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Fired for Solitare At Work

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the tough-crowd dept.

Businesses 680

schlick writes "The Associated Press is carrying a story about a NYC employee fired after Mayor Michael Bloomberg noticed a game of solitare on the employee's desktop at work." From the article: "Greenwood, who earned $27,000 a year and had worked in the office for six years, said in a telephone interview that he limited his play time to his one-hour lunch or during quick breaks when he needed a moment of distraction. 'It wasn't like I spent hours and hours a day playing, because I had plenty to do,' Greenwood said. 'If I had been working at something exhaustively for two hours, I might get a cup of coffee and play for a minute but then go right back to my work.'"

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680 comments

If they enforced this (5, Funny)

trickonion (943942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691883)

If they enforced this I think about 99% of the slashdotters would be fire. I know I'd be 0wned

Re:If they enforced this (1)

jigjigga (903943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691915)

I think they would be fired, I hope they dont turn you guys into fire! Oh noes! ;)

Re:If they enforced this (5, Insightful)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691964)

I think you're right. There are a lot of people within the slashdot community which probably would loose their jobs if their Resource Use Agreement was enforced. I know I could end up in hot water one day for it. Thankfully I have an excuse, albeit weak, that I am monitoring IT trends - which loosely couples with my position.

I would personally like to see a study on how many people are compliant with their agreements. From a survey of my cube-buddies; I know we would all fail. At the same time, I don't usually stop for lunch, so I don't see the harm in taking a thought-break - without which, I am sure my productivity would drop.

Terms of use (5, Interesting)

Unknown_monkey (938642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691884)

What was his computer policy at work? If I do it, I'm fired if they want to enforce it.

Re:Terms of use (5, Insightful)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692001)

I'm sure a lot of places of similar policies. To me, though, the disconcerting part of this story isn't that someone got fired for playing solitaire, it's that the mayor came in and fired somebody of whose work performance he was ignorant based on one impression. This guy could have been the most productive person in the building for all the mayor knew. If I was in charge of this employee I would have been seriously pissed if someone came in and decided to fire my employee. It's arrogance and micromanagement taken to an extreme height. On the other hand it appears this guy new the mayor was coming to shake his hand and have a photo taken and left the game up--that's really not so bright.

Re:Terms of use (5, Insightful)

gswallow (115437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692082)

Oh come on.

The frickin' MAYOR is coming to your office. Not of Paducah, KY, but of New York City. He probably hasn't been there for three years. Don't you think you'd better make yourself a little more presentable?

Seriously, who doesn't do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691893)

Why is it that yakking at the water cooler (and disturbing others, thank you very little) is acceptable but playing games on a computer isn't?

Re:Seriously, who doesn't do this? (2, Insightful)

dlasley (221447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691976)

Because all too often the modern workplace focuses more on appearance, propriety, and popularity - and less on true productivity and a healthy, relaxed environment.

I'm just amazed that Bloomberg has managed to completely revitalize the lower east side and stomp out crime in all the boroughs, and now has enough time on his hands to wander around snooping on his staff, looking for the evil sol.exe.

&laz;

Good! (1)

exoir (826214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691895)

Ya right. Thats his side of the story. That was probablily the last straw, you gottaa be a f*up to lose a gov job.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691939)

Perhaps.. But the story seems plausible. Head boss walks past your computer, sees an icon for solitaire, or worse, the game open, and wants who ever's responsible to be "let go". Who the hell's going to argue with that? Seriously?

Re:Good! (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692036)

I think what Bloomberg is saying is you better damn well be sure that you are aware enough of what's going on in your surroundings to not be caught playing solitaire on work time by THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK. What I love is the whole sympathy ploy the article is pushing "employee for six years" "father of a toddler" etc etc etc. And like "but everyone else does it" is really anything approaching an excuse.

Not something to worry about (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691897)

If you can get fired for playing solitaire, then you can (and most likely will) get fired for anything. Some employers randomly fire people. It's unfortunate. Solitaire is just an excuse though. Excuses are easy to find.

Re:Not something to worry about (5, Interesting)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692012)

Most employers also try to fire someone because they aren't liked, or if they are perceved as a liability to the company. And let me explain what that means.

