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Strange Tales From The Employment World

It’s time for my semi-annual roundup of the weirder things going on in the world of employment.

In London, England an employee at the Madame Tussauds wax museum got into trouble with his employer because he seems to love his work just a little too much.

Photographs were revealed to his employer showing him groping wax figures of celebrities. One shot caught him pulling down the pants and kissing the buttocks of the wax figure of singer Kylie Minogue. In another photograph, he is shown fondling the wax figure of Penelope Cruz.

The employee’s girlfriend apparently leaked the photographs to his employer after the breakup of their relationship. A spokesperson for Madame Tussauds has indicated they do not encourage such behaviour amongst their staff.

From Sydney, Australia comes a story of the “it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it” variety. Sydney municipal officials paid private detectives thousands of dollars to have sex with prostitutes to gather evidence needed to shut down illegal brothels.

Nine local councils have paid private investigators the equivalent of $23,150 (Cdn) over the last three years to go undercover and root out the illicit trade. Nick Ebbeck, the mayor of Kuringai council, said extreme measures were necessary. "We have to employ private investigators to actually go through with the act and come up with reports that will suffice in a court process".

Airport security breaches are always in the news, both in Canada and abroad. A hot topic at the Istanbul airport, Turkey’s busiest, is the form of celebrations preferred by maintenance staff.

Turkish Airlines maintenance workers recently celebrated their success (in sending a batch of aircraft back to their supplier ahead of schedule) by sacrificing a camel. The workers killed the camel, at the airport, resulting in the supervisor of aircraft maintenance being suspended pending an investigation into the incident. One has to wonder, did the doomed camel just happen to wander by or did it pass through security?

In Richmond, Virginia, a high school art teacher has been fired from his teaching position as a result of his off-hours activities. It seems that his artistic preferences were not to the liking of his employer.

The issue came to a head when his work as a “butt printing artist” started to circulate amongst students. He was suspended after objections were raised about his private abstract art work, which involves smearing his buttocks and genitals with paint and pressing them up against the canvass.

According to published reports, his paintings can sell for as much as $900 (U.S.).

A story out of Beijing, China proves the old workplace axiom that employees should always be wary of a boss asking how long their arms are. The long arms of the world’s tallest man helped to save the lives of two dolphins. To achieve this, he had to reach down their throats to remove pieces of plastic they had swallowed.

Attempts to use surgical instruments to remove the plastic had failed, and the arm of an ordinary person was not long enough to reach into the dolphins’ stomachs, so a 7’8” herdsman from Inner Mongolia was brought in to do the job.

He was able to reach far enough into the dolphins’ stomachs, with his metre-long arm, to pull out the plastic. The dolphins soon seemed to be on the way to recovery. The herdsman was quoted as saying, “I never thought my long arms could be used this way”.

In Toronto, there has been another bizarre incident in the school setting. An elementary school principal was suspended after throwing feces at a boy. The excrement is reported to have struck the boy (who was apparently not a student at the school) on the shoulder.

The principal was also charged with two counts of assault but was granted an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to one charge. The incident seemed to have occurred in a moment of extreme stress, as the principal explained she just “couldn’t take it any more” (but pledged in court that it wouldn’t happen again).

In Yekaterinburg, Russia, a policeman was jailed after exercising unusual (and misguided) enthusiasm in completing his duties. The officer’s boss told him that two acquaintances were late for a flight and needed the officer’s assistance in making the flight on time.

The officer then telephoned the airport and told officials there that the plane might have explosives on board. The plane, which had already taken off, was recalled to the airport. The officer, for his overzealous and ill-conceived scheme, was charged with a criminal offence and has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Finally, from the “couldn’t you see this coming?” file, in Sao Paulo, Brazil an employee of a beer brewery has been awarded the equivalent of $54,000 (Cdn) as a result of having developed alcoholism.

The employee, a beer taster, told the Brazilian court that he drank 16 to 25 glasses of beer during each shift during his decade-long employment. He also received a free bottle of beer at the conclusion of each shift. In its defence, his employer claimed the employee was an alcoholic before obtaining employment as a beer taster.

There you have it. If you take nothing else away from reading this article, remember never to volunteer when your employer puts out a call for someone with really, really long arms.