Woman Fired for Using CAPS in Emails

According to The New Zealand Herald, Vicki Walker was fired by her former employer ProCare Health for causing "disharmony in the workplace" by sending emails with words in bold, in red and in capital letters.

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There must have been something terrible in that email other than capital letters. Something awful and sinister. Something so offensive that any company would be justified in firing this New Zealand woman.

Let's look at the evidence:

According to The New Zealand Herald, Vicki Walker was fired by her former employer ProCare Health for causing "disharmony in the workplace" by sending emails with words in bold, in red and in capital letters. "To say that [email] is confrontational is ridiculous," she told The Herald.

But it wasn't until she decided to fight the wacky termination when the stress really began. "I am a single woman with a mortgage, and I had to re-mortgage my home and borrow money from my sister to make it through," Ms. Walker said. "They nearly ruined my life."

In her defense, the Employment Relations Authority declared that she was not fairly terminated. Walker was awarded only $17,000 and plans to appeal for more compensation. "I have spent thousands defending myself and there are so many issues that are unresolved that I want to take them up on."

According to the Authority, Ms. Walker received no warnings. And the only piece of email evidence used was the example above.

She is now speaking out, calling for greater protection for white-collar workers from the financial, emotional and mental stresses involved in a dispute with a big corporate employer.

Next: 9 Signs You're About To Get Fired >>


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134 Comments

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Araucaman

and we shouldn't wish bad things on others, where will that take us? that's why the world is as messed up as it is, we only care about ourselves, learn how to coexist.

September 11 2009 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Araucaman

listen society it a matrix, if you don't follow it you are weird, but don't you think its weird that we all follow others, we are loosing our humanity, and freedom of speech, and we call ourselves civilized. but we still go to war and kill each other because we follow our "leader". people shouldn't get all stressed out because of something as insignificant as using CAPS on an e-mail, we should learn how to enjoy life instead of making it harder on ourselves

September 11 2009 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dmark

This article is a good example of not having enough information. They show the result, and display "the final straw" email, but neglect to gather the backstory that might fully explain the position of the company. Typical of the media... everything out of context to sell a story.

She was fired for "creating disharmony in the workplace." Maybe the implication behind the overly-emphasized email was just the digital representation of her over-all attitude towards her co-workers: "you're too stupid to follow simple directions."

If a few of the wrong people(see: insecure dicks) take it personally.. you're fired.

September 11 2009 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drizztfoevah

In general, I considered the exaggerated measures taken against this woman, simply expressing herself in her style of writing, to be ridiculous and, perhaps out of context, amusing. But I must say: the amusement I derived from the article is nothing compared to that I found in reading the below squabbling over grammar (Arguing over the employee's dialect, then misspelling New Zealand? Honestly :P And that's only the tip of the iceberg lol). Some of us need to review ourselves for a little thing called hypocrisy... XD

September 10 2009 at 11:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gwen

Blair is ignorant to have made that statement regarding the woman getting what she deserves. However, Blair does deserve all the feed back regarding his ignorance.

It appears she was fired at point blank range which put her in a spiral of a financial hardship at no fault of hers. The mesaures she took to survive while enduring mental stress of not knowhing where she will get funds to keep the roof over her head is a major burden. Also, she had to ask to borrow money from family members which created another bill for her.

The lady needs to be compensated fairly and the amount which was awarded to her does not cover future medical illnesses triggered by this unjustily act by the employer/company.

September 10 2009 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GLORIA

I DON'T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH USING CAPS AS I HAVE TROUBLE SEEING SO I USE CAPS TO MAKE IT EASIER TO READ. THIS IS A PETTY THING TO ARGUE OVER. MY DAUGHTERS TOLD ME USING CAPS MEAN YOU'RE YELLING. WHO MAKES THE RULES??????

September 10 2009 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
granttina911

Working in a payables environment is sometimes difficult to empahsize to people the importance of following the guidelines in order to get paid correctly and on time. I once had an employee get offended because I used an ! after a sentence. She thought I was being rude to her by putting emphasis on the sentence. That was just something I did rountinely on most all my notes. Nothing was intended at all.
I'm sure the woman had people coming to her complaining about not getting paid and she wanted to put it in CAPS so they would make sure to read it.
This has gone way beyond crazy to fire someone over this. Yet, there may have been complaints about her other than this incident. Bookkeepers generally get the B--ch reputation because they have to have certain information before they can pay someone and notoriously, someone doesn't follow the rules and she becomes the bad guy.
I'm an employer and have had to work in our bookkeeping dept.at times and it can be very stressful to meet deadlines.
Give her a break.

September 10 2009 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bj

This was not a conversational email. It was a memo giving employees information on how to make sure their claims were paid on time. The red letters were to call attention to the due date, and the CAPS were for emphasis, also to call attention to important information. If you look at a job application for this(or any other )company, you would be likely to find at least one instance of an instruction printed in all caps, red letters, or bold face to make wure that the applicant did not miss an important element of the process.

And Blair, you must also be one of those people who think you are above the rules. You broke so many in just one paragraph.

September 06 2009 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ltee

I knew one demented Canadian working in Los Angeles who finds all capital letters email writing as offensive.He feels the words capital letters are screaming and not pc.
Canada, New Zealand, UK..the all proper countries of queendom yore...the black plague was worse than thy capital letters.lighten up!

September 06 2009 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nonameiam

It "to" insure etc etc, whole purpose of her typing the e-mail to begin with

September 06 2009 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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