There is a person at a company I work for, that gets the mandatory levels of productivity needed to keep the job. They are also very outspoken about company issues, which disagree with the current practices (union and so on). So every time he gets audited (monthly process) they purposefully find his worst interactions in the hopes that he'll be below standard and they can fire him. Some people didn't believe this so he purposefully made a small mistake in one interaction and wrote down the ID of that interaction. The next month, that was the one audited. This has been shown more than once, and they're just waiting for an "approved" reason to terminate employment.

This kind of discrimination does exist, they just hide it behind protocol and procedure.

Re:Not something to worry about (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692020)

That's a good point. I am pretty sure that if he was a valuable employee, they would just tell him the cut the playing time down. They were going to fire him anyway, and this was just an excuse. A stupid one, I must say. Or it may well be some office politics, he got into somebodys way or something.

So? (2, Insightful)

missing000 (602285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691904)

Really now, don't you know that what you do at work WITH COMPANY RESOURCES is up to the (shock) COMPANY?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691971)

Pack up your desk, you're fired

Re:So? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691972)

Of course. Their computers, their rules.

However, one could make the argument that, since the game was installed, it was 'approved' for use....

Re:So? (1)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691975)

Sure, and I hope he doesn't get his job back, so that Bloomberg sends a clear message that he's an asshole. Creating a harsh work environment will not be beneficial in the long run.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691983)

The problem isn't that it's not within their rights (in my state, we have at-will employment and you can be fired for damn near anything). The problem is that some employers fail to recognize that eight full hours of productivity isn't a realistic goal. In this case, he claims to use solitaire for a "quick distraction." When I'm stuck on a problem, I take a walk, play a game of Sudoku [websudoku.com], or check Slashdot. Sometimes it's a change of scenery that refreshes me. Other times its simply a change of perspective. In either case, it's important to realize that any employee who consistently claims to be productive for 100% of his time is lying.

I've worked for employers that didn't understand this. Burnout and turnover rates were astonishingly high. Meanwhile, I've worked for employers that recognized the value of this kind of freedom/flexibility. They also realized the non-value of an employee that needs to get away.

Solitaire/minesweeper/Sudoku or the occasional "why don't you go home early" often translates to a refreshed and more productive employee tomorrow.

Paid for 8 hours work or to be present for 8? (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692048)

The problem is that some employers fail to recognize that eight full hours of productivity isn't a realistic goal.

If you are paid to *work* for 8 hours, rather than just be present for 8 hours, then it is an entirely realistic goal. If you need extra breaks be prepared to stay longer.

Re:Paid for 8 hours work or to be present for 8? (5, Informative)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692084)

People need breaks. I know when I was working hourly I legally had half an hour for lunch and a few 15min breaks reguardless of what the company said.

Now as a salaried employee, I constantly have slashdot, fark, etc open. On the other hand, I will read it, then do a bit of this, then read. In all honesty my productivity improves because to answer tough questions many times you have to distract yourself from them for a bit. (I am one of the most productive people in my group.) If the person wasn't playing solitare he'd be over in the other cube talking to a friend, getting some water, just roaming around, etc. That kind of thing has happened for AGES. To fire someone for playing a game for 5min is rediculious though it would be justifiable if the guy was always playing.

You're confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691998)

This is not a question of whether the company has a right to fire its employees for any reason. Bloomberg did nothing illegal, and everyone knows that. Can Bloomberg fire any of his employees for Solitaire breaks? Absolutely. Should he? That's another question.

A "right" or accepted permission does not justify an action; it merely allows it.

mnemonic_

like a teenager and a car... (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692051)

Really now, don't you know that what you do at work WITH COMPANY RESOURCES is up to the (shock) COMPANY?

Yep. It's like my parents and I when I was in high school:

Mom: "Okay, what car are you taking?"

Me: "My car."

Dad: *COUGHAHEM*

Me: "The car which I am permitted to use."

Dad: "Have fun!"

I see it all the time- employees get very posessive about their computers. The word "my" is thrown around very casually, they get attached to them, etc. Hell, I worked at places where people (almost exclusively sales staff) would take laptops with them when let go, and they'd act REALLY pissed when we called them and asked for them back. Some we had to literally harass the CRAP out of, to get machines returned- and when they were, they'd invariably be damaged, usually the keyboard and mouse/trackpad buttons; it was clear they whacked the shit out of it with a shoe or something just to piss us off.*

It's equipment. Capital. I don't see a machine shop operator getting pissed when he's fired and he can't take the mill home with him...


