Wednesday, December 19, 2007
JUDGE SIDES WITH MAN FIRED OVER "DILBERT" COMIC STRIP
DES MOINES, Iowa — A judge has sided with a man who was fired for posting a "Dilbert" comic strip that made fun of managers on an office bulletin board.
David Steward was fired from the Catfish Bend Casino because management found the cartoon "very offensive," human resources director Steve Morley testified at a recent unemployment benefits hearing. The casino had challenged his claim for unemployment benefits.
"Basically, he was accusing the decision-makers of being drunken lemurs," Morley testified. "We consider that misconduct when you insult your employer."
According to state records, Steward posted the comic in late October, shortly after officials announced the casino in Burlington would be closed.
In the strip, Dilbert and another character are shown having the following exchange:
"Why does it seem as if most of the decisions in my workplace are made by drunken lemurs?"
"Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent."
"Why are talented people so busy?"
"They're fixing the problems made by people who have time."
Steward testified that he posted the comic partly because of the impending layoffs.
"I thought maybe it would cheer some people up," he said. "I found it humorous."
Administrative Law Judge Lynette Donner sided with Steward, ruling it was "a good-faith error in judgment," not intentional misbehavior.
"Dilbert" creator Scott Adams said it might have been the first confirmed instance of a worker being fired for posting a "Dilbert" strip in a workplace.