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UK Executive 'Forced Out of Job' For Posting CV Online

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the hr-dept-on-patrol dept.

Social Networks 219

First time accepted submitter sweetpea86 writes "An executive who uploaded his CV to LinkedIn was forced to quit his job because he ticked a box stating he was interested in 'career opportunities'. John Flexman is demanding hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation from his former employer, gas exploration firm BG Group, where he earned £68,000 pounds a year as a Graduate and Development Manager. He is thought to be the first person in the UK to bring a case for constructive dismissal. The case highlights a grey area around employees' use of social networks such as LinkedIn. According to Kate Hodgkiss, Partner at law firm DLA Piper, employers have every right to seek to protect confidential company information by restricting LinkedIn and other profiles, but cannot prevent employees from looking for a new job. The news echoes a report in December that a Californian Twitter user was being sued for $340,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs. PhoneDog launched legal proceedings against Noah Kravitz, seeking damages of $2.50 a month per follower for eight months."

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219 comments

First Forced Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38599888)

Yeah, I forced it!

Over-reaching (5, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599910)

If employers can post openings for your position on job sites, you can certainly check a box indicating general interest in careers-at-large.

Re:Over-reaching (5, Insightful)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600020)

I can be "interested" in something like Career Opportunities without having a dissatisfaction with my current job, or a desire to leave.

Frankly, I find a lot of things interesting.
The idea that such an interest could get me fired is very disconcerting.

Re:Over-reaching (4, Insightful)

mvar (1386987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600178)

You can be interested in career opportunities like for example as a consultant or part time partner..Who the fuck are they to say what you can and can't do in your spare time anyway? There's either a very misleading article summary here or a very very stupid employer. If its the latter, then what's up next? 24/7/365 surveillance of their employees? I hope he wins this case.

Re:Over-reaching (5, Interesting)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601722)

Many salaried positions actually forbid you from engaging in other work without the company's permission. The idea is that if you are being paid salary, you are on the clock 24/7, so technically you shouldn't be working for anyone else.

(My employer has no such policy, fortunately. But my previous one did.)

Re:Over-reaching (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601914)

The idea is that if you are being paid salary, you are on the clock 24/7, so technically you shouldn't be working for anyone else.

Many employers illegally place people on salary. Each state is different, but in California you can't legally be an FLSA-exempt employee unless you actually supervise people and DO NOT engage in the same work as those you supervise (there are some very limited exceptions). To qualify as supervising you need to have real power to effect promotions and dismissals. If that doesn't apply to you and you're salaried in California, your employer is likely breaking the law and owes you a lot of overtime. There is a flip-side to salaried positions that employers rarely think about, and that's that they cannot require a certain number of hours from salaried employees. If you're salaried you can come in at 8 and leave at 8:15 without any reduction in your pay.

Re:Over-reaching (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602034)

What you said is true, however there's a flip side to it: if you aren't putting in so many hours, and you work in an at-will state, the employer can simply terminate you.

So, while they can't legally require you to work n hours per week, if you consistently fail to do so they will just fire you. You can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, as long as they don't say it's for one of the handful of forbidden reasons (race, gender, etc.)

Re:Over-reaching (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602758)

Lol, ever read that one article about IT consulting sites monitoring employees via the webcam?

Ever meet a CEO dude? Your typical one is an arrogant, selfish, willing to jump over anybody kind of bastard. One thing I'm thankful for after working w a few is there's BIGGER things in life than money, and these people only care about that one small thing.

There is no limit to what they would do as long as they can legally get away w it, ethics are secondary to money in the ceo archetype.

The article's case sounds like a bad decision by HR, like they wanted to fire his ass, but needed a reason, so they took one without thinking and now boom, slashdotted.

Executive's job search could be construed harmful (4, Insightful)

prakslash (681585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600362)

To play devil's advocate, the employer could claim that the very fact that an important executive was looking to leave could give the impression to outsiders that something bad was going on in the company and that could result in a loss to their business. Perhaps his interest in leaving this company turned away some of the customers or investors or lowered other employees' morale.

Remember when Steve Jobs was doing nothing more than going on a medical leave, it adversely affected Apple's stock price. Of course the company is this case would have to PROVE that suffered or stood to suffer a loss.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600430)

True, the damage such a signal could do to the firm would depend on both the individual's position and the degree of reliance others would feel they could put on it to assess conditions at the firm.

As it happens, as a long-time Linkedin user it's something like 80% of all people who have this box ticked. It starts out ticked by default, I believe. So the degree of reliance as an indicator should be very low.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (4, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600510)

Except the BG Group's stock price has actually continued an upward trend since before Mr. Flexman was "forced to quit", and has actually risen by $100 / share in the past 5 days.

