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Strange Tales From The Employment World

The last six months have seen no shortage of weird work-related
occurrences, many of them involving crimes and guns.
The occupation of tattoo artist can have its risks at times, some of
them unexpected.  In Chaparral, New Mexico, two men were trying to trace
the outline of a .357 caliber Magnum pistol as a pattern for a tattoo. 

Unfortunately for them, the pistol was loaded (I think you can see where
this is headed...), it went off, and both men were wounded.  One of them
was hit in the hand and the other in the arm.  As Dirty Harry (a famous
proponent of the .357 Magnum) might have said, it just wasn't their
lucky day.

You know you really don't like your job when you'll resort to
self-mutilation in order to get a day off.  In Pasco, Washington, an
employee had his friend shoot him in the shoulder so that he wouldn't
have to go to work.  

The employee told police that he'd been the victim of a drive-by
shooting while out jogging.  Later, however, he admitted he'd had his
friend shoot him to avoid a scheduled drug test at work.  I can't help
wondering whether pretending to have a sore throat might have been a
better plan.

In Fargo, North Dakota, a flight attendant found a novel way to
demonstrate his frustration with his employer for making him work a
certain route.  The flight attendant set fire to an airplane bathroom,
while in flight, forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing.

The aircraft, carrying 76 passengers and crew en route from Fargo to
Regina, Saskatchewan landed safely despite filling with smoke.  The
flight attendant was arrested and charged with setting fire aboard a
civil aircraft.  Court documents indicated he was upset at the airline
for making him work that route.  Who knew that the prospect of flying to
Regina could be so upsetting?

In Wilson, Kansas, the police chief was fired after being convicted of
stealing beer from the local fire department's refrigerator.  He was
caught on surveillance video taking the beer. 

The Wilson fire department and police department share a building and
are connected by a door which is usually locked.  It's not immediately
apparent which is worse - a fire department with a refrigerator full of
beer or a police chief who can't resist stealing it.

Even in the occupation of burglar, it is important to dress
appropriately for the workplace.  In Burjassot, Spain, neighbours
alerted police when they heard the front door of a funeral home being
forced open in the middle of the night.

When police arrived, they conducted a search for the intruder.
Eventually, they found the suspect playing dead inside a glassed-in
chamber used for viewings of the deceased.

What gave the disguised thief away?  He was breathing (a characteristic
not usually associated with the deceased).  And, he was described as
wearing "wrinkled and dirty" clothes rather than the nicer attire one
normally wears when commencing eternal rest.  A police official stated
that "the custom here is for dead people to be dressed in suits, in nice
clothes that look presentable".

If your chosen career is that of drug trafficking, there's no reason to
let a spell of incarceration interrupt your revenue flow.  In Sao Paulo,
Brazil, officials confiscated the equivalent of over $170,000 and 2
pistols from the jail cell of an imprisoned drug trafficker.  

His cell also contained a plasma television, his own personal
refrigerator, and gym equipment.  The head of Bahia's state prison
department referred to the trafficker's standard of prison living as

Finally, a heart-warming tale from south of the border.  In Tallahassee,
Florida, most residents would be permitted to take guns to work as a
result of a measure recently passed by a 2/3 majority of the Florida
Senate.  The bill prohibits employers from banning guns kept locked in
motor vehicles on their property.  

There was some good news, however, for those among us who wonder whether
firearms and the workplace are a good mix.  Workers would not be able to
take guns to work at nuclear power plants, schools, prisons, and
companies whose business involves homeland security.

Robert Smithson is a partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna practicing exclusively in the area of labour and employment law. For more information about his practice, log on to