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Talk about a hostile work environment

A contest offering $10 to guess which of your colleagues will be fired next is a good reason to quit your job, according to a judge in Iowa.

Administrative Law Judge Susan D. Ackerman ruled that Misty Shelsky, who worked at the QC Mart convenience store chain for two years, was eligible for unemployment insurance after quitting her job because her employer held a contest offering $10 to the employee who correctly guessed which colleague would next be fired.

Shelsky quit after receiving a memo that announced: “NEW CONTEST – GUESS THE NEXT CASHIER WHO WILL BE FIRED!!!," according to case records.

In the ruling, the judge called the employers’ actions “egregious and deplorable.”

“The employer’s actions have clearly created a hostile work environment by suggesting its employees turn on each other for a minimal monetary prize. The claimant has established this was an intolerable and detrimental work environment,” Ackerman wrote.

The employer has another chance to appeal the decision, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Workforce Development office said.

William Ernst, who owns the chain, did not immediately respond to two messages from Life Inc. seeking comment.

The Des Moines Register, which first reported the story, said Shelsky was one of several employees who quit after the memo came out.

“It was very degrading,” she told the Des Moines Register. “We looked at that, then looked at each other, and said, ‘OK, we’re done.’”