Yahoo Finance - BG Group [yahoo.com]

Seems as though they would have a hard time proving that Mr. Flexman leaving has negatively impacted them. Sure there are additional considerations, including the obvious Streisand effect that could have led to this change, but it is obvious that they did not see a mass exodus or a decrease on brand confidence with their investors.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601196)

Of course this makes it easier for them to state that having him there was a detriment to their company. :)

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602858)

FYI - The LSE stock markets show values in pence. It's only gone up by about one pound.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600540)

That would only have merit if there is any way they could prove that people that tick that box on twitter statistically are actually more interested in leaving their company than people that don't tick it. Also, even if they would be interested, would they actually leave? Until they come up with statistics that actually prove that sort of correlation, there is no way to prove that him ticking that box would in any form or way damage his employer.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600586)

I'll go you a step further. He may have done this via a company computer, thus violating the company's AUP.

I think it's stupid, too, but that's the devil's advocate position.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (3, Interesting)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600622)

First off, when an rank and file employee doesn't show up for work, investors don't care. When Founders, and Chief of-what-ever's don't show up for work, the rules change. Investors vote by shorting their stock. It causes the "wealth cream-skimmer types" to take notice; examples are Boards of Directors, and CEO's along with their attentive minions.

I don't know that much about UK Employment Law, but I'm on the receiving end of US Employment Law. Given that Noah Kravitz has a fairly competent lawyer, PhoneDog will get to pay for this waste of the Courts time. This is just harassment of an ex-employee by a corporation that has to pay for some large egos that are clueless about increasing revenues.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600896)

In a company like BG on £68k/annum he's not an important executive. Having worked for them for several years (but not since 2002) I know from the pay/job title that he's upper middle management. Also when it comes to customers then BG isn't a typical corporation. They have a monopoly on the UK's gas/electric infrastructure although they do also work with other firms in projects for things like natural gas exploration. I'd be amazed if this isn't about managment cliques, he wasn't popular with one, they went digging for dirt, they found his profile, and they've tried to use that to shaft him. With any luck it's about to backfire quite spectacularly.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602894)

... I'd be amazed if this isn't about managment cliques, he wasn't popular with one, they went digging for dirt, they found his profile, and they've tried to use that to shaft him. With any luck it's about to backfire quite spectacularly.

That would be my guess too. Back in the old days when I used to be an employee, starting a couple of weeks before my review day, I'd show up for work late, wearing a suit. People would jokingly ask "how was the interview?" and I'd reply with a serious face "pretty good, interesting company." Apparently I had one of the highest salaries among my peers, go figure.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601346)

You know there is more to life than only the employers point of view.

Employment is a 2-way street for both parties. Good employees bend over backwards for their employers and realize that their own needs do not matter to the employer and that its needs need to be addressed. Likewise a good employer realized employees have lives outside of work and that good talent needs a reason to stay loyal and will treat him/her with respect.

When one party only cares for itself that is when you have problems. Employers got a free ride from 2008 - 2011 and liked it. We got a free ried from 1998 - 2001. A correction is needed and employers need to stop whinning when they are the ones who advertise at-will-employment in their job postings who overwork, never give vacations, expect 70 hours a week, underpay, and all of the sudden act shock that employees are begining to look elsewhere as market conditions improve. Shocked! Well some programmers who wanted 90,000 a year and called in sick once a month got shafted too after 9-11!

Seems only fair that a good balance is needed. Employers need to stop thinking only of themselves and plan for things like this. Executives leaving is part of the job as they would not hesistate to fire an underperforming one themselves.

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601540)

The problem with that argument is that he isn't being paid 'vital for the company' money. According to http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/ [itjobswatch.co.uk] , that salary is about average for "Architect" / "Senior Developer" positions. The key being average. If this guy is so vital to the company, either in an executive or technical capacity, they need to be paying a _lot_ more. For example, the top 10% of "[Java] Architect" makes over £95,000/yr.

So I have a very hard time believing that he was some vital member of the company if his wage was average for a non-vital position. Hell, if he was simply good at his job the company isn't paying enough (probably; I don't know what the duties of that position are) to even dissuade the occasional unsolicited head hunter. (However, I would say that I don't suspect that is the case... You don't fire someone over a triviality like this unless they aren't quite replaceable, even to the point where it's more like an excuse for finally kicking them out.)

Re:Executive's job search could be construed harmf (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602212)

> To play devil's advocate, the employer could claim that the very
> fact that an important executive was looking to leave could give
> the impression to outsiders that something bad was going on in
> the company and that could result in a loss to their business.

There's an old saying that everything is for sale. I am not trying to sell my house, but if someone walked up to me on the street and offered me $1,000,000 for it, the next words out of my mouth would be "Great! I'll tell my wife we're moving."

