Woman fired for ALL CAPS in email

By John Bowman, An accountant in Auckland, New Zealand has been awarded $12,800 Cdn for unfair dismissal. The offense that got her fired? Writing an email using red, blue, bold and all-capital letters.

Vicki Walker wrote the email while working as a financial controller for ProCare Health. The email advised her team to submit claim forms before a certain deadline. The deadline date and time were written in bold red letters, and the following appeared in large blue text:


Her employer reportedly found the email "confrontational," and sacked her without warning. ProCare told the Employment Relations Authority that the email had caused "disharmony in the workplace."

The authority sided with Walker. She also plans to appeal for further compensation.

Commentary online is mixed between those who think that firing is too good for such an egregious breach of email etiquette and those who think the employer overreacted. The post on Slashdot supposes that Walker's coworkers are perhaps just a little sensitive:

"Her boss deemed the capital letters too confrontational for her co-workers to read after they woke up from naptime."

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WHAT??!!!!!!!!!!! FIRED??!!!! FOR CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OUTRAGEOUS!!! :)

[rule: caps = yelling]

Posted September 4, 2009 04:14 PM


I think there is more to it than the story covers. I wonder if the email was the straw that broke the camels back.

Posted September 8, 2009 01:25 PM



Methinks there was a bit more behind the firing than an all-caps email.

I have always wondered why people, when new to the Internet, use all-caps until someone gently tells them to stop yelling.... What possessed them to use bad grammar to begin with? We went through this with my mom-in-law. A whole letter LIKE THIS!!! Augh!

Posted September 8, 2009 03:46 PM

SomewhereIn English


Bold is for yelling, Red is for there must be blood, Blue is bruising.

Her typing is violent !

Posted September 8, 2009 05:59 PM

R. W. Watkins

So...I take it cartoonists wouldn't move too far up the ladder with this Auckland business....

Posted September 9, 2009 09:51 AM



ummm after they woke up from a nap? Was it a group nap? Is ProCare Health a day care???

Posted September 9, 2009 10:44 AM

Linda Pearson

I'll bet she has tried unsuccessfully to get her colleagues to submit their claims on time in the proper format for some time. And when they haven't in the past, and have been told the deadline was missed -"too bad", they appealed to a higher authority and were granted exemption from the policy. That likely entailed her staying overtime to cut cheques for people who have been mollycoddled by the boss and her monthly statements would have needed recalculating in order to balance. Believe me when I say "I've been in her shoes!"

Posted September 9, 2009 03:04 PM



I have tried to gently explain to my Mother-in-law that it is hard to read all caps but she insists on sending emails this way - and in Times Roman to make it worse. Ahhhhh.... I told her it was equivalent to yelling and she said I was overreacting. I need an email etiquette site to send to her anonymously!

Posted September 9, 2009 06:03 PM

Edward Teach

I hate it when people put their entire message in the subject line.

Posted September 15, 2009 11:54 AM



The few people I know who write emails in all-caps tend to speak in all-caps as well.

Posted September 15, 2009 12:55 PM

Jay Jay


I’m sure they were looking for a reason to get rid of her and they found something.

Posted September 15, 2009 01:56 PM



Agree with Linda. If you read the NZ article you'll see that this woman is helping co-workers meet deadlines to get paid, not randomly yelling.

Posted September 15, 2009 04:25 PM



This is absurd!


Posted September 16, 2009 10:40 AM



Wow that is pretty unjust it seems. I understand that using a red font, bold, and all caps is forward nut really that's the point. Sometimes you need to communicate certain things and make it loud to make sure you get your point across. Ultimeatly it's for the readers benefit. On the other hand, if this particular woman was a known bully, the company had constant problems with her, it was deliberatly meant to be rude and had given her previous warnings then maybe it was just.

Posted October 1, 2009 01:06 AM



She must have been angry to capitalize.

Posted October 6, 2009 04:30 PM

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