Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Seinfeld gets people fired

This story from the DesMoines Register shows how a joke from a Seinfeld episode went a little too far and got a man fired. Seems a group from the Brain Injury Association of Iowa attended an outdoor event where there were a lot of blooming plants. After one person sneezed, a lady in the group explained that in her house instead of say "Gesundheit" or "God bless you", she and her husband say "You are so good looking" - which was the basis for a Seinfeld episode. As the event went on, several people got into the game.

After the event, John Preston continued to email the lady telling her she was good looking. Apparently, he liked the episode of Seinfeld too. But this unnerved the lady, who complained to her bosses and they told Preston. A few weeks later, he met the lady in the hall and talked with her and "massaged her shoulders." She complained again and this time he was fired.

This wasn't the first time Seinfeld got people fired, another Iowa case in 2004 resulted in Ronald Knight of the Fareway grocery store being fired after he repeated some comments from a different episode. And in 1992, Miller Brewing company fired an executive for telling his secretary about an episode and showing her a word in a dictionary (the referenced article contains both stories).

What lessons can we learn from this? 1) Just because you saw something on TV doesn't mean you can repeat it in the office. 2) You can carry a joke too far and 3) massaging a co-workers shoulders in the workplace is NEVER acceptable.

In this case, some blame should also fall on the female. Apparently, she started the gag at the outdoor event. If it was unacceptable for Preston, it was unacceptable for her also. She needs to learn some discernment in sharing stories from her home life.

1 comment:

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

I knew that Seinfeld kid was trouble right from th eget....