In that sense, damn near everyone is willing to look at new career opportunities. You'd be stupid not to. No one should read that much into it. The CEO could be getting $20 million a year, but if another company walked up with an offer of $50 million, damn right he'd be "interested".

Re:Over-reaching (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601834)

Actually mine was checked but it was a hold over from before I had my current job. I don't know if it was on by default or not, but I definitely forgot to turn it off. Eventually I did after a week of getting recruiter calls and emails.

Re:Over-reaching (4, Insightful)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600038)

Yeah I agree. Why is it okay for employers to post a job listing, when they know they're going to remove you from your position, and yet it's not okay the other way around? Foul play.

You should be able to quit on the spot with whatever termination package you were entitled to in the first place or lay off status.

Re:Over-reaching (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600192)

CVs are not Resumes. They're far more detailed in the UK. Unless we know what his CV contained, we can't tell whether there was something considered confidential by the company. If he mentioned projects he'd worked on, where and what date, which is the kind of level a CV will contain, he could inadvertently be giving out information rival companies would love to have.

Using a recruitment agency would strip out certain items before forwarding on CVs.

Gas exploration sounds like he may have made a boo-boo, if he was involved with the research. If he was a sysadmin, I doubt the same company would care one iota. Giving away info on how he saved staff attrition publicly exposes internals about the company. Not a good idea.

This aside, he claims he was forced to quit, which simply doesn't happen in the UK, it's illegal. He could have been fired, made redundant, or made a very large "fuck off right now" offer.

Re:Over-reaching (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600536)

This aside, he claims he was forced to quit, which simply doesn't happen in the UK, it's illegal.

Oh, it's illegal? Well then obviously it never happens. Like when they banned drugs in the US and everybody immediately stopped using drugs forever! I sure wish they'd get around to making murder illegal though.

Re:Over-reaching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600840)

I always mention my projects + summary of my role in them when I submit my resume. I have to convince prospective employers that I haven't been sitting at my current job with a thumb up my ass the entire time.

My NDA does not prevent me from disclosing what I'm working on, it just prevents me from disclosing the actual intellectual property (i.e. technical documents, engineering specs, source code, etc.). These are generally things covered under our legal definition of trade secrets anyway.

Maybe his company's NDA goes much further, but they're kidding themselves if they think employees are going to keep a secret on what they're working on like that.

Re:Over-reaching (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601554)

Generally executives in the US are "made to quit." They aren't literally forced to quit, but it is made clear to them that they will be fired if they don't and that their golden parachute would only be there if they "quit."

As for the matter at hand, is the UK not at will employment typically? Around here they can fire employees for any reason or no reason provided that the reason isn't included on the short list of reasons that an employer isn't allowed to use. Posting a resume of that sort definitely wouldn't be prohibited in the US.

This is the UK, but I have a hard time believing that it's that much different in this case than it is here.

Re:Over-reaching (1)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602170)

As for the matter at hand, is the UK not at will employment typically?

No.

Re:Over-reaching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602204)

CVs are not Resumes.

The difference is the width of the Atlantic. And maybe the Pacific, who knows what Australians call it? Criminal record, perhaps.

Re:Over-reaching (5, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600308)

And if you see your employer posted your position on a job site, you are free to terminate your employment, are you not?

Re:Over-reaching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600618)

And if you see someone about to shoot you in the face, you are free to shoot yourself in the face, are you not?

Re:Over-reaching (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600684)

In accordance with my contract. Plus, it'd be silly to quit without notice (earning a bad recommendation) based on a job listing. Perhaps they were opening up a new position in the same office, or possibly opening another office. Wouldn't it make more sense for you to ask about it before quitting?

Re:Over-reaching (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601050)

Make sense - sure. Required - absolutely not.

Re:Over-reaching (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601582)

In general yes, but it really depends upon the cause. I walked off the job on a previous site because they weren't paying me all the money they were required to, that didn't hurt me at all finding more work.

Future employers worth working for are going to understand if the company wasn't issuing timely paychecks covering all the hours worked or if there were an excessive number of safety violations. OTOH, walking off the job just because you didn't feel like going any more is probably not going to be well looked upon.

Re:Over-reaching (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601874)

I don't place much stock in good-for-the-gander arguments when it comes to employers vs employees, because it is a false equivalence. Yes, you can imagine an economy of voluntary exchanges among peers, where a farmer pays a neighbor to milk his cows one day, but the neighbor pays the farmer to help him with the harvest the next. But is that representative of the modern economy? No. It is almost always the collective vs. the individual, and those are two different things - a very asymmetric interaction. It is like trying to govern a cell with the same laws as an entire person.

