Florida daycare worker fired for leaving classroom to extinguish nearby fire

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine On

Most of the time people just try to do the "right thing" at their jobs, but what happens when what you think is "common sense" is actually a violation of workplace policy?

That's the situation Florida daycare worker Michelle Hammack found herself in last week. She was fired from her job when she left her classroom of sleeping children to extinguish an oven fire in an adjacent room, reports local news station WTEV-TV.

Hammack was supervising children at Little Temples Childcare in Arlington, when she smelled chicken nuggets burning. She went to the other room to try to put the fire out, but her first attempt was unsuccessful. So she went back to her classroom and gathered her children to take them outside.

Also see: California daycare worker accused of drugging toddlers

"I fired her only because she left her room," Hammack’s employer, Olga Rozhaov, tells the news station. "It's not acceptable, and if anybody else does the same thing, I will fire again. I will fire them. No question."

But what Rozhaov doesn't mention is that Hammack was eventually successful in extinguishing the fire on her second attempt. After her kids were gathered outside, she went back into the school to see if any other kids remained and then put out the fire before the fire department arrived.

Hours later, she was fired from her job. Hammack feels the fire would have become more serious had she not stopped it.

Also see: Teacher sues school after being suspended for showing class gardening tools

Speaking of controversial firings, last year the Iowa Supreme Court approved a dentist's decision to fire his assistant of 10 years because she was “irresistibly” hot. He argued that she posed a threat to his marriage and his self-control.

Similarly, a New York woman was fired from her job last May at a lingerie warehouse because her male employers felt she was "too busty" and "too hot."

What do you think? Was the employer right to fire Hammack?