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‘We fired our HR worker for calling someone stupid’

You're fired. Image: Getty
You're fired. Image: Getty

Would you fire someone for calling a fellow staff member “stupid”?

That’s the question dividing LinkedIn, after a social media and web development worker’s post on the topic went viral, receiving nearly 6,000 comments and 130,000 reactions.

“We fired our HR for calling a member of our team ‘stupid’,” the post begins.

“I was walking through the offices when I heard someone talking angrily. Then I heard, ‘Your performances have dropped, and you have no reasonable explanation for that.’ I walked in and saw our secretary crying.”

The worker went on to say that the secretary had lost her husband, and said workers’ welfare should come first.

Source: LinkedIn
Source: LinkedIn

Was it the right move?

While some LinkedIn users agreed that this was the correct course of action, others questioned if firing was the right thing to do.


“Was firing the best thing to do? A second chance maybe? Firing should be the last resort? If the HR has been doing this for a long time and it is only now you are figuring this out then maybe there is an issue in the communication and reporting of a problem in the workplace,” one LinkedIn user questioned.

“Maybe the HR needed some mentoring this why coaching and mentoring is important in the workplace. Would like to hear the other side of the story though, just my thoughts.”

Others argued that this was a hypothetical situation, and not a true story.

“This may sound like a hypothetical situation of trying to convey the human elements of any business. Nevertheless, another point that was brought up is the toxic culture within some organisations. Such organisations are the ones which tend not to give much emphasis on employees engagement such as providing appropriate hr development,” another LinkedIn user said.

Can you get fired for calling someone a name?

While it’s rare for a company to sack someone for calling another “stupid”, workers can lose their jobs for poor performance, aggressive behaviour, unreasonable work demands and abusive behaviour.

A beauty salon worker was sacked last year by email after allegedly bullying her co-worker. The Fair Work Commission found the dismissal was “unnecessarily callous”, but did not succeed in her unfair dismissal case.

"She was making two of the girls lives hell and she was being discriminatory," the manager told the Fair Work Commission.

"What do you do? You have a duty of care towards everyone. When you have two people being bullied you have to protect people."

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