Re:Over-reaching (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602010)

Define your use of the word 'free' here. In this current economy, a company can most likely have your replacement on the job by the end of the week. You, however, may be out of work for a long, long time. It's like saying you're free to walk the plank, but I hope you can swim. And faster than the sharks.

Re:Over-reaching (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600872)

I don't know the details, and if his CV really did contain confidential info, the the employer was correct. If it did not, then I hope he wins the suit. Posting your resume/CV on a networking/career site is not a valid reason for dismissal (or creating a hostile environment such that the employee quits). If that is indeed what happened, make them pay dearly, both as a penalty to BG Group and as a precedent and caution to other employers.

Re:Over-reaching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600892)

Reminds me of an employee at a previous job. He found a posting advertising in his field on a job searching site. Apparently he was thinking about jumping ship and checked it out. It was our company advertising for his position of which there was only one of.

Needless to say he didn't stay too long afterwards and the company was happy to have a more flexible replacement.

On the Twitter thing (2, Funny)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599928)

Duh, they're called followers, they would have went with the author creating the content even if he changed his twitter account.

Re:On the Twitter thing (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600066)

Agreed - Unless the twitter account was under the name of the company. If it's under his personal name E.G "My name is bob, follow me on twitter as bob" shouldn't entitle a company to it.

Just because you use personal accounts to garner additional business for a company doesn't mean they should be entitled to anything you do personally forever and then on to keep the business flowing. That's the same as your skillset, it follows you where you go and companies should consider that when letting you go or if you're quitting.

If anything the company should just be thankful for what you've done so far for them with your personal accounts and be sorry that they lost you as an employee if that was valuable.

Re:On the Twitter thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600572)

As usual, the submitter is an absolute moron. The two cases are not comparable in the least. With the twitter account deal, the moron created an account FOR THE COMPANY, ON COMPANY TIME. There is absolutely no gray room here unless the details actually differ than multiple reports thus far. Meaning, he literally stole company property OR defrauded the company by using personal time on company time while using company property. So either he's a fucktard or a criminal. Pick one. Now having said all that, one way or the other, this has absolutely nothing to do with the CV case, whereby, we don't really seem to even have much in details.

Holy shit the submitter is a moron.

Re:On the Twitter thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601234)

I usually just assume the submitters know these facts (like what you pointed out) and just make the summaries flamebait on purpose for either page hits (the editors often screw with the summaries to do this) or to see the uninformed nerd rage that happens in the comments when people take the summaries as factual.

Re:On the Twitter thing (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601790)

With the twitter account deal, the moron created an account FOR THE COMPANY, ON COMPANY TIME.

In most of the US (the "at will" states), for salaried employees, the idea of "ON COMPANY TIME" simply doesn't exist in a meaningful way - As the flip side of 60 hour weeks, a company can't dock an exempt employee for not putting in X hours a week. They can fire us on a whim, but they can't tie compensation to actual hours worked (if they could, the entire weak excuse for calling an employee "exempt" in the first place, wouldn't really exist).

Now, making a Twitter account "for" the company gets a bit more fuzzy. He didn't make it at the company's request, as part of his expected job duties - He did it of his own volition to help PhoneDog by circumventing their social networking cluelessness. If not for having used their name in the handle, we wouldn't even stop to consider that one as grey area.


Meaning, he literally stole company property OR defrauded the company by using personal time on company time while using company property. So either he's a fucktard or a criminal.

Wow, shill much? You realize that if I sit around all day at work and do nothing but pick my nose (or read and post on Slashdot - Hi there, fellow "thief"!), I haven't "stolen" or "defrauded" or any other wannabe-legalese offenses such that they can do a goddamned thing beyond firing me for not doing my job?


Holy shit the submitter is a moron.

Funny, that glass house looks like it would make a good mirror...

Company name was part of account name (2)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600576)

Agreed - Unless the twitter account was under the name of the company. If it's under his personal name E.G "My name is bob, follow me on twitter as bob" shouldn't entitle a company to it.

In the case in question the guy was hired to do marketing stuff and the company name *was part* of the account. When the company name is "PhoneDog" and the twitter account is something like "PhoneDog_Bob" I think you can make an argument that the account was work related. Given the use of the company name in the account name I think in this case he should create a new personal account, announce it, and expect those only interested in him personally switch. Letting the company keep the old account.

Re:On the Twitter thing (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600410)

Duh, they're called followers, they would have went with the author creating the content even if he changed his twitter account.

Well, its an interesting point there. Some will certainly move. Some won't for a variety of reasons, such as their no longer as interested in the person or topic, and never unfollowed. Some of the twitter accounts are probably abandoned. So there is value in the "inertia" of the existing account, despite the fact that a similar sized fanbase could probably be rebuilt.

