|This Oklahoma t-shirt is probably not work-appropriate either.|
Every work place environment has a certain dress code. If you work in an office you may be expected to wear a buttoned-shirt and tie with khakis or good work pants. Or maybe you work in retail and have a shirt handed to you so you and your retail team stand out to your customers. Other jobs have a much more lenient dress code, including those who work in home repairs and renovations. The job can get dirty at times, so why would you want to be dressing up for the job? Even then it is wise to be mindful of what you are wearing in another person's home.
That appears to be a mistake Brent Loveland in 2011 while working on a construction job at the home of Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. Loveland claims he was fired for wearing a t-shirt in support of Gundy's main rival, the Oklahoma Sooners, and he is taking the matter to court starting on Monday. This story has been out there for a while but finally moves to court on Monday.
According to FOX Sports Southwest;
Loveland, who was hired to do trim installation in March of 2011 at Gundy's home, filed the suit in August of 2011 after Gundy allegedly approached Loveland on the first day on the job saying, "How dare you come into my house and offend my wife?" Loveland then asked what Gundy was referring to and Gundy responded, "That (expletive deleted) shirt you have on."
The story also goes on to say Loveland claims to have gotten dressed in the dark that morning and was unaware of what shirt he was wearing. Whether you believe that or not is not really relevant to the bigger issue here. Maybe the cover is exaggerated and perhaps Loveland did plan to wear the shirt hoping to get a rise out of his new client. This just seems like a match you do not want to light.
Given what is in the brief report, here are some quick thoughts and reactions I happened to have…
1. I try to never put myself in a position of someone else to determine what is offensive and what is not, but how offensive could an Oklahoma t-shirt really be? Unless it was aimed directly at Gundy (or his wife), I have a hard time seeing how offensive this could really be, unless there is something I'm just oblivious too as it refers to Gundy's wife and the Sooners. This is the part of the story I find to be the most skeptical, but I was not there so for now I'll have to just see how it holds up in court. It seems to be a he-said-she-said situation.
2. How do you not realize what shirt you are wearing by the time you leave for work? I get the part about getting dressed in the dark, that happens. But at some point before leaving your home, don't you have at least a little bit of light? Most people probably at least get a chance to glance in a mirror. It is hard to believe Loveland did not realize what shirt he was wearing before arriving at the Gundy home.
3. If you were going to wear a t-shirt of a rival school to a job like this, you better be darn sure the guy who hired you can take a joke. Gundy doesn't seem like that kind of guy. Sure, he can bust a move, but I don't really see Gundy as a guy who can crack a smile over something as trivial as a t-shirt.
4. Much like wearing a New York Giants jersey to a Philadelphia Eagles home game, wearing a t-shirt of your customer's biggest rival while on the job in his home is probably not the smartest of decisions.
Loveland's lawsuit is seeking $10,000 in damages. At this point I'll turn it over to our legal experts out there to suggest whether or not he has a case given what we know. Leave your thoughts in the comments.