Firing of 'rude' and 'hostile' HR manager deemed OK by Court of Appeal

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It’s already well known that sending out offensive tweets or posting the wrong thing to Instagram can get you fired.

Add rude emails to the list of things not to do if you want to keep your job.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Federal Court of Appeal has upheld the firing of a human resources manager with the Canada Border Service Agency’s Atlantic regional office in Halifax who sent emails that her co-workers felt were unprofessional to the point of being rude.

No fewer than 18 complaints about Lorraine Lortie were received, according to Justice David Near.

Lortie held her position with CBSA for eight years until she was fired in 2016. She was reprimanded on two occasions and suspended two other times for emails that, for example, suggested co-workers “shut up and listen to me.”

Lortie’s firing was upheld by the Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board on Jan. 30. Her appeal was dismissed by Near, who said, “In my view the Board’s decision was reasonable. The decision was transparent, justified and intelligible.”

Managers described Lortie as being “hostile,” “rude” and “threatening” and had her take a course in communications skills at St. Mary’s University. They also commissioned a “psycho-social team health assessment” for the Halifax-based office.

“I can be honest in a nice way and I can be honest in a not so nice way,” Lortie said a memo to supervisors in 2012. “I don’t beat around the bush, and am not going to start doing so at this point.”

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