The Weird Workplace

A collection of unusual and quirky stories from across Canada and the world
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/25/2019
Soccer Ball
Several police officers in Nairobi recently let their enthusiasm for soccer get the best of them. Credit: pingebat/Shutterstock

A LITTLE DISTRACTED

NAIROBI — Several police officers in Nairobi recently let their enthusiasm for soccer get the best of them. When the quarter-finals for the Championships League by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) were on, the officers decided to shut down the Kamorwon police post, according to Reuters. Their quest? A TV to watch the game, which they found at a nearby shopping mall. However, the officers’ absence allowed thieves to raid the post and steal three rifles and ammunition. While other officers were “mobilized to swing into action,” it’s not clear whether the soccer fans were disciplined for their actions.

OOPS, DIDN’T MEAN THAT

HOUSTON, TEXAS — We all have days where we make a mistake at work, and one Houston civil court judge found that out the hard way in April when he accidentally resigned, according to the Washington Post. William McLeod went online to announce he’d run for the Supreme Court in Texas, saying he wanted to “make a difference.” However, he inadvertently violated the state’s constitution which considers any declaration of candidates for another office an automatic abdication of the current position. “I messed up,” said McLeod. “The mistake was it was an archaic 180-page document that I did not know contained this particular provision. I guess I did not scour everything that could possibly disrupt a run.” After realizing his error, McLeod retracted the announcement, saying he’d rather stay on as county judge. But the attorney’s office has told him there’s no going back.

TENSIONS RISE                                                     

PALO ALTO, CALIF. — A woman who berated an elderly man for wearing a MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) hat in a Starbucks recently lost her job over the incident. Rebecca Parker Mankey, an accountant, confronted the man both inside and outside the coffee shop, and then posted photos of him on Facebook, according to CBS in San Francisco. She said she was going to shame him, get him fired and kicked out of clubs. “This crazy woman came over and started raving at me. She turned to the rest of Starbucks and said, ‘Hey everybody, here’s this racist over here. He hates brown people, he’s crazy, he’s a Nazi,’ and so forth,” said Trump supporter Victor F. The 74-year-old man is Jewish and wears a yarmulke underneath his MAGA hat. In the end, people started angrily messaging Parker Mankey’s family and her employer, Gryphone Stringed Instruments, so she was fired. “We feel that music is what brings people together. So having someone then making comments that are so divisive is not consistent with our values,” said store owner Richard Johnston.

WHAT A WASTE

SAN ANTONIO — It happened more than two years ago, but is still hard to forget: A San Antonio officer was accused of trying to give a homeless man a sandwich containing dog feces. Matthew Luckhurst told another police officer what he did, and he was reported to supervisors. It was a “vile and disgusting act,” said police chief William McManus. The offending officer was subsequently fired but an arbitrator later overturned the dismissal, saying Luckhurst wasn’t punished within the required 180 days of the alleged incident. The arbitrator also cited a lack of evidence that it happened at all. Luckhurst remains on an indefinite suspension for another incident involving feces — after bragging he and another officer left a mess in a women’s washroom.

DRUG-INDUCING

MATSUYAMA, JAPAN — A pharmaceutical professor took his expertise a bit too far, according to police in Japan, after he admitted to having students and an associate professor produce an illegal drug. Tatsunori Iwamura, 61, a professor at Matsuyama University, apparently instructed his colleague and four students, at two separate times over several years, to produce MDMA or methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It is often used to create the recreational drug known as ecstasy and molly. Iwamura told investigators he did so to help his students’ “learning,” according to the Japan Times, but the school said it would be taking disciplinary action. “We sincerely apologize for causing major concern to students and their parents,” said Tatsuya Mizogami, president of the university. Based on the country’s narcotics control law, a researcher must obtain a licence issued by the government to make such drugs for academic research — and Iwamura’s licence had expired.

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