If you think about it, if you you sell a professional practice (medical, law, or accounting for example), you sell the list of existing clients. The value in this is inertia. If the original professional sends a letter blessing the new owner, a good portion of those customers will stay put, and therefore its a guarantee of a certain revenue stream and goodwill.

Now, things are complicated. The value of a practices customer base is different to different buyers. If one of the employees in the practice buys the practice, he should be able to retain close to 100% the clients he dealt with personally. A blood relative of the original owner probably will get some loyalty. If a H&R Block bought an accounting sole propietorship, they'd probably expect higher turnover of customers.

A twitter account can be similar. If you are a radio station, and replace your morning show host, it might make sense to keep his twitter account and his followers. Some followers are fans of the station and will listen to the new AM personalities. Of course, if the personality moves stations, and keeps the same time slot, that's not always the case.

Can't prevent employees from job hunting, (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599938)

yet ticking the 'interested in career opportunities' box is a no-no? How would you job hunt if people don't think you're interested in exploring other opportunities?

Re:Can't prevent employees from job hunting, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38599970)

Perhaps you missed the part where that's why he "is demanding hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation from his former employer".

Re:Can't prevent employees from job hunting, (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600386)

that is because hes resigned and claimed unfair dismissal - probably going for a compromise agreement.

Re:Can't prevent employees from job hunting, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600228)

LinkedIn is a networking site as well, not just a job board.

You never say you aren't interested (5, Insightful)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600008)

I have a small network of friends and associates on LinkedIn, they know I am happy where I am at, but I always listen to new opportunities that's how I got where I am. Ususally I will pass on the info to someone else I know that's looking.

However if you never listen to opportunities, people never think of you as someone to talk to about them.

When the time comes that you need a job, your network has withered and you're stuck looking at official postings, half of which are already wired for a certain candidate but have to be announced for legal reasons.

Re:You never say you aren't interested (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601268)

You know. I really wasn't expecting to find anything useful in this article. I was really hoping for a big of premium snark, maybe a flame war. But that right there is damned good advice and has kind of turned on a light bulb in my head. I didn't realize I was sabotaging myself in that manner, but it does make sense. Thanks for posting it.

They were stupid to state the cause (3, Interesting)

sinij (911942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600044)

This kind of discrimination always existed, the news is that company in question actually admitted it as a dismissal cause, instead of the usual 'performance' cause.

they didnt Re:They were stupid to state the cause (3, Insightful)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600434)

no He is claiming constructive dismissal they didn't fire him he is claiming they forced him to resign (there is no cap for constructive dismissal as opposed to a bog standard unfair dismissal.

"Career Opportunities" (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600056)

Could have been within the company too.

You know what's also a career opportunity? (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600072)

1. Getting contacted by an executive at another company for a joint venture.
2. Getting a new degree.
3. Getting contacted by an investor.

This is as ridiculous as firing someone for racism because they put "enjoys participating Civil War reenactments" on their Facebook page.

Re:You know what's also a career opportunity? (2)

jkiller (1030766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600264)

But what if they're fighting for the North?

Re:You know what's also a career opportunity? (2)

Andraax (87926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600790)

But what if they're fighting for the North?

Of course they're fighting for the north if they word it that way. Someone fighting for the south would say "enjoys reenacting the War of Northern Aggression"... ;-)

Re:You know what's also a career opportunity? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602012)

What has North or South got to do with Roundheads vs. Cavaliers?

Re:You know what's also a career opportunity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600532)

This is as ridiculous as firing someone for racism because they put "enjoys participating Civil War reenactments" on their Facebook page.

Watch what you say or people might mistake yoll for a Damn Yankee.

Re:You know what's also a career opportunity? (1)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601638)

I wasn't aware the Sealed Knot were racist...

Oh, that Civil War!

Definitely not first case... (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600122)

Re:Definitely not first case... (2)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601004)

Also, the reason cases are so uncommon is because most companies know full well when they're in the wrong, and just settle the case.

People getting some kind of payout over a company accepting or being found guilty of constructive dismissal isn't as uncommon as the headline might make it seem with it's suggestion this is the first ever UK constructive dismissal case.

Re:Definitely not first case... (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601354)

That's clearly a slip of the mind coupled with bad editing. The intention must have been to say that it's possibly the first constructive dismissal case related to Linked In.

Betty Crocker (3, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600230)

sued for $340,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs.

Then the company is too stupid to survive.

This is happened over and over with celebrity chefs. Smart companies create a fictitious character, then promote that, not a real person.

If you have to use a real person, get a multi-year agreement that specifies what you get in return for royalities. Yes, you will still have to keep paying them after they leave, but you can continue to use their image/persona.

