Getting fired sucks. Not only because of the burden of a sudden loss of income, but because it’s embarrassing. If you’ve ever had to do that awkward walk back to your desk after the boss has given you the boot, then you know how awful it can feel.
Luckily for most of us, South Africa has some stringent labour laws that make it hard for companies to fire people without good reason. But in countries like the USA, where employment laws are more lax, people can get fired for all kinds of weird reasons. Here are three of the craziest ones we found:
1. A coach led his team to a 100-0 win
Yip – you read right. In 2009, the coach of a Texas high school basketball team lead his team to a win of 100-0 and got fired for it. The private Christian school said it was “shameful and an embarrassment” and that it clearly didn’t “reflect a Christlike approach to competition”.
While you can understand a school wanting to develop a sense of fairness and compassion in its learners, you can’t help but wonder what you would do in the same situation. Do you tell your players to play badly despite having trained them not to? To shrink away from the light of their success because it made others uncomfortable?
2. A waiter saved a woman from a carjacker
In 2007, Juan Canales, a waiter and father of three wrestled a knife-wielding carjacker to the ground outside the restaurant he worked at, potentially saving a woman’s life. But instead of rewarding him for his heroism, his boss fired him. Why? Apparently he thought it would be bad publicity for his business. Turns out the local business owners who flocked to offer him a job afterwards disagreed.
3. A journalist was carried to keep her shoes dry
Just a few weeks ago, Lydia Cummings, a journalist in Mexico, was fired after being filmed being carried over a flooded road so not to get her expensive shoes wet. But what seemed like a bad attitude might actually have been one big misunderstanding. In Cummings’s video apology on Twitter, she explained that the couple had offered to carry her, and that she was worried it would be rude to decline.
Bad days at the office are inevitable. But stories like these take the cake. Aren’t you glad you live in South Africa now?