*I've also had to lock sales people out of databases WHILE they were getting "The Talk", because in the past, every single one of their predecessors had immediately logged in to the customer database from home and dumped it... un frigging believeable. Never had more trouble with terminated/let go employees than with sales dweebs/bimbos. ZERO morals, which I'd like to think was part of the reason they were fired.

Re:So? (2, Interesting)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692073)

Indeed. They installed the solitare software, then, didn't they? They provided the software, and the required rights to use it.

It's akin to giving a deck of cards to every employee as they are hired and then firing anybody who uses them at work.

Re:So? (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692075)

No shock at all. However, if what the guy said about how few time he spent playing and how it helped him getting his work done was true, then the lesson to be learned here is that companies sholdn't be so short-sighted about what their employees do on comany time and resources. If the company's net gain in productivity is non-negative when people do non-work-related stuff, then by all means, let them do it and let them do it as long as they want. Do I have to say "Google" to get across the point?

Sure you can fire someone because you caught him playing Solitaire for 5 minutes. But if those 5 minutes helped this guy getting an additional 30 minutes of work done, work that he wouldn't have done without the short distraction, then it's just plain stupid to fire him.

1st prost! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691906)

Sorry, couldn't help it.

only 27k? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691910)

After 6 years on the job. Sounds like he was already pwned

Easy for Bloomberg to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691911)

Most of Bloomberg's job consists of what in most jobs would count as taking a break (shaking hands, taking photos and telling people what he thinks).

Bloomberg thus joins the ranks (3, Insightful)

Perp Atuitie (919967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691916)

of the rest of the undeserving rich who haven't the slightest clue about how work gets done.

Re:Bloomberg thus joins the ranks (1)

swilde23 (874551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691960)

Is there some top secret "solitaire code" that no one has told me about? One that performs your work for you? I guess I didn't get the memo.

Re:Bloomberg thus joins the ranks (1)

Siridar (85255) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691973)

In the win3.1 days, XYZZY used to be the code for minesweeper...dunno about solitaire. I remember a pal of mine had a program that came with his soundcard (SBPro?) that would read the cards out for you...even the face-down ones.

Re:Bloomberg thus joins the ranks (1, Informative)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691966)

Udeserving rich?

Michael R. Bloomberg is the 108th Mayor of the City of New York. He was born on February 14, 1942 to middle class parents in Medford, Massachusetts, where his father was the bookkeeper at a local dairy. Mayor Bloomberg's thirst for information and fascination with technology was evident at an early age, and led him to Johns Hopkins University, where he parked cars and took out loans to finance his education. After his college graduation, he gained an MBA from Harvard and in the summer of 1966, he was hired by Salomon Brothers to work on Wall Street.

Your just a looser who is jelous of someone that worked thier way to the top

Re:Bloomberg thus joins the ranks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691986)

He may be a looser but you might want to loosen up a bit yourself.

Re:Bloomberg thus joins the ranks (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691977)

Right on!

It is the rich folks who have no idea how to accomplish anything, and the Joe's making $13/hr (in New York) who are the brilliant ones who should run the companies.

If they really want top notch, they should go down to the homeless shelters.

I wish the man wouldn't keep us down.

Heh. (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691917)

"The workplace is not an appropriate place for games," Bloomberg said. "It's a place where you've got to do the job that you're getting paid for."

I'd cut him a little more slack, if I didn't know a few bosses just like him that managed things so poorly there was plenty of downtime. Of course, I suppose uber-capitalists like himself would say that whenever that occurs you're supposed to clock out so you can save the company your wages...

Re:Heh. (2, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692005)

if I didn't know a few bosses just like him that managed things so poorly there was plenty of downtime.
Bloomberg actually manages things quite well, he is excellent at running a bussiness, even the guy who got fired thinks so. It was just as likely the presence of the Photographer that caused the overreaction. Imagine the media heyday if the mayor is on the front page shaking the hand of a city employee and the game screen showed up in the photo. I hope that guy was just a temporary example and they hire him right back though.

Rules (4, Interesting)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691920)

If he was playing on a break or on his lunch time, i dont see an issue. If his job wasnt getting done fire him..

That was a scumbag move of the mayor, firing him without even talking to him.

Two paragraphs from TFA ... (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691921)

Office assistant Edward Greenwood IX was going over some papers at his desk as Bloomberg made the rounds with his photographer, greeting workers and posing for pictures. When the mayor reached him, Greenwood stood, they shook hands and the photographer snapped a photo.

