FanDuel - WFBC

December 18, 2009

Company Fires Four Employees Over Fantasy Football: Four employees at Fidelity Investments have been fired for running fantasy football leagues. "We have clear policies that relate to gambling," said company spokesman Vin Loporchio. "Participation in any form of gambling through the use of Fidelity time or equipment or any other company resource is prohibited."

posted by rcade to football at 12:58 PM - 15 comments

I think if I stopped running our company's fantasy football league, my boss (the company owner) would fire me.

(He's also the one who suggested putting money on it this year)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:30 PM on December 18

Isn't a comapnay that is involved in the stock market and finacial investment having policies against gambling kind of hypocritical?

posted by Underdog at 02:08 PM on December 18

Isn't a comapnay that is involved in the stock market and finacial investment having policies against gambling kind of hypocritical? Actually, that's the kind of company where such a policy makes the most sense. If the gambler/employee is losing big, he could be sorely tempted to cover his losses from his clients' accounts. The employees not only have to be innocent, they have to be above suspicion.

posted by joaquim at 02:22 PM on December 18

Yeah, I have a hard time with companies that discourage activities that promote a healthy level of collegiality/camaraderie among its work force.

posted by Spitztengle at 02:53 PM on December 18

It should not be a firing offense to run an office fantasy league, March Madness bracket or similar pool, provided that you're not being ridiculous in the amount of time you're spending on it during the workday. Calling it "gambling" is ridiculous.

posted by rcade at 03:07 PM on December 18

I can see joaquim's point; however, you'd sure hope that in such case, the "...and here's why it's got to be that way" explanation would be made very clearly (much as joaquim has made it above). If that didn't happen, it should have, and if it did, it makes the accounts of upper-level management participation in leagues look even worse. You can make such a policy on the grounds of good business practices, given the industry, but you have to back it up with consistent enforcement. What's HR going to say now? "Oh gosh we had NO idea it was going on and we STILL have no idea that any of our upper-level managers, who are supposed to set an example to support these policies, had anything to do with it"? Who would believe them? Who just fell off the cabbage truck?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:29 PM on December 18

That's the Holiday spirit Fidelity.

posted by Stuama at 03:49 PM on December 18

It should not be a firing offense to run an office fantasy league, March Madness bracket or similar pool, provided that you're not being ridiculous in the amount of time you're spending on it during the workday.

We have no idea how much time Pettigrew and his poolmates were spending on it. We have Pettigrew's side, which is that he never did it on company time, and we have instant messages that say otherwise.

Judging from the office pools I have been involved with in the past, if you've got 10 or so coworkers in a pool, you're losing several hours a day in wages to it collectively over a span of months. It's no wonder that in a terribly economy, your employer may become a little more sensitive to that sort of thing.

posted by dfleming at 04:01 PM on December 18

Though it's true we don't know whether Pettigrew is telling the truth, it sounds like running a league for coworkers was a fireable offense whether or not you spent any work time on it.

posted by rcade at 04:10 PM on December 18

Yeah, I have a hard time with companies that discourage activities that promote a healthy level of collegiality/camaraderie among its work force.

Any company that I've ever been associated with, either as an employee or working with them as a representative of my employer, expects three things of its employees: show up ready to go to work, go home when your full time has been reached, and do your work while being paid for it. Such things as running fantasy leagues, surfing the web, writing diatribes on SpoFi, and the like were frowned upon, and I know of at least 3 cases of dismissal for violating company rules to that effect. If you want collegiality and camaraderie, do it at the office picnic or the Christmas party. My last company even went so far as to permit the use of computing resources after hours for personal use, as long as they were not used for gambling, pornography, or illegal activities. Depending on the program we were supporting, we had a lot of company sponsored social activities during work hours to promote morale. Every employer has the right to expect a full day's work for a full day's pay (plus benefits, of course). Using company time for fantasy sports is not welcome in most places.

posted by Howard_T at 04:11 PM on December 18

seriously, I have an account at that office...waiting on a call back, hope my guy wasn't one of those let go!

I would bet that almost all companies have rules in place that prohibit this type of activity, most just don't enforce it very consistently. I'm in a fantasy league that is mostly guys I work with, yea, spent some time on it at work, however it has also created stronger working relationships as well. Now, we're all salaried workers, so the company expects us to be available 24/7, the line is blurred between company and personal time. And, I office out of my home most of the time. Anyway, there are rules against gambling in the handbook, but I can't see HR coming down on us.

I would think most companies would make the distinction between an office pool/fantasy league and someone running a craps table in the smoking lounge.

posted by dviking at 04:52 PM on December 18

Though it's true we don't know whether Pettigrew is telling the truth, it sounds like running a league for coworkers was a fireable offense whether or not you spent any work time on it.

There are, according to Pettigrew, 10 leagues with employees and managers involved, yet only four people were fired. I am curious as to what the reasoning was for these four being fired, as opposed to the rest: was it simply a random act or related to how much fantasy football they were playing in the office?

posted by dfleming at 05:59 PM on December 18

dfleming, I was wondering the same thing, seemed rather inconsistent to fire only 4 people.

posted by dviking at 08:14 PM on December 18

SInce my 401K is there I would rather they spent their time making me wealthier instead of themselves.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:11 AM on December 19

I was in a football pool at Warner Bros. that went very strangely south.

The secretary who handled the pool for her boss was fired so she hired Gloria Allred. Allred decided to sue Warners on behalf of the secretary, claiming that the secretary was forced to run the pool.

And Warners was gonna call me to testify as I talked to the secretary on a regular basis and she always seemed happy to do it. Happily the case went away (settled?) and I never had to testify.

Warners really didn't care about the pool. But after the lawsuit it very quickly went away. It was too bad. It was a great pool.

I did find a brief mention online.:

a Warner Bros. employee who said her boss forced her to run a football pool

posted by cjets at 08:41 PM on December 19

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