Requiring workers to be genuinely enthusiastic and fun at all times or risk dismissal opens the employer up to unnecessary and potentially costly legal disputes, including claims for worker’s compensation, bullying and harassment, unlawful discrimination, and unfair dismissal, not to mention increased rates of absenteeism.
Aspirational mission statements or values within a workplace are important and valuable. But when they are presented as or intended to be enforceable job requirements, problems arise. For example, if an aspirational mission statement like “keeping it real” and always being happy is presented as a formal policy, then it may be perfectly reasonable for an employee to advise that they are unfit for work on any day that life was just getting them down and they couldn’t bring themselves to be happy.
More seriously, the employer may be found to be unlawfully discriminating against any employee who is medically depressed. The Fair Work Commission has the power to find that any unreasonable performance management action amounts to bullying in the workplace. Workers’ compensation claims may arise if workers suffer anxiety related illnesses in fear of losing their job because they cannot be constantly genuinely enthusiastic.
Having said all that, while an employer can’t dismiss someone for failing to be fun, the time to work out whether the person will live up to your aspirations is in the recruitment and selection process.