-- and --

"I expect all city workers, including myself, to work hard," the mayor said. "There's nothing wrong with taking a break, but during the business day, at your desk, that's not appropriate behavior."

Yep, workin' hard there, Mr. Mayor. Workin' hard.

Re:Two paragraphs from TFA ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691959)

yeah, working hard saving his own ass. Imagine the scandal: "City taxes pay for workers to play"

Re:Two paragraphs from TFA ... (2, Insightful)

ChrisKnight (16039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692019)

Yup, almost as bad as "City taxes pay for the mayor to have his glamor shots taken in an office where other people are working..."

-Chris

Not nearly as bad as... (5, Insightful)

alyawn (694153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691922)

Smoking. Co-workers that smoke use up far more time than those that blow off steam with Solitare. When you see an employee playing Enemy Territory, *then* you need to worry.

Re:Not nearly as bad as... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691942)

You only have to worry if you're the one assigned to firing him! (I suggest asking if he's a member of the NRA first)

A little extreme, but... (2, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691925)

When you know the boss is going to be around, with reporters, why would you be playing a game on your computer? I'm sorry the guy lost his job, and yes, I think a reprimand would have been more appropriate, but still, he wasn't very bright.

Re:A little extreme, but... (1)

dvk (118711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691965)

"but still, he wasn't very bright."

The guy was an office assistant working for the City.
Do you actually expect someone at that job to be even marginally intelligent?
If so, you never dealt with government (epsecially NYC) employees.

Re:A little extreme, but... (1)

simishag (744368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692060)

Precisely. It's one thing to slack when your direct boss is around. He knows you personally, he knows if you're capable or not, and even if he catches you slacking when you shouldn't be, he'll probably let you off with a reminder to get back to work (assuming he doesn't catch you all the time).

It's quite another to slack so obviously when the CEO (or mayor) is around, with press & photogs in tow. It shows that you aren't even smart enough to *pretend* to work when the situation calls for it. I mean, how hard is it to remember the "boss key?"

More importantly, playing games shows that you don't care if you make the CEO look bad because his employees aren't working. That's WAY worse than just idling. Hell, even sleeping at your desk probably wouldn't be as bad as playing games; at least you could come up with an excuse for sleeping, like "I had a late night running the latest polling numbers."

I dunno about you guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691928)

But I'd never vote Bloomberg after that (not that I live in New York).
Had Bloomberg had the balls to walk up to the man and fire him in person it'd be one thing; but to fire a $27K secretary for playing a game of Solitaire, later, via your secretary: What a useless jerk.

For $27K you'd never find me racking my brain for 40 hours a week ;).

And the idiot still likes Bloomberg...

Re:I dunno about you guys (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691957)

$27K in New York City? That is slave wages. And after six years yet . . . How do you survive in NYC on $27K ? ? ?

That guy should move to Vegas.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691929)

Lighten up guys, jeeeeeeeez!

Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691931)

Anyone wonder what happens if an employer sees you on slashdot at work?

Re:Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691963)

I'll tell you John, you get FIRED! Now clear your desk and get out of my sight.

- Steve

not first but still - a question (3, Funny)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691932)

The only question I have about the story is what kind of crappy job is there in the Mayor's office - that pays less than 30k a year - IN FRIGGING MANHATTAN? I guess he'll have to change jobs - and get to STOP EATING TOP-RAMEN.

It wasn't in Manhattan (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691984)

The guy didn't work in New York, he worked at the Albany [wikipedia.org] city legislative office. The median income for a male living in Albany is ~$31,000.

Re:It wasn't in Manhattan (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692085)

he worked in nyc's legilative office in albany.
first thing i thought when i saw 27k in the city was - he needed to quit anyway and start shining shoes so he can, like, eat and pay rent...

RTFP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691987)

The Republican mayor stopped by the city's legislative office in Albany a few weeks ago when he was visiting the state Capitol to hear the governor's State of the State address.

$30K in Albany isn't nearly as bad (although it still sucks)

It's more efficient to take short breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691933)

than to work continuously without taking any breaks. On the other hand, if a worker can goof off all the time, you have to ask yourself what kind of manager does he have if the manager can't tell if the worker is productive or not. Looking like you're working isn't the same as being productive.

