Dec 16, 2009, 12:30 PM EST
Free the Fidelity Four! Actually four people who worked at Fidelity Investments in Westlake, Texas are free at this hour, to find other jobs. Cameron Pettigrew and three other Fidelity employees were given the boot in late October when company officials heard rumors of their fantasy football activity, and did an investigation. Pettigrew was with the company for 2 1/2 years; meaning that he lost out on thousands of dollars because his 401(k) retirement plan wasn’t vested. But on the bright side, he had started both Brandon Marshall and Chris Johnson last week.
The worst part? Pettigrew may have been fired because of Trent Edwards.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“Firing a guy for being in a $20 fantasy league? Let’s be honest; that’s a complete overreaction,” said Pettigrew, who lives in Grapevine and has an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington. “In this economic time, especially. To fire people over something like this, it’s just cold.”
Said Fidelity spokesman Vin Loporchio: “We have clear policies that relate to gambling. Participation in any form of gambling through the use of Fidelity time or equipment or any other company resource is prohibited. In addition to being illegal in a lot of places, it can also be disruptive. We want our employees to be focused on our customers and clients.”
Pettigrew, who was the commissioner of his league, knew Fidelity had a policy against playing fantasy football at the office. But he said the policy was poorly communicated and ignored by leadership. Pettigrew said there were at least 10 fantasy leagues in which leaders and managers played.
Still, on Oct. 20, Fidelity officials investigated the matter after they intercepted e-mails exchanged in a different office league. After questioning the commissioner of that league, they discovered Pettigrew also ran an office league. Four league commissioners lost their jobs at Fidelity.
Pettigrew, though, said he never sent any fantasy football e-mails at work or using his work e-mail address. But the investigators found two instant messages that had fantasy-football-related material.
“One of my buddies sent me something about how bad Trent Edwards was playing or something like that,” Pettigrew said. “So they called me in and talked to me for about 90 minutes on everything I ever knew about fantasy football. They interrogated me as though I was some sort of international gambling kingpin. Then they released me for the day, and I was like, ‘OK.’ I never thought they’d fire me for this, but, the next day, I get the call saying I had been terminated.”
How many lives are you going to wreck, Trent Edwards? How many?
I suspect that this may just be an easy way for companies to lay off people during a tough economy. If so, shame on Fidelity. By the way, have you seen my fantasy roster, Mr. Obama? Where’s my federal stimulus money?
Fidelity fires four for playing fantasy football [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
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