14 workers at a Florida law firm were apparently fired for wearing matching colored orange shirts to work. The employees were let go Friday of last week by the law offices of Elizabeth R. Wellborn, P.A. for apparently wearing matching colors in order to identify themselves as a group while celebrating happy hour once off work.
According to one of the employees who was interviewed by the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the group was fired by an executive of the law firm who accused the employees of wearing orange shirts in order to protest company management.
Orange is a color often associated with the Sunshine State of Florida which is widely known for exporting orange juice. The color orange is also used by hunters, school crossing guards, and even prisoners as the color stands out significantly to the human eye.
Lou Erik Ambert, a former employee of the law offices of Elizabeth R. Wellborn, P.A., was quoted by the Sun-Sentinel’s Doreen Hemlock saying:
“There is no office policy against wearing orange shirts. We had no warning. We got no severance, no package, no nothing. I feel so violated.”
It is illegal to fire an employee for wearing orange as a form of protest. If this had been the case and the 14 employees fired were indeed wearing orange as a form of protest for which they were let go, it would be illegal. On the other hand, Florida employers such as the aforementioned law firm have the ability to fire at-will for a good, bad, or indifferent reason, as long as the reason is not against the law. As this is the case, it appears as if the law firm has not violated the law in this particular incident.
Meloney McLeod, a single mother who was amongst those fired for wearing an orange shirt to work in an effort to color coordinate with her fellow co-workers for a happy hour event after work, was quoted by the Sun-Sentinel saying:
“I’m a single mom with 4 kids, and I’m out of a job because I wore orange today.”
Do you think that wearing orange alongside your colleagues in anticipation of happy hour is an adequate reason to be fired?