"Plenty of work to do"? (1)

GuyWhoPosts (880445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691938)

Since when is "plenty of work" a guarantee that an employee won't play plenty of solitaire? Maybe he just didn't give a damn about his work.

He doesn't like the game... (1)

Kaetemi (928767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691940)

And soon after that, Mayor Michael Bloomberg went back to his own pc and started a game of FreeCell.

honestly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691941)

Taking a break from your work will do wonders. Sometimes you need to clear your mind and get back to your work refreshed... especially if you're stumped on an intense problem.

Only a few minutes? (5, Insightful)

digidave (259925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691943)

Can we all agree that this guy is lying. Of course he played for more than a few minutes. We all have our necessary distractions. I browse Slashdot. My boss downloads hockey fights and forwards me Nigerian email scams (I kid you not!).

Every good manager knows that employees need a bit of time to themselves. Just look at Google's policy for working on personal projects and what a great benefit that policy is to both Google and its employees.

At my last job we had short Unreal Tournamet sessions one day a week and nakednews.com viewings in the morning, and everybody was really happy with their job. Everybody got a lot of great work done.

Re:Only a few minutes? (3, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692006)

> Can we all agree that this guy is lying.

You mean "assume", right? Perhaps it's `creative dismissal`. If I'd been fired for playing a game at lunchtime you can bet I'd be hiring a solicitor right now. Well, as soon as I finish this level...

I can think of better ways to get fired at work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691946)

I downloaded this onto me boss' computer: ~46MB of Lesbian Strapon double-doggy-style pornography, available here at this Rapidshare URL [rapidshare.de]

To confirm you're not a script,
please type the word in this image: cockthirst

Back in the day of Windows 3.1... (5, Funny)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691947)

We were in the process of replacing our beloved VAXstations with high-end (60 MHz!) Pentium PCs running Windows 3.1. One of the big wigs was walking through the data center, and noticed a programmer playing Solotaire. He asks, "What is she doing?". A co-worker in the neighboring cube notices the situation and defuses the crisis by spewing a load of BS: "She's doing mouse calibration; they have you use this program, so the pointer on the screen can be aligned with the roller ball inside the mouse. It only takes a few minutes and it lines up the pointer for you."

Re:Back in the day of Windows 3.1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692035)

I used to play Quake at my job, which I called testing video card performance.

Bigwig (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692052)

Given the intelligence of some of the bigwigs these days, I think that load of BS might still work. Grunt: (load of BS) Bigwig: Ah, excellent work. I had wondered how we would solve that problem. Glad to see you're all on top of it.

Another reason to smoke (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691949)

Smokers take their 15 minute morning and afternoon breaks. And they will band together to ensure that no one imposes rules against them. Hell, unions have even been used to protect the glorious smoke break. But what about non-smokers? Ever since I quite smoking I have also quit taking 15 minute breaks. Now, when I need a break, I hit slash dot, check my email, and try to let my brain relax. So yeah, some hard ass could can me for "abusing web privledges", but I can point out to him how my web browsing is inplace of smoking, and by browsing the web I am saving him thousands of dollars in sick time and increased health insurance premiums.

-Rick

Re:Another reason to smoke (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692018)

Smokers take their 15 minute morning and afternoon breaks.

More like their 10 minute early morning break, 10 minute late morning smoke break, 10 minute pre lunch smoke break, 10 min post lunch smoke break, 10 min early afternoon break and 10 minute late afternoon break. Many, perhaps most, smokers habbit is far to consuming to go hours without a smoke.

Re:Another reason to smoke (1)

HappyHour (202053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692038)

Former smokers are the most militant non-smokers on the planet. Just take a 15 minute coffee break outside on the offce steps.

Awesome (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691956)

So let's get this straight. The guy works the same menial office job for six years, his salary was only $27,000, and Mayor Bloomberg fires him for taking a break during the workday at his desk, which according to the mayor was "not appropriate behavior."

I mean ... would you cry about it? I can't think of any greater favor Bloomberg could have done for this guy than to get him the fuck outta there.

solitaire is not the focal point of situation (0)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691958)

IMHO, there is always more to the story. Rarely will an employer blow his top and let go a valuable employee because of a seemingly minor offence, especially if the employee has the longevity of 6 years.
There's more to the story than we know, the media is only framing the most entertaining situation to gain readership. Most likely the solitaire game was the last straw in a series of events over a long period of time. People don't just let people go at the drop of a hat. Don't get bent out of shape or scared by this story.

