL CAPS, Bold

Part of Vicki Walker's job as a financial controller at New Zealand's ProCare Health was to advise her team on how to fill out staff claim forms. But, her colleagues demanded, did she have to be so "confrontational" about it? According to a post last week on the Social Networking Law Blog, the company eventually fired Walker, claiming that her unnecessarily stern and detailed instructions on how forms should be properly filled out were causing "disharmony in the workplace."

ProCare's decision may seem extreme, but not when you hear what Walker did.

[Pause for dramatic effect]

Yes, Vicki Walker went there. She wreaked havoc in the workplace by using block capitals, bold typeface and red text in her e-mails to colleagues, and had to pay the price for her conduct, ProCare said.

In the main smoking gun e-mail ProCare offered into evidence, Walker, while advising 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."

Capslock Bold blue? Capital letters?? Outrageous!!! What does she think this is, the Thunderdome? Listen, Ms. Walker, I don't know how you all operate in New Zealand but here in the U.S. we are civilized and we learn at a young age that the "Shift" button on the keyboard is not a toy and is only to be used once per word (and the Caps Lock key is for decoration only). And there is certainly no call for you to be using the "Ctrl B" function in the workplace, and never -- ever -- in conjunction with the blue font.

Further demonstrating the lawlessness in New Zealand, the Employment Relations Authority awarded Walker $17,000 for unfair dismissal, despite her blatant crimes against the keyboard and her co-workers.

Posted by Bruce Carton on December 1, 2009 at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)


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