Man fired for posting ‘Dilbert’ comparing boss to drunken lemur

23 December 2007 at 6:28PM Leave a comment

A story in the Des Moines Register points out the dangers for those who believe they have an unrestricted right of free speech in the workplace (and the dangers of working for people without a sense of humor.)

Bosses fire worker who put up ‘Dilbert’ comic

A Fort Madison man who posted a “Dilbert” comic strip on an office bulletin board has lost his job for implying his bosses were a bunch of “drunken lemurs.”

On Oct. 27, shortly after company officials announced that the casino would be closing and 170 workers could be laid off, Steward posted a “Dilbert” comic strip on an office bulletin board.

Steward said he was fired three days after posting the comic, with his boss telling him he wasn’t a team player. The casino then challenged Steward’s claim for unemployment benefits, but Administrative Law Judge Lynette Donner sided with Steward.

Donner ruled that the posting of the comic strip represented “a good-faith error in judgment,” not intentional misbehavior.

For the full story, click the link above, and this link to a follow-up Register story.

For the complete view, check out the great commentary from Dilbert man himself, Scott Adams, on his DilbertBlog. Adams makes the following observation:

If you intend to mock your boss with Dilbert comics, the trick is in knowing which comics to pick. Apparently there is a fine line between posting a comic that criticizes a particular policy decision, versus a comic that calls your boss an inebriated prosimian. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

In order to get his unemployment benefits, the perpetrator had to convince a judge that he was merely stupid, not intentionally misbehaving. He succeeded, but it’s not the sort of victory he should feel good about, as in “Yay! The judge agrees I’m an idiot! It’s going to be in the newspaper and all over the Internet!”

The moral of this story is that if you plan to circulate a Dilbert comic calling your boss a drunken lemur, the best way is to use your boss’s unattended computer to e-mail it to the entire company.

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