/emo (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14691968)

Cry more noob.

Solitare used to be my wallpaper. (4, Funny)

jzarling (600712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691982)

I worked in a call center for more time than I would like to admit, and every month or so a new policy like this would come down the pipe.
As an act of civil disobedience I made solitare my wall paper, and removed all my icons.

Entrapment? (1)

havardi (122062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691985)

Why didn't their IT department remove the games if it was so against policy (even during lunch breaks)? To me, you can't justly enforce a policy unless you make a resonable attempt to prevent the behavior. No drinking at work, but keep the fridge stocked with beer?

Its not Entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692046)

You're missing the point - its not IT's job to track down every single piece of unauthorized software. You sign an agreement not to screw around, and if caught doing so, get the shaft. IT doesn't have time to track down every game loaded on your PC.

Evil breeds evil... (2, Interesting)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691989)

Nobody ever gets fired for playing tabletop role playing games at work. At least, nobody I ever heard of. Surely this is because computer games are so much more detrimental to productivity.

On a related note, back in Law School, most folks used laptops to take notes. The Dean used to walk through the back of class from time to time. If he was in a particularly bad mood, he'd signal the professor teaching to call on whoever was playing solitare. Getting "called on" in law school is often just as unpleasant in real life as it appears in movies like "Legally Blonde." More so when you're playing solitare and not paying attention. It was evil, really.

Nobody ever got kicked out of school for it though.

Re:Evil breeds evil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692077)

On a related note, back in Law School, most folks used laptops to take notes. The Dean used to walk through the back of class from time to time. If he was in a particularly bad mood, he'd signal the professor teaching to call on whoever was playing solitare. Getting "called on" in law school is often just as unpleasant in real life as it appears in movies like "Legally Blonde." More so when you're playing solitare and not paying attention. It was evil, really.


That is pretty evil.. all hail the Socratic method!

There was a lot of web surfing during some of the more boring lectures, but now we've just installed kill switches on the access points that the prof throws to the "off" position at the start of class. Back to solitare!

And the next story... (5, Funny)

gold23 (44621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14691993)

Fired For Reading Slashdot Article About Worker Who Was Fired For Solitaire At Work

Not NYC - Albany (3, Insightful)

Joiseybill (788712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692010)

"...The Republican mayor stopped by the city's legislative office in Albany a few weeks ago ..." Cost of living in Albany is considerably lower than NYC. Original article also implies this guy had been reminded of the computer policies in 2004. Sounds like a repeat offender, and moreover he embarrassed the boss in front of company.

here's how it really happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692013)

Man wearing suit: Solitaire?

Guy in cubicle, not looking up: Minesweeper

Man wearing suit: Are you winning?

Guy in cubicle, not looking up: Going for four in a row

Man wearing suit: That's pretty good, isn't it?

Guy in cubicle, not looking up: Yeah, it's great for Minesweeper, but I've gotten lots of practice

Man wearing suit: How much practice?

Guy in cubicle, not looking up: About six years

Man wearing suit: How long have you worked here?

Guy in cubicle: About six years.

Guy in cubicle: Say, you look just like the Mayor. Hey, don't take it the wrong way or anything.

All in doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692022)

Yeah I think he was fired for other short comings outside of Solitaire.

We fired a guy for taking home a 6 pack of beer home, the truth was it was an excuse to get rid of him - he was highly paid, unfortunately he was also highly incompetent and lazy.

duh... (1)

ectotherm (842918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692026)

The policy says "Don't inappropriately use the PC or face termination." The man played games- an inappropriate use of a "work" PC. He was terminated. Fair is fair. The policy didn't say "except on your lunch hour or when you need a break." If he didn't like the policy when he read it, he should have found work somewhere else that doesn't have such a policy. I can't stand people who know what the rules are, break them, and then wonder why they get punished. Is this policy draconian? Possibly. Is it fair to fire someone who violates this policy, draconian or not. Absolutely. Now get back to work, and quit looking for a red five!

translation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692029)

Translation for the article is either:

A.
That rich fellow is a politically minded, controlling, shit on the little people type of guy. He wouldn't give a flying fuck if a secretary was giving his right hand man strap on sex behind closed doors, if 50% of the workers took 2 hours of smoke breaks a day, or if 50% of the workers spent 90% of their day talking to each other and not doing jack ... just as long as the other people picked up the slack even if it meant the real workers were working a little overtime each day for free.

