The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports on a rather shocking story with some relevance to us baseball fans. Four middle-management employees were terminated from their positions at Fidelity Investments’ Westlake, Texas office because they were in a fantasy football league.
Some points need to be clarified:
1. The specified reason these four men were fired was that they violated the company’s gambling policy.
2, Cameron Pettigrew, the main point person of the fantasy league who has worked for Fidelity for over 2 years, says the league was careful about not using company email to facilitate the fantasy league.
But again, Fidelity’s big beef was the gambling issue.
3. Pettigrew pointed out that the gambling policy was “poorly communicated” to employees. Since management was known to engage in leagues themselves, there seemed to be mixed messages.
4. Most importantly in my mind, there were no warnings given and no less stricter penalties meted out before the four employees were let go.
Pettigrew DID say company resources were not used but Fidelity found out when one employee used a work IM to message someone else and mentioned the league. That’s how they found out about everything.
There are always two sides to every story (let’s face it, I’m sure there was some talk of the league during company time) but still, I’d like to hear Fidelity talk their way out of this one.
Assuming that Fidelity is being sincere and that the true reason for terminating the employees was because of gambling (it IS the Bible Belt, after all), it does seem pretty invasive, heavy handed and uncompromising (most employers I would think would issue a warning to a otherwise productive employee).
What are your thoughts? Does your workplace allow fantasy leagues or “friendly” sports pools of any sort?