05/15/2015 05:40 EDT | Updated 05/15/2016 05:59 EDT

Sticky Situation: Avoid a Shawn Simoes Dismissal With This Test

AOL On/City TV

Sticky Situation:

What you say and do, even outside of your working hours, may lead to your dismissal.

You don't believe me?

Ask Shawn Simoes. This former Hydro One Sunshine List employee, no longer receives his annual salary of more than $100,000.

"Why? On what grounds?", you ask.

For disrespecting a woman.

It's on this past Mother's Day, after the Toronto FC versus the Houston Dynamo soccer match, that the now fired employee, defended sexist obscenities, said by another fan, to Shauna Hunt, a CityNews sports reporter. He went on and on and on, live, on camera.

His employer -- same as you and I -- saw this now viral video and quickly took steps to discharge him.

In front of the camera, or not, at the office or at a soccer match, in a corporate suit or a team jersey, before or after 17:00, on Monday or Saturday, such words are always sexual discrimination and harassment. What we've all heard breached the Code of Conduct and the Values of this public company, and probably those of your employer.

The reporter and the provincial employer are not the only ones that were outraged by these remarks. Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's Premier, and the Toronto FC soccer club, are too. And probably like me, you are too.

Obviously this man had a great lapse in judgment. He needs to reflect on his values.

This dismissal is an extreme example. The vast majority of you will never say such vulgar comments. They are against your beliefs. I sincerely think so.


But what about all the other times when you are having a "good time," do you ever ask yourself if what you say or do, could get you fired?

If you answered "yes," even with a shy slightly embarrassed smile, I suggest that you filter your words and actions with the Two Fridge Test.

Prior to immortalizing a moment, visualize them on the two refrigerators in your life; the one at home and the one at work.

First, mentally review the could be photos, comments or scene, on the fridge in your home kitchen. Imagine your mother popping in for a visit. She has your favourite meal: a lasagna. Are you comfortable with what she will see on your fridge's door? Your seven-year-old sister and your 77-year-old grandmother accompany her. Are you still OK with what this trio is looking at?

Now take the same words and/or actions, post them on the refrigerator in the lunchroom at your place of work. Big Boss invites Big Client to have a coffee in that room. They both go to the fridge to get milk for their coffees. Are you blushing at the thought of what they will see?

If you answered "No" to both questions, and you are comfortable with all that is posted on the two fridges of your lives; personal and professional, go ahead. Say it. Publish your photos. Display your comments. Download the video.

If you hesitated, even just a little, don't do it.

In the era of virtual stars, where clicks may bring instant fame or destroy a reputation in seconds, before posting all over the planet, protect your "bread and butter," do the Two Fridges Test.

You have a sticky situation at work or at home? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more solutions to sticky situations? Go to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or order your autographed copy of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast and beyond, to present customized activities. With Julie's help gone will be awkwardness, embarrassment and faux-pas.


10 Secrets Of A Happy Workplace