FYI, CV==curriculum vitae (3, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600258)

It's similar to a resume. (I had to google the acronym to figure out what this Slashdot topic was about.)

Re:FYI, CV==curriculum vitae (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600328)

So you're a teenager?

Re:FYI, CV==curriculum vitae (2, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600412)

So you're a teenager?

Not everyone has experience hiring or seeking jobs in international markets. In some parts of the world, such as Canada and the US, the term resume is used to the exclusion of CV, in other parts of the world (e.g. the UK) it's the other way around. Plenty of people working and living in one market will not have heard or recognize the term used in the other. Particularly if they are not in management or HR.

Re:FYI, CV==curriculum vitae (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600832)

So you're a teenager?

Not everyone has experience hiring or seeking jobs in international markets. In some parts of the world, such as Canada and the US, the term resume is used to the exclusion of CV, in other parts of the world (e.g. the UK) it's the other way around. Plenty of people working and living in one market will not have heard or recognize the term used in the other. Particularly if they are not in management or HR.

Yup; I myself was wondering how one posts Constant Velocity joints on a website...

Re:FYI, CV==curriculum vitae (3, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601600)

In some parts of the world, such as Canada and the US, the term resume is used to the exclusion of CV

Actually, CV is used almost exclusively in academia in the U.S. If you apply for a serious academic position, they will ask for a CV, not a resume. They're actually different things, with different formatting. Having worked in both private industry and academia, I have both. For example, my CV has sections for things like academic articles and papers that you won't find on my resume.

Re:FYI, CV==curriculum vitae (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601964)

So, in the private sector, it is used to the exclusion of CV. Since only certain people are interested in public sector jobs, the rest of us here who prefer to work for "normal" jobs would have no clue about the term.

Personally, I didn't know about it until a few years ago when I came across it on an international posting and asked the wife. She didn't know either, except to say that in latin it meant a description of one's life. And that's when it clicked as to what it meant.

Re:FYI, CV==curriculum vitae (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601976)

Is this a serious comment? I'm pretty sure my 12 year old nephew knows what a CV is.

One with without merit, one with merit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600280)

For the BG executive, dismissal is without merit, and does not seem ultimately related to the checked box on "interested in career opportunities". Seemed more like some political pissing contest gone badly. For PhoneDog, if the guy got the followers from leveraging his position at the past company, which it seemed like he did, then he mixed business with personal. If that were the case, a business should be entitled to the proceeds generated from the intentional or unintentional use of their property for personal purposes.

Re:One with without merit, one with merit (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600962)

Actually, it there is no explicit fine print in his contract, stating that all the twitter followers should stay in the company, then there is simply no case.

Executive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600290)

Sounds more like low level management than an "executive".

Re:Executive? (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600464)

£70 K a year is 3X the median salary in the UK also his title is "Manager"

Re:Executive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600516)

$1.55 US ~ GBP 1.00 So, a 66, 000 pounds salary is six-figures to a US employee. Where do you work that this is "low level" pay?

Re:Executive? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601182)

Still one has the right to look.

Employers are such hypocrites. You can't have a work at will clause and brag that is is essential to the relationship, then cry and get all fussy when an employee does the same thing and looks for better opportunities.

I think that should be illegal to retailate if you are unfortunate enough to be stuck in a at-will employment situation. As economic conditions improve outside of Europe more and more employees who have been underpaid, overworked, and treated due to at-will employment in the great recession will start to leave in large masses from 2012 - 2016 according to experts. Couldn't happen to nicer companies and yes they deserve to have their employees look elsewhere as employment really is a 2-way street and not one sided.

During work hours (2)

CBung (1572609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600414)

I wonder if they'll go as far as trying to find out if he posted it while at work, and how much that might matter.

My .02 (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600424)

It was kind of a low thing to do to terminate someone for using linkedin to look for other jobs. If they could prove that he was doing it on company time, that is a entirely different thing but if he was at home or on his own time and resources it is low.

Assumption (0)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600494)

Employers must always assume that, any day, one of their employees will show up and announce their two-week notice. It's one of the risks of being in business and having employees at all.

On the flip side, they generally can fire their employees at will, too, so it's not entirely one-sided.

Re:Assumption (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601396)

Which part of "UK" in the title didn't you understand? EU legislation on employment contracts is rather different to anything you'll find in the US.

Re:Assumption (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602000)

Even in the UK, you are entitled to leave your job anytime you wish as well. Anything else is slavery, which hasn't been recognized as legal in the UK for well over 400 years (in some parts, as much as 900 years).

Employer motivation for firing "job seekers"? (4, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600588)

I, like many people, treat the "you could get fired if your boss thinks you're looking for another job" as kind of axiomatic, but what's the employer motivation for this?

