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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Zookeeper's `Fear Factor' prank ends in `You're fired'

    Worker jumps into penguin tank; local says termination tied to union activity

    An Akron Zoo employee took a dive in the penguin tank, and now her job is sleeping with the fishes.

    A zoo official said senior zookeeper Tiffany Whipkey's dunk into the penguin tank began with a lunch table discussion about the television show Fear Factor and turned into a bet over whether she would jump into the 16,000-gallon penguin tank.

    The zoo fired Whipkey on March 4, maintaining she ignored zoo policy and put herself and the penguins in danger.

    However, Teamsters Local 507, which is trying to organize zoo employees, said the firing had more to do with Whipkey's union activity than her swim.

    Carl Pecoraro, president of the Cleveland-based local, said the stunt may have warranted discipline, but not firing.

    Local 507 is appealing her firing. Whipkey could not be reached to comment. The 28-year-old had worked at the zoo since May 1999.

    Linda Troutman, vice president of communications for the zoo, said the incident happened about 5 p.m. Feb. 28. At the time, the zoo was closed to the public.

    Troutman said the discussion began at lunch when one employee was eating gummy worms and others began talking about the TV show and some of the items contestants are asked to eat. The talk progressed into the dare, she said.

    A zookeeper who saw the incident told another employee, who later reported it to administrators. They viewed security tapes and were able to see nearly all of the incident, Troutman said.

    http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/8224631.htm

  2. #2
    Good for her!! I'd call that a dedicated zoo keeper! wouldn't most employers call that "hands on experience". Definantly not reason to be fired. a fun dare though.