But he can't stand being "taken advantage of"... and wouldn't dare let someone get away with slacking in such a non-conforming way (killing your body with smoke is fine). When he saw someone displaying some goof-off time at the desk, he immediately wanted to make an example. His message is: yeah, compared to my money you get paid enough to live in a tin can, which makes you a lesser person [in his mind]... and I'll be damned if I let you squeeze an extra penny out of my budget. We're here to work... and you better not be smiling at work unless it's a fake ass-kiss smile to your boss!

or
B.
Everyone is overworked and understaffed, and this goof-off guy really was screwing over the whole team.

Personally, I'd bet on A.

freedom in the workplace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692033)

from the report:

He created an office setup, which he repeated at City Hall, where everyone sits together in an open-air environment

hmm, talk about boss looking over your shoulder with a stick in hand, mighty motivating

the mayor said. "There's nothing wrong with taking a break, but during the business day, at your desk, that's not appropriate behavior."

yeah right, employees should go out for golf to take a break

At Will Employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692034)

I don't know about NY, but I live in Michigan which is an "at will" employment state. What does this mean? My employer can fire me at any time for *any* reason. At other employers people have been very publicly fired for being a smoker, even though they don't smoke at work, because they raise insurance costs.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/28/eveningn ews/main670168.shtml [cbsnews.com]

The only protections are for gender, religious or racial discrimination.

Personally, I would *NEVER* play a game at work, (unless it was against the boss ;) )

The submission says... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692037)

A NEW YORK CITY EMPLOYEE. I certainly don't want my tax dollars (if I lived there) to go to waste. It's a little kinda over-obvious that he's lying, as we all know how slowly wheels turn. I'll bet solitaire is the leading cause of bureaucratic slowness. (endjoke)

Where is Kenneth Star when you need him? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692043)

I bet if every second of Michael's "work" hours were videotaped, he would too be caught playing games, making personal phone calls or staring at his scantly clad secretaty. We need new Republican scandals badly...

Did anyone get this guys name? (1)

Eradicator2k3 (670371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692049)

It's Edward Greenwood IX (the Ninth). I figured with a pretentious name like that he'd be all rich and powerful. Instead at $27,000 a year he comes across as that office's Milton wannabe. I can already hear his excuse:

Edward Greenwood IX: I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she's filing, then I should be able to play solitaire while I'm collating so I don't see why I should get fired because I enjoy playing solitaire during my one-hour lunch or during quick breaks.

What's next? Is he going to burn down the building?

Lifetime Achievement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692061)

Anyone that has worked in Government (as I do) can read between the lines. These are rarely the case of an employee just getting socked for something out of the blue. Do you realize how hard it is to fire people from Government? It's clear this was probably what we call 'lifetime achievement awards', where you have been walking the line for a while now and all it took was one more thing to move a person out.

in soviet russia.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692064)

solitaire plays you.

*clap* *clap* (1)

Visceral Monkey (583103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692066)

What a BIG MAN Bloomberg is, I mean, how could anyone possibly fault him, right?

There's a special place for people like this in hell, at least that's my fondest hope.

Karmas a bitch.

it's a WORK environment (1)

graveyardduckx (735761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692072)

If you get caught playing games on the clock, you can expect these things. This is NOT news. When I worked at a small software company years ago, I was instructed to remove ALL games from ALL computers in the building. Anyone caught playing games would be removed. Of course they were all hypocrites since they (management) let me play Tribes and StarCraft with them for my entire shift some days... I guess it's good to have friend in higher positions.

Solitare? (1)

NokX (921152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692074)

i play far cry and unreal tournament 2004 at work - i think i'd be sentenced to prison if they caught me. luckily my buddies are the system admins. :) in all seriousness though - if the company has a legal "contract" with you that you don't play ANY games at work, they have a right to fire you. it's their rules. do i think they should've given the guy a chance? of course, but it's not my show - it's theirs.

frist 4sot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14692081)

irc network. The Get how people can eerors. Future I the resignation

I wish we could do that where I work (1)

foQ (551575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14692087)

A couple of people play solitare all day long instead of doing productive things. They don't have any immediate work to do, but they could sure as hell stand to improve themselves in things other than playing solitare. A couple of people even have FPSes installed on their computers.
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