HR Strange But True!
February 17, 2005

Helen Ubiñas, a columnist for The Hartford Courant, is sticking up for a woman who says she was fired for not smiling.

"As far as I know, failing to smile never cost a company a dime," Ubiñas writes. "And what exactly do companies want--a bunch of Stepford employees?"

The woman, Alyson Schupp, told Ubiñas that she had been working as a secretary at Alstom Power in Windsor, Connecticut, for about four weeks when she was called into a meeting with her supervisors and a woman from human resources. They told her she was being let go.

"When she asked why, she says, they said she just wasn't a good fit," Ubiñas writes. "They'd rather not get into the details right then, they said, though it was unclear when they might since she and her cardboard box of belongings were quickly shuffled out the door."

As a supervisor walked her out, Schupp pressed him for a reason. According to her, he put his forefingers to his mouth, smiled, and said: "Not enough of this and not enough warmth."

Ubiñas, who notes that Connecticut is an at-will state, says she tried to get the power equipment company's side of the story, hoping that company officials "could at least disabuse me of the smiling defense if it wasn't true." But no one called her back, she writes, "so I was left to think that now employers are not only able to dictate behavior, but demeanor."

Source: The Hartford Courant

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