Receptionist Fired for "Being Unhappy in the Workplace" Defended Online

Internet commenters were stunned after one former receptionist revealed why she was terminated by her previous employer.

In a viral video posted on October 17, TikTok creator @stoneypnw said she had been recently working for an RV retailer when she was confronted about her happiness in the workplace—or supposed lack thereof.

"I got fired today," @stoneypnw exclaimed. "They said, 'We know you're not happy here, so we're gonna let you go.'

"I didn't know you could get fired for being unhappy in the workplace," she added, in disbelief.

@stoneypnw

anyone know of any wfh 😅 #fired

♬ original sound - ky

Captioned, "Anyone know of any [work-from-home]?" the TikTok has racked up more than 57,000 likes and has been viewed nearly 400,000 times.

The conversation surrounding work in the U.S. has undergone multiple major transformations in the last two and a half years.

From debates over the advantages and disadvantages of remote work at the beginning of the pandemic, to The Great Resignation and other separation phenomena, like "quiet quitting" and "quiet firing," there has been an increase in transparency regarding issues workers face on a daily basis.

Social media is largely responsible for this.

With platforms like Twitter, TikTok and Reddit's r/antiwork forum available for users to discuss unsavory parts of their jobs, there is greater awareness, as well as a greater willingness to express their unhappiness surviving under poor working conditions.

Unhappiness, however, is rarely grounds for termination by an employer.

"You get to feel anyway you like about your job," Alison Green, founder of management blog Ask a Manager, told Newsweek. "But if it's coming out at work in ways that cause problems for other people, your employer is probably going to consider that their business.

"That doesn't mean they should fire someone who's not brimming with enthusiasm," Green continued. "A good manager should ASK about if they notice someone seems unhappy. Unhappy employees often have really valuable feedback to give—feedback businesses should be interested in hearing."

In an updated video viewed 22,000 times, @stoneypnw provided additional context for her firing, saying that her employer had tried to roll back her weekly hours a month ago, and that she was adamant about working 40 hours per week.

The TikTok creator also said she believes she was fired not because of unhappiness, but because of a struggling recreational vehicle industry.

"I felt like it was bound to happen due to other employees being fired, but they didn't have any discussion with me about performance or attitude issues," @stoneypnw told Newsweek.

"They had cut my retiring coworkers' hours and warehouse hours," she added. "Word was going around [that] it was slowing down."

Fired employee carrying things out of office
Fired employee carrying things out of office. TikTok users rallied behind one recently fired employee who said she was let go for being unhappy. monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Throughout the comment section of the viral video, many TikTok users showed support for @stoneypnw and questioned the legitimacy of the claims of unhappiness made against her.

"That's code for 'you complain about accurate things too much,'" @Tyrilean wrote, receiving nearly 1,300 likes.

"This is the corporate version of 'smile more,'" @beebeemmb added.

TikTok user @mhm.agency, who said they experienced an identical situation, advised @stoneypnw to seek legal counsel.

"[I] was once fired for the same reason and ended up winning a lawsuit against them for unfair dismissal," they commented, receiving more than 3,000 likes. "Go call a lawyer."

In a separate comment, which has received nearly 1,400 likes, @raymondpirog speculated that the work landscape might look a little different if unhappiness was an accepted reason for being fired.

"If that's the case then they should probably just let everyone go who has a job ever," they wrote.

Have you had a similar workplace dilemma? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.