I'll exclude poor performance, where the employee basically comes in and does nothing but use the company PC to create resumes and cover letters, faxes them with the company fax machine and then goes home, his current job's work undone, mainly because that's being fired for poor performance, the cause of the poor performance is immaterial.

"Because I have to hire a new employee" -- OK, you just *fired* your current employee, you're going to hire someone else anyway, and with zero cooperation from the existing employee who is now job hunting AND doing it while enjoying unemployment benefits because "looking for a job" isn't termination for cause.

"I don't want them to take my secrets/customers" -- the good ones already have your secrets, customer lists, etc. Firing them now gives them moral justification to utilize these in their new job.

I'm lost on where it benefits the employer other than vague claims of weak performance (working well enough not to be reprimanded but not at peak output) or nearly unmeasurable claims of impacting morale.

About the only rationale that seems to make any sense is pure spite -- the employer is pissed that a good employee (high output at sub-market wages) has to be replaced with one with unknown or only average output at market prices, and firing the employee is a good way to sow chaos in their life and possibly make their new job search more complicated.

Re:Employer motivation for firing "job seekers"? (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601128)

Employers who treat employees like shit want to keep them in line. THey do not want to train someone else or have you leave before they can find someone else to do your job.

Also since the economy is recovering you are getting mroe and more bargaining power month by month to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Same is true with replacements. If you had to take a job in 2009 for 40% less than your networth it means your employer has to pay market wages for your replacement when you leave. That would be terrible and would hurt your employers bottom line.

They want someone to do 2x the amount of work for 1/2 the price, never train, and always have work just get completed etc.

I predicted this in 2009 with employers who are stingy are going to get screwed over back by their employees in 2012 - 2016 when their workforce quits in mass. The money saved will be lost. These are all the reasons why employers do not like employees who leave, but yeah it is work at will for them to fire whenever they like etc.

Re:Employer motivation for firing "job seekers"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601204)

My last employer was one I believed would possibly fire me if they had known I was looking. It was pure ego on his part. He did take far too many things personally, basically anything that he felt said he wasn't awesome. It wasn't without cause I believed he was capable of this. One employee had got married and they moved a little closer to his job. This employee did not really want to leave but the drive to work was a little on the long side. They asked their manager if they could move to 4x10 days instead of 5x8. When the business owner heard this, he ran across (yes, literally) the production floor and fired her on the spot.

Someone leaving can make others staying think about finding better pastures, firing them puts the fear of god in those remaining and keeps the ego of the employer or manager intact.

Re:Employer motivation for firing "job seekers"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601312)

You're missing one: "To send a message to other employees."

I think the idea may be to keep others from shopping around for better pay or benefits. Many bad bosses don't want to pay the market rate for their employees.

Re:Employer motivation for firing "job seekers"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601358)

About the only rationale that seems to make any sense is pure spite -- the employer is pissed that a good employee (high output at sub-market wages) has to be replaced with one with unknown or only average output at market prices, and firing the employee is a good way to sow chaos in their life and possibly make their new job search more complicated.

This.

This is exactly what happened to my wife 6 months ago at a corporate firm. Her boss (President and COO) was a disgusting person -- an aside as proof: she openly used Fabreeze as armpit deodorant in the office and once asked my wife if making the receptionist smell her pits would be crossing a line (and yes, this WAS a serious question) -- ... Anyway, my wife files for unemployment and finds a new job in our down economy within 2 weeks. Not only that, but her new position is a step up with growth opportunities AND at a non-profit whose organization goes to great lengths to ensure an extremely positive work environment and work/life balance — the complete opposite of her former employer.

Moral of the story: Employees with skills should tell asshole employers to go fuck themselves. It took my wife over a year of "job seeking" on the down-low without much success. When she gets terminated (we're speculating - but we believe accurately - that they discovered she was seeking as her industry is small and well connected in our area), she scores her dream job in a matter of weeks (fully paid weeks). Employees have far more power than they think they do and need to stand up for their rights.

Icing on the cake: Even though she was terminated and her boss was obviously hoping to make her life difficult... she landed a better job with better benefits in a very short amount of time. Eat that stinky boss bitch!

Re:Employer motivation for firing "job seekers"? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602162)

In the UK, just cause is required to terminate any employee after their probationary period, and "looking for another job" is not considered just cause according to UK employment law.

Strong advocates of at-will employment might feel that such policies can saddle companies unnecessarily with incompetent workers. This is a non-issue, however, since poor performance *is* considered a perfectly just cause for termination, as long as the applicable paperwork has been done to confirm this is actually the case.

great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600708)

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not an executive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38600990)

I don't think this guy was an executive. His title was "Graduate and Development Manager" according to the summary, and he only made 68K (in pounds, so in dollars it's something like 130K). Hell, I make that much as an individual contributor. I've seen salary lists at places I've worked and interviewed at, and executives make 5 to 10 times what I make. Even directors make twice what I do, if the company has managers, directors, VPs, CxOs.

