Florida Law Firm That Fired Workers For Wearing Orange Cites Bullying

Section seven of the law states: "Employees shall have the right to self-organization, . . . to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection . . . ."

The law makes it unlawful for an employer "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7."

"We don't hire employees just to fire them. But we will take decisive action to protect the civility and fairness of our workplace," Wellborn said. "At our firm we pride ourselves on doing what's best for our clients, and that means taking care of employees. We enjoy an excellent reputation as a great place to work, pay highly competitive wages, and provide many fringe benefits. Relatives of employees have traditionally been hired to create a family friendly atmosphere. Those things are valued at this firm."

Ballman said there have been cases where firing employees because management didn't like their shirts were found to be unlawful, including when AT&T workers wore shirts that said "Inmate #" on the front and on the back said "Prisoner of AT$T", which was activity protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

In Florida, employment is presumed to be at will, which means that unless stated otherwise by something like an employment contract or a piece of legislation, an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, said Kerri Stone, a law professor at Florida International University.

Janice Doble, 50, a fired copy room worker, also joined in filing the complaint. She said she was wearing orange because she was going to a happy hour with coworkers and was not protesting working conditions.

"Orange happens to be my favorite color. My patio is orange," Doble told Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper. "My lipstick was orange today."

Ballman is releasing a book this fall called, "Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Fired: Handle Your Workplace Crisis Before You Quit, Get Canned, Or Sue the Bastards" with Career Press.

"Everybody who can be fired for no reason is an 'orange American,'" she said. "Everybody that can be fired for wearing an orange shirt to work should be outraged by this."

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