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Can Wearing an Orange Shirt to Work Get You Fired?

Cute J. Crew tee. I want it. But could it get me fired?

You betcha.

According to the Sun Sentinel, 14 staffers formerly employed by Elizabeth R. Wellborn, P.A., a law firm in Deerfield Beach, Florida, were let go last Friday for wearing orange shirts.

To add insult to injury, that Friday also happened to be pay day.

Several of the terminated employees told the Sun Sentinel they were called into a conference room and asked by an upper management employee if they were wearing orange in protest.

One employee spoke up and said they were wearing the shirts for Happy Hour after work, to show their togetherness as a group.

They all still lost their jobs anyway, including a single mom, a mail room clerk, and a woman who loves the color so much she painted her patio orange.

According to a legal expert interviewed for the article, Florida is an at-will state for employment, and you can get fired for any reason, as long as it doesn’t violate state and federal laws.

North Carolina, where I work, is also an at-will state, and when I explain what it means to people, I usually say something along the lines of, “Yes, you can be fired for your hair style, your attitude, or the color shirt you’re wearing.”

But I’ve never actually read about it happening.

This story will keep me up all night. Is there more to it? That’s a lot of orange shirt wearers getting fired on the same day. They’d been wearing orange shirts on pay days for months. Maybe someone could have just said, “Don’t…”

Should we host an “Orange Shirt Protest Friday”? (I don’t even own any orange clothes, although I have to admit my Visible Monday post now looks kinda orange in retrospect.)

What about any laid off workers who just happened to make the mistake of wearing orange that day for no reason at all – no Happy Hour, no protest? Now, no job?

What do you guys think?

Source:  Sun Sentinel

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