14 workers at a South Florida law firm were fired for wearing orange. The former employees claim that they would wear orange on pay day so they could be easily recognized during happy hour after the workday was over. Or were they wearing their shirts in protest? Florida is an “at will” state for employment, which means that an employer can fire an employee for any lawful reason if there is no contract.
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14 fired at law firm for wearing orange shirts, workers report
By Doreen Hemlock, SunSentinel
Were they wearing orange shirts on Friday to protest management? Or to get psyched for happy hour?
Either way, orange-shirted workers no longer have jobs at the Deerfield Beach law firm of Elizabeth R. Wellborn P.A.
A spokeswoman said the law firm had “no comment at this time.”
Four workers tell the story this way: For the past few months, some employees have worn orange shirts on pay-day Fridays so they’d look like a group when they went out for happy hour.
This Friday, 14 workers wearing orange shirts were called into a conference room, where an executive said he understood there was a protest involving orange, the employees were wearing orange, and they all were fired.
The executive said anyone wearing orange for an innocent reason should speak up. One employee immediately denied involvement with a protest and explained the happy-hour color.
The executives conferred outside the room, returned and upheld the decision: all fired, said Lou Erik Ambert, 31, of Coconut Creek, a litigation para-legal who said he was terminated.
“There is no office policy against wearing orange shirts. We had no warning. We got no severance, no package, no nothing,” said Ambert. “I feel so violated.”
Meloney McLeod, 39, of North Lauderdale, said her choice of shirt puts her in a tough spot: “I’m a single mom with four kids, and I’m out of a job just because I wore orange today.”
Janice Doble, 50, of Sunrise,said she wore orange Friday because she was looking forward to happy hour with colleagues after a busy work week.
“Orange happens to be my favorite color. My patio is orange,” said Doble. “My lipstick was orange today.” She said she supervised 12 people who scanned, copied and mailed documents for the firm.
Now she’s worried for relatives employed at the law firm. “I have four kids who work there,” said Doble. “I don’t want them to retaliate and fire my kids.”
Yadel Fong, 21, of Miami, wonders where he’ll find work after losing his job in the mail room. He was not aware of anyone in the group involved in a protest.
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