HR Strange But True!
September 05, 2002
We all know that HR is never boring. But sometimes it can get downright strange...

The price of stardom

A Connecticut firefighter has been suspended from his job for two weeks because of his stint on the "reality TV" show "Big Brother 3."

Before issuing the suspension to firefighter Eric Ouellette, Poquonnock Bridge Fire Chief Todd Paige had complained that Ouellette didn't follow department procedures when he swapped shifts with other firefighters so he would have time off to appear on the show. The chief expressed concern that filling in for Ouellette would tire his firefighters.

"Big Brother" puts a group of people into a Los Angeles house for six weeks. Their activities are filmed and each week cast members vote one person out of the house, until one person remains and wins $500,000. Ouellette was voted off the show last month.

The Day newspaper of New London, Conn., reports that Ouellette has appealed the suspension and that his union is behind him. The union contends that its contract does not limit the number of days that a firefighter can swap shifts.

"I was outraged that they followed through with the suspension," union president Tom Eldredge said. "The kid didn't do anything wrong to deserve this suspension. It's the interpretation of the contract that the chief had, which he then imposed arbitrarily."

"I believe I was entitled to the opportunity based on the contract," Ouellette told The Day. "I'm not the type of person that wants to go against authority, but I believe I'm entitled to the opportunities that are governed by our contract."

Source: The Day of New London, Conn.

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