In the truth is stranger than fiction category, I recently re-discovered a case in which a Hooter’s waitress in Florida sued her employer for tricking her about a prize in a beer-selling contest. The waitress thought she would win a Toyota if she sold the most beer. However, after she won the contest, her manager blind-folded her; led her to the parking lot; and presented her with a plastic “toy Yoda” character from Star Wars. The manager claimed the prank was an April Fool’s joke. Funny, right? Apparently, the employee didn’t think so– she sued her employer, a Hooter’s franchisee, for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.
We all know that subjecting employees to ridicule and disappointment is not a great motivational technique. But, as the employer learned in this case, conducting business this way can also lead to protracted, and ultimately, expensive litigation. While cases usually aren’t this egregious, the lesson is the same: “I was only kidding” is never going to be your strongest defense.
Remind you of anyone in Scranton?