I'm the CEO of my household. Actually I'm VP and CTO. My wife is CFO, CEO.

Re:not an executive (1)

Archtech (159117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601166)

...he only made 68K (in pounds, so in dollars it's something like 130K).

Actually, it's just over $105K.

Re:not an executive (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601682)

Who cares who he was. Even a janitor should have the right to seek elsewhere and not have the employer cry when employment is a 2 way street.

Sorry but most of you are out to lunch (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601054)

I think "executives" should be held up to a higher standard of values then "regular" employees. An executive that advertises they are looking for work is showing no commitment or respect for his/her current employer. An executive is paid a lot of money to run a company and keep it successful and to keep moral high, if they are unable to recognize the error of looking for job opportunities online, the effect it has on the moral of the company, then it is not acceptable for them to maintain an executive position, period.

Had this been an article about a regular Joe employee being fired for posting a CV online then I would be outraged, but an executive should be more discreet in searching for new work as they are getting paid a lot of money to protect the interests of the company that is employing them.

Most of you are applying moral outrage extrapolating the idea that you could be fired if you look for work online, however you are not paid hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for the sole purpose to aid in RUNNING a company. An executive has significantly more responsibilities at a company then showing up and punching a keyboard for 8 hours a day. Executive != keyboard jockey.

I fully agree that this company had a right to fire this "executive" and think the guy that got fired deserves the results for not being more clever and discreet if they are unhappy with their current employer.

Re:Sorry but most of you are out to lunch (1)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601732)

You are (incorrectly) assuming that ticking any of those boxes on LinkedIn actually means something for people. Basically, I always have all of them ticked, regardless of what I'm looking for: just send me the mails, I can decide for myself what I want to do with them thank-you-very-much. Because even when *I* am not looking, someone I know in my circle of friends may be looking for something just like it.

What is an executive? (1)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602818)

I think "executives" should be held up to a higher standard of values then "regular" employees. An executive that advertises they are looking for work is showing no commitment or respect for his/her current employer. An executive is paid a lot of money to run a company and keep it successful and to keep moral high, if they are unable to recognize the error of looking for job opportunities online, the effect it has on the moral of the company, then it is not acceptable for them to maintain an executive position, period.

Had this been an article about a regular Joe employee being fired for posting a CV online then I would be outraged, but an executive should be more discreet in searching for new work as they are getting paid a lot of money to protect the interests of the company that is employing them.

Although the article refereed to Mr Flexman as an "executive", he was not the CEO. He wasn't even a VP. His title was "Graduate and Development Manager". This puts him in a gray area. He was not a "keyboard jocky" he wasn't the identifiable face of the corporation, either. Your assertion that the top levels should be held to a higher standard is valid but I don't "executive" is the grade anyway. The distinction should be made at "officer". Officers already have different legal obligations that regular employees. If are not on the board of directors than you are just an employee and the standard rules should apply.

mod 3o3n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601318)

OS. Now BSDI is When I stood for [idge.net] BSD has always I sse the same fucking surprise,

I don't like LinkedIn (2, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602188)

I have never gotten any pussy off that website, so I classify it is totally useless.
 

More information (2)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602276)

Invariably in these situations, there is more to be found if you scratch the surface a bit.

Perhaps he was sleeping with the boss's wife. Perhaps he's an obnoxious, abrasive prat. The fact that he's suing (instead of just moving on) suggests as much.

The lawsuit eventuated because they used an inappropriate dialog in getting rid of him. Ironically, if he had just taken it on the chin and moved on, his career would not have been significantly impacted. The fact that he is suing has ended his career.

Karma's a bitch like that sometimes.

The ironing is delicious (4, Informative)

TankSpanker04 (1266400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602504)

FTFA: "BG Group ... accused him of including confidential information in his CV, such as details about how he had reduced the firm's rate of staff attrition." His dedication to this goal only went so far, apparently.

Well duh (0)

RichMeatyTaste (519596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602842)

I unchecked that box the minute I got the job I really wanted; I wanted to be clear that I was going somewhere I wanted to stay. The reality is that if you have skills/experience a company really wants they will call you regardless of what a "check box" says. Even with that box checked I get a call to my desk at work at least once a month (people who take the time to look up the office number and navigate the dial by name directory) as well as an e-mail a week or so.
It is safe to assume that this isn't the only company that would notice such a thing, so if in doubt uncheck the box on your own LI profile.
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