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In Review

Everyone Quit, Got Fired or Sent to Sensitivity Training in 2010…And More News from This Year

Okay, I couldn’t resist the urge to squeeze in one more “year’s best” list…but can you blame me? (Don’t answer that.) From flight attendant freakouts to too-sexy bankers (is there such a thing?), and everything in between…let’s just say that if the following workplace stories were people, Barbara Walters would be interviewing them during sweeps.

So while you were busy deciding to go with an understated-yet-elegant look, clarifying that you are in fact not a witch (although who isn’t, on some level?), or saying, “Dictionary, schmictionary!”…here’s what was going on in the world of workforce management this year…

  1. Getting Fired Over Facebook is So 2009 In what became a groundbreaking case highlighting workers’ rights when it comes to social media, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against a company the group said illegally fired an employee for criticizing her supervisor on her Facebook page. (For the record, none of this stuff ever happened with Friendster.)
  2. Sorry, Mario Lopez, but A.C. is No Longer the Most Famous Slater Steven Slater became a household name in August when the then-Jetblue flight attendant, after arguing with a passenger (and possibly overreacting), dramatically activated the plane’s inflatable emergency slide and literally slid off the job in a huff.  
  3. Jenny the Office Assistant Punk’d Us All Hot on the heels of Slatergate (sorry, I’ve always wanted to ‘gate’-ify something) emerged another working class hero: Jenny, the office assistant who emailed her entire office a series of photographs of her holding a dry erase board with messages revealing that she was quitting – and, oh, yeah, the boss is kind of a perv. The photos went viral and made Jenny a social media star…until it all turned out to be a hoax.
  4. We’ve All Totally Been There Ever been fired for being too hot? That’s what a former Citibank employee claimed when she filed a suit against the bank, saying she was unfairly terminated for being too attractive. Citibank, however, has said the termination was due to poor job performance and has refused to comment further.
  5. Working for Oprah is Just as Awesome as Being in Her Audience In September, Oprah surprised every O Magazine staffer with an Apple iPad, customized leather iPad case, and a check for $10,000. Y’know…just cuz. (Okay, it was actually to celebrate the magazine’s 10th anniversary. But still.)
  6. Sometimes a Simple “Thanks, Here’s a Starbucks Gift Card” Just Won’t Do In a bold move to boost morale, Google announced a surprise 10 percent pay raise and $1000 bonus for all of its workers in November. Unfortunately, one person in particular is no longer eligible for the perk: the (now former) employee who leaked the news to the press. So close!
  7. Twitter’s Use as a Business Tool Knows No End In February, Jonathan Schwartz resigned his post as the CEO of Sun Microsystems by sending out a message on Twitter. The best part? He did it in haiku. Hip and romantic! 
  8. Football Players Act Improper in the Locker Room (Spoiler Alert!) In September, after several New York Jets players were cited for treating a female reporter with “unprofessional conduct,” the National Football League ordered the team to pay for workplace conduct training for the entire league. This will surely take.
  9. It’s Like You Can’t Even Call People Bigots on TV Anymore…CNN was less than pleased earlier this year when newscaster Rick Sanchez made some controversial comments on air in regards to Jewish people in general and Jon Stewart in particular, calling the “Daily Show” host a bigot, among other things. Not 24 hours later, CNN told Sanchez to take his rants elsewhere.
  10. Workers Who Wanted the Freedom to Drink During Work Hours Got Their Wish If you’re going to drink on the job, well, don’t. But especially don’t do it in front of a local TV news crew. In September, Chrysler fired 13 employees whom a local TV station caught drinking beer and smoking what appeared to be marijuana while on break from their jobs.

Okay, what did I miss?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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