Worker fired over coffee mug highlights zero-tolerance policy problems

Leadership in business requires policies which are strict but do not cross the line when it comes to letting employees go as an overreaction.


HR Grapevine covered a story regarding factory worker Craig Reed who was recently fired from his role after a prank intended for one person inadvertently offended a co-worker. The Sun reports that Reed was fired for bringing in a coffee mug with the words ‘lanky b***h’ on it – intended to poke fun at a colleague’s tall ex-girlfriend. However, a tall female colleague spotted the cup and told bosses that she felt it was an “offensive misogynist message directed” at her.


Despite apologising Reed was let go by the firm and an Employment Tribunal found that his dismissal was fair. Judge Jennifer Wade said: “Some employers would have listened to those very remorseful statements and concluded that he would never do such a thing again.”


While zero-tolerance policies have their place, sometimes companies should use caution before acting on an incident with such harshness.



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For the HR Grapevine article on this story, please follow this link.


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