Britney’s done it, Will Smith’s done it, Bill Gates has done it, The Beckham’s have done it…not to mention countless millions of others. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign has helped raise millions in donations and educate millions more people about Motor Neurone Disease, but it’s also got one individual sacked.
The ice bucket video was filmed during a break at the warehouse Manchester’s Better Bathroom employee Phil Lucas was working in. Days after bosses discovered he had taken part in the challenge - not as the one getting drenched but the one doing the drenching - he received a letter accusing him of gross misconduct. Scheduled to attend a meeting the next day, early into his shift the night before he was informed he had been fired and had to leave the premises. When questioned about their decision, their response was that the dismissal was as a result of his participation in that particular ice bucket challenge.
A Frosty Reaction
Better Bathroom’s only response has been to say that this is “an internal matter”. It’s also worth noting that the other colleagues involved went unchallenged.
Although there may indeed be more to this story, the lack of transparency from the company raises bigger issues. A lone individual up against a company with considerable resource behind it is far less powerful in comparison, and with the cost of employment tribunals reported to rise last week, it could be that some employees are getting fewer and fewer rights when it comes to their jobs.
Staying Out of Hot Water
There are of course, steps you can take to help avoid such a fate, and an unpleasant shock:
- There are links to helpful sites and questions relating to employment, unions and tribunals here
- Have regular reviews with your boss to iron out any issues prior to an upsetting situation
- If you want to take part in a spontaneous activity like the ice bucket challenge, check it’s ok with your superior before doing so
Hats off to all those who have done the ice bucket challenge and/or donated to the cause, and if you’re planning on doing it in the near future, perhaps do it at home to be on the safe side!
"with the cost of employment tribunals reported to rise last week, it could be that some employees are getting fewer and fewer rights when it comes to their jobs"