Video: Foxconn tycoon fires 2 workers who swore at him for interrupting smoke break

PHOTO: Video screengrabs

When your boss reminds you not to break the rules, you jolly well listen to him or face the consequences.

This is the lesson two Foxconn Technology Group employees learned after encountering their boss, billionaire Terry Gou, in a non-smoking area at the workplace.

The Taiwanese tycoon had told the two employees to put out their cigarettes as they were smoking in a non-smoking zone. The workers, not recognising Gou, responded with foul language and told him it was none of his business.

In a video since uploaded online, Gou can be seen angrily telling the workers that his company does not need such employees.

Gou, who founded Foxconn, has an estimated net worth of about $8.5 billion. His company has about one million employees, and manufactures electrical components for various tech giants including Apple, BlackBerry, Sony and Microsoft.

Since the video was uploaded, many netizens have criticised Gou for treating the worker badly.

However, many have also voiced their support. One article in the Qianjiang Evening News said:

"Gou would not have expected his video of the incident to have aroused such ire directed at him online.

"People have been quick to scold him for being rude to his worker.

"Some of them have even linked the incident with the past suicides of a dozen or so Foxconn workers due to the heavy pressure they felt and claimed such pressure was the reason the man was smoking.

"It is true that many workers are under heavy pressure and the suicides at the company are still in people's memories.

"However, nothing can justify a person's smoking in a non-smoking area and saying rude words to a person, particularly a senior citizen, who asks the smoker to stop.

"Not only is such smoking against the law, smoking in designated non-smoking areas poses fire risks.

"The worker has violated the rules and further he insulted a man much older than him; thus he deserves punishment. Of course, the worker has rights, but also obligations as well.

"The wave of criticism directed at Gou also reveals a problem with domestic online forums. When disputes happen and become material for public discussion, it has increasingly become a new kind of political correctness to side with the 'weaker' party regardless of who is to blame.

"When a manager quarrels with a worker, people blame the manager; when an ordinary resident has a dispute with a government official, it is the official who is always in the wrong. However, such a mentality won't promote justice, because it does not pay any obedience to the rules.

"If Chinese workers hold such a mentality, it will curb China's manufacturing industry from turning high-tech. If most residents hold such a mentality they won't build a civil society.

"It is necessary to promote social justice and strengthen civil awareness so as to curb the further spreading of such a mentality. Residents need to develop a better awareness of the rule of law and of respect for others."

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