Amy Farah-Fowler is a brilliant neuroscientist in the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Fans love her for her bluntness, intelligence, and quirky relationship with Sheldon. As a scientist, Amy goes on to win a Nobel Prize in the show.
However, there were some times when Amy wasn’t the best employee. If her employers had known about some of these infractions, she likely would have been fired. Luckily for her, they never found out.
Eating In The Lab
While it isn’t clear whether eating in the lab is forbidden, it does come with a risk and may have got Amy fired. A lab should be a sanitized and quarantined space, not only for the sake of the tests, but for the safety of the people working in the lab. Eating in a working lab is just bad practice.
One example of this is in the episode, “The Alien Parasite Hypothesis.” Sheldon is sharing lunch with Amy in her lab. Viewers see Amy alternate between slicing a test subject’s brain and eating a sandwich, all without taking off her gloves. Fans have to wonder, what is the purpose of the gloves then? In the same episode, Sheldon also mistakes the cadaver brain specimen for his sushimi. This is a hilarious mistake to make in a sitcom, but further shows why labs and food should not mix.
Letting Shelden Cut The Brain
In the episode “The Vacation Solution,” Sheldon has been forced to take a vacation. Full of energy and unsure what to do with himself, he visits Amy in her lab and assumes that he can be of use as a fellow scientist. When Amy directs him to clean out some beakers, he feels that he has been given a task that is beneath him.
Eventually, Amy relents and allows Sheldon to try something that only a skilled biologist should attempt. He tries to cut the brain Amy is studying in the necessary extremely thin slices and ends up instead cutting himself and bleeding on the experiment. Luckily, neither the experiment nor Sheldon appears to suffer too much damage. In other situations, this could have created problems for the experiment or legal issues if the unauthorized visitor was infected with something from the lab.
In the episode “Collaboration Contamination,” Howard visits Amy’s lab and is given a tour of her state-of-the-art machinery. He is impressed and jealous of the tools that she has at her disposal, especially the brand-new expensive coffee maker.
She tells Howard that in her lab expense reports, she put the coffee machine down as her “Colombian lab assistant, Eduardo.” This misuse of funds, while very funny for viewers, could easily have gotten her fired if she was found out. Fraudulent expenses, to a budget committee at least, are no laughing matter.
Bringing A Test Subject Home
In season 4, Amy’s department is working on a nicotine addiction study involving rhesus monkey test subjects. In the episode “The Agreement Dissection,” Sheldon visits Amy’s apartment and is surprised to see a monkey smoking cigarettes. Amy says that she brought “Ricky” the monkey to stay at her home. She further adds, “I’m giving him emphysema, the least I can do is let him hang out and watch cable.”
While Amy’s compassion for her test subject is heartwarming, it is unlikely that her department is aware of this arrangement, and it is definitely not a good career move.
Napping On The Job
In the episode “Retraction Reaction,” in season 11, Amy and Bernadette are enjoying talking to each other about their work and the equipment they get to use. Amy tells Bernadette that she has just been given a new fMRI machine and says, “Sometimes, I just lie down in there and take a nap. It’s like a million-dollar bunk bed.”
While Amy’s employer would likely be upset at their extremely expensive piece of equipment being used this way, they might be even more concerned about her napping on the job. Even if she is salaried and her hours don’t affect her pay, this one is a big no-no. However, this is far from the worst thing a character ever does in the workplace in this show.
Uses Her Lab To Test Herself
In the episode, “The Alien Parasite Hypothesis,” Sheldon and Amy are trying to scientifically determine what made Amy “experience some distressing symptoms” the night before. According to Sheldon, the possible explanations for the symptoms in descending order of likelihood are, “hyperthyroidism, premature menopause, hosting an alien parasite and … sexual arousal.”
In their search for the answer, Amy apparently uses her work laboratory equipment and materials to check her vitals and do a variety of blood tests. In a real lab, this probably wouldn’t be an appropriate use of lab time and equipment.
She Probably “Marked Her Territory”
In the season 6 episode, “The Higgs Boson Operation,” Amy gives Penny advice on how to “mark her territory.” Amy demonstrates this by rubbing Sheldon’s phone under her armpit and licking his stapler. She goes on to say that she has “spread her scent” all over Penny’s apartment.
It seems likely that Amy has gone this elsewhere, and perhaps at work. While perhaps not a fireable offense, licking or otherwise marking her colleague’s or boss’s things would probably be frowned upon.
She Attacks Fellow Scientists At A Work Function
In season 12, Sheldon and Amy have published a paper together on their revolutionary supersymmetry hypothesis. Amy is understandably upset when two physicists who don’t actually understand the supersymmetry theory are nominated for the Nobel Prize, along with her and Sheldon. Their work accidentally proved the theory, so they are riding the coattails of Sheldon and Amy’s brilliant hypothesis.
Amy gets upset and yells that they are frauds and imposters at a university lunch function. She is reprimanded for this later, but could easily have been fired for it. However, her employers understand why she is upset, and support her being nominated for the Nobel Prize.