Losing your temper at work can happen. But if you spew epithets and your tantrum is caught on video, you should probably expect there to be consequences. So perhaps it's not surprising that after an attorney's obscene tirade was captured on video, according to New York's Daily News, his client -- a school board -- would remove him as counsel and his firm would resign from the account.
Christopher Kirby, of Valley Stream, N.Y.-based firm Minerva & D'Agostino, told a parent to "shut up" during what became a contentious meeting of the East Ramapo Central School District in Rockland County, N.Y., which is about 15 miles from Manhattan. Afterward, he indulged in the not-safe-for-work meltdown, which included calling a parent a "fat c---." It also was captured on video. The board finally took action nearly a week later, but that was only after the four-minute video was posted online Wednesday.
It all began during a July 2 school board meeting that was videotaped and posted to YouTube. According to that video, Peggy Hatton, the mother of a special-education student in the high school, addressed what she deemed poor communication on the part of the district. Hatton then complained that Kirby was "smirking" at her. He left and then returned, and Hatton complained that Kirby was again smirking, at which point Kirby said, "Oh, would you please shut up, for Christ's sake."
In the YouTube video, no one on the board appeared to take any action. Another parent insisted that Kirby leave. The lawyer said, "I'll smirk if I want to. I'll laugh if I want to." As Hatton tried to address the board on her original point, he added, "I'm still smirking." She burst into tears while the board remained silent.
The interaction continued and escalated outside, in the parking lot, and was captured on video. Kirby can be seen cursing at a number of parents and appeared to try to goad one of the fathers into a fistfight. Then he called Hatton fat and hurled at her the offensive term for female genitalia.
Controversy has dogged Minerva & D'Agostino. In April, a student claimed that Albert D'Agostino, one of the firm's major partners, "verbally abused" a student at a March 5 school rally. Three years ago, D'Agostino reportedly had a verbal fight with a graduate of the school system during a school board meeting. But those interactions weren't captured on video.
Less than a week after the July 2 incident, and after 200 parents held an outside demonstration, the East Ramapo Central School District board said that Kirby would no longer do work for it. D'Agostino and his associates billed $250 an hour and $125 an hour for travel, according to USA Today.
Was Kirby fired from the firm? Kirby is not listed now on the firm's roster of attorneys on its site. But no one from Minerva & D'Agostino responded to an AOL Jobs interview request.
"We disassociate ourselves with his actions and his words," board President Yehuda Weissmandl said at Monday night's meeting, to triumphant applause from parents and students.
Some parents who attended the meeting disputed that report, however. "What it sounded like to me [during the July 8 meeting] was that the firm itself said that it no longer had the wherewithal to serve the board without Mr. Kirby, so they in effect are canceling their work for the board," said parent Chana Wiesenthal Elias to AOL Jobs. "There was no timeline and no reaching out to the parents to, say, help in the process of finding new counsel ... and no public apology."
According to reporting by the Rockland County Times, there are concerns that a new firm, to be recommended by Minerva & D'Agostino, could have some kind of relationship with the old one. The East Ramapo Central School District supervisor also did not respond to an AOL Jobs interview request.
If Kirby was fired, it would be far from the first time that it came after being caught on video doing something others found offensive. In March, James Olmstead, an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon School of Law was fired after his bizarre rant at a student protest was captured on video and posted to the Web. When video cameras are only a cell phone away, chances are good that the Internet could wind up seeing everything. And sometimes, that can be a good thing.
The Worst Ways To Be Fired
Lawyer Let Go After Obscene Rant Captured On Video
Firing long-serving employees over email is pretty cowardly and insensitive. But you probably lose an extra 5 trillion karma points if those long-serving employees are soldiers. Due to an alleged "administrative error" several dozen British soldiers, who had each served for over 20 years, including one fighting in Afghanistan, were told that their services, or rather their service, would not longer be required. The email advised the troops to "start planning your resettlement."
Prime Minister David Cameron felt that "the way this has been handled is completely unacceptable," according to a spokesman. Jim Murphy, shadow defense secretary for the opposition Labour Party had stronger words, calling it "callous, cold-hearted, souless."
When a partially nude pic of Miss California Carry Prejean surfaced, Donald Trump stood by her side. "We are in the 21st century. We have determined the pictures taken are fine" and in some cases "lovely," said at a press conference in May 2009. He also defended her answer to a pageant question about same-sex marriage (she's not into it).
Less than a month later, Prejean got a call. It was radio and TV host Billy Bush, and he was wondering whether she had a statement. You know, about her losing her crown and her dreams being dashed in a hugely public and humiliating fall from grace?
"It is so bizarre to me how this has turned out," Prejean told Fox News. "I just couldn't believe it. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to say."
Sarah Silverman was on "Saturday Night Live" for a year, but only one of her sketches actually made it to dress rehearsal, and none got on the air. She claims that she was notified of her dismissal by fax, which isn't very cool now, and still wasn't very cool in 1994. She parodied the experience on "The Larry Sanders Show," in which the chauvinist head writer blackballs her jokes because she's a lady.
Getting fired is a bummer. Getting fired for being tired all the time when you're pregnant is a bigger bummer. Being told that you have to give back your uniform shirts or pay $30 is pretty wounding. And then bumping into your bright-eyed replacement on the way out is like pouring five pounds of salt in that wound.
That's what happened to one woman in East Hartford, Conn., who worked at Bell Foods grocery store. As she writes on her blog, she immediately went to her car, grabbed the dirty work shirts, and threw them on her supervisor's desk. Unfortunately, her supervisor wasn't sitting there. She was giving the new girl a tour.
By the age of 21, Chris Colfer had two Emmy nominations and ranked among Time's 100 most influential people in the world last year for his groundbreaking portrayal of a struggling gay teen on the primetime series "Glee." So he was a little surprised when he discovered that the show had tweeted that next season would be his last on the show. "I don't necessarily want to leave so soon, but I mean, it's fine," he told Access Hollywood. "It's what it is. And all things come to an end."
The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, had a different story. They'd been in talks about it for a while, he said, given that Colfer's character was graduating from high school, and that they were planning a spin-off. Annoyed about Colfer's comments, Murphy said that they were scrapping the spin-off idea. Colfer will be back on the show next season, however, as a high school graduate somehow integrated into high school plotlines with the logic-suspending grace of a truly great sitcom.
Sixteen-year-old Chelsea Taylor weekend job at a cafe called Cookies after she lost a ten-pound note (about $16). She was fired by a manager in a Facebook message riddled with the textspeak abbreviations that might be appropriate for dishing about the cute boy next to you in math class, but a little less appropriate for cutting someone off from their source of income.
"Sorry to send u a message like this but bin tryin to ring u but gettin no joy," she wrote. "I had to tell the owner bout u losin that tenner coz obviously the till was down at the end of the day. she wan't very pleased at all and despite me trying to persuade her otherwise she said I have to let u go. I'm really sorry."
Taylor shrugged it off with a resilient "oki x," but her mom wasn't too pleased, and had a little talk with the Daily Mail.
Back in 2010, Karen Ogilvie, a bartender in Dundee, Scotland, slept in and missed the start of her evening shift. She'd worked 11 hours the day before, four of them spent alone, so she couldn't even go to the bathroom, she claimed. Later that evening, she got a text. Bye-bye. Ogilvie replied with a few texts asking for her job back, but got no reply.
But things turned out rosy for Ogilvie. In October 2010, she was awarded the sum of 14,355 pounds ($22,461) by an employment tribunal, which found that her dismissal was "procedurally and substantively unfair."