HR Strange But True!
February 28, 2008

Be careful if you fire a worker for posting a cartoon ? your company may just end up lampooned in the cartoon later. Just ask a Burlington, Iowa company that now sees its likeness portrayed in the cartoon panels of Dilbert.

Loyal HR Strange but True! readers will remember the story of David Steward, who was working for Catfish Bend Casinos until he posted a Dilbert comic strip on a public bulletin board.

In the comic strip that he posted, there is discussion of the decision-making abilities of the managers in the Dilbert's workplace. One line, for example, read:

"Why does it seem as if most of the decisions in my workplace are made by drunken lemurs?"

The casino found the comic strip offensive and fired Steward. When Steward filed for unemployment benefits, the casino fought his claim, arguing that he was ineligible for the benefits because he was fired for misconduct.

An administrative law judge disagreed with the casino, ruling that Steward had exercised bad judgment but didn't engage in misconduct.

Just two months after the case made headlines, a series of Dilbert comic strips is depicting Steward's story, through the lens of Dilbert creator Scott Adams, the Des Moines Register reports. One strip, for example, contains this exchange.

The Boss: Our surveillance cameras caught you posting this anti-management comic on the wall. This comic compares managers to drunken lemurs. Do you think drunken lemurs are like managers?

Wally: No. Some lemurs can hold their liquor.

The series began February 20. Adams told the newspaper that Steward 's story is the inspiration behind the series.

Sources: Des Moines Register and Dilbert

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