Fidelity Investments made its internet policy loud and clear when it fired four employees in October for playing Fantasy Football at the office.
A Fidelity spokesman told a Fort-Worth, Texas newspaper, “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.”
Cameron Pettigrew, a relationship manager in the private client group in the Westlake, Texas, office was one of the fired employees. Pettigrew told the newspaper that the termination was an “overreaction” since he did not use his company computer to play the game, but that Fidelity officials found a few instant messages related to the game on his computer from co-workers.
Pettigrew, who says he never had a warning in his 2 1/2 years at the company, said he would have understood a warning or a dock in pay. He says he also missed out on thousands of dollars because his 401(k) retirement plan was not vested. An employer's contributions to a 401(k) don't belong to the employee until a federally mandated period of service is fulfilled.