December 21, 2005

Can a company do that? Workplace horrors compiled

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The time-honored office tradition of
whining at the water cooler just might get you fired, according
to a newly compiled list of workplace horrors around the world.

Two workers who exceeded the official limit of two moans
per employee at one unnamed German firm were fired this year.
Several colleagues quit before their moans could be counted.

Their employer's strict policy tops a list compiled by
Challenger, Gray and Christmas. The Chicago-based outplacement
firm gave nine notable examples from hundreds of cases.

Most involve petty rules.

Workers at a DaimlerChrysler plant in Kokomo, Indiana,
should drive a Chrysler model or they may find their car in
Indianapolis, 50 miles away. That's because a rule limits
parking space for non-Chrysler cars. Violators will be towed.

"These are things that make you go hmmm," Challenger
spokesman James Pedderson said.

Such stories pour in throughout the year and Challenger
plans to make the list an annual tradition, he said. The point
is to encourage managers and their staff to communicate better.

Some of the worst stories involve discrimination against a
worker's religion, ethnicity, or, less seriously, squirrels. A
librarian lost her job for devoting too much time to saving a
squirrel stuck in a ceiling.

"I think reason has to prevail in some of these instances,"
Pedderson said.