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Employee sacked over obscene passwords begins
employee sacked for using inappropriate passwords
today began a legal case to dispute his dismissal by major cake and biscuit
producer Spongegroup plc.
Gary Gibson of Gloucester, who worked in the company’s finance department,
was relieved of his duties two weeks ago after the company IT department
uncovered the use of the offending passwords on corporate software packages.
It is understood that a series of passwords used for the various
applications used were derogatory in nature towards
both the organisation and fellow employees. It is alleged that
company management who, made aware of the passwords after they were
intercepted by the organisation’s computers, took the decision to relieve
Gibson of his duties as they were deemed to be indicative of a bad attitude
towards the company and working in general.
In court today, mild hilarity broke out in the
viewing gallery as company lawyers described “super-sweary”
passwords, which included “workisfuckingshite1”,
“petesmithisafuckingspanner”. Smith, the subject of the third offending
password, was Gibson’s supervisor.
The proliferation of the case and its take up by the media will no doubt be
a source of great embarrassment to the company, who had initially sought to
keep the real reason for the sacking quiet. A cover story used by the
organisation involving sacking Gibson for poor
performance was compromised when an unknown leak from the company
highlighted to Gibson the actual reason for the dismissal.
Corporate Witch Hunt
That the company went
covertly attempted to systematically oust Gibson by rigging working
conditions and surreptitiously deleting files,
among other things, is another case factor highlighted by Gibson’s legal
“I ordered a jam sandwich,” a forlorn
Gibson said earlier in a highly charged cross-examination, “but [the
sandwich turned out to be] well past its sell buy date”. Mr Gibson also told
the court of how, amongst other things, he was excluded from team meetings,
and arrived at work on one occasion to find that the wheels on his luxury
reclining leather seat had been removed.
Above: The jam was far from fresh, alleges
Mr Gibson’s lawyers also allege that they hold medical
evidence that proves he was drugged with ketamine
hydrochloride, a drug also associated with date rape incidents.
The substance, most likely placed into Gibson’s morning cup of tea, resulted
in him falling asleep at his desk; another reason cited by Spongegroup for
the dismissal. The company forcefully denied this was the case when
questioned by journalists outside the courtroom.
A landmark case that could prove influential in setting future precedents,
the affair brings into question the level of
confidentiality of workers, and the dismissal is seen by human
rights organisations as being indicative of the level of intrusion seen in
many of today’s workplaces.
The case continues…