Fourteen employees of the Elizabeth R. Wellborn Law Firm in Deerfield Beach FL were recently fired for the grievous sin of wearing orange shirts to work.
They say they wore the shirts so that when they hit the saloons after work for happy hour, they would be part of an identifiable group.
The bosses say that the fired employees were protesting new office policies that forbade, among other things, going to get coffee while on the clock, and talking to each other over cubicle walls. The bosses also aver that they heard rumblings that the support staff were donning orange as a protest against the strict new office rules, and that they wore orange because that is the color of the jumpsuits worn in Florida prisons.
Another attorney, Donna Ballman, has been hired to represent eight of the fourteen employees in their suit filed with the National Labor Relations Board. She admits that some of the staffers were upset with the new rules, but adds, "Different people were wearing orange for different reasons that day, but the fact is it doesn't matter."
Now, Ms Wellborn herself is speaking up, saying that at first, the people fired claimed they were getting into these get-ups because they were going to happy hour after work, and now they say the shirts represented a protest. And she goes on to say that the protest took the form of "efforts to harass, bully and intimidate the new office manager
into quitting. Particularly upsetting is that supervisors were among
those talking about the office manager using obscene and vulgar
language, as well as encouraging others to disregard her instructions.
Our office manager felt threatened and subsequently left the state."
I don't imagine that any of these people are old enough to remember The Monkees, who said "I don't wanna fight...I'm a little bit wrong...you're a little bit right."
Could we have Ms Wellborn and her top brass sit down with the Fired Fourteen and talk? Maybe she'll ease up on some draconian rules, and the FF will start feeling like part of the firm and knock off the harassment?
Or will we just see this case file grow huge day by day as it is dragged from courtroom to courtroom?