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UK Executive 'Forced Out of Job' For Posting CV Online 219

Posted by timothy
from the hr-dept-on-patrol dept.
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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UK Executive 'Forced Out of Job' For Posting CV Online

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  • Over-reaching (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:25PM (#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.
  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:31PM (#38600008) Homepage

    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:Over-reaching (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tysonedwards (969693) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:31PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tyr07 (2300912) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:33PM (#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.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:34PM (#38600056) Homepage Journal

    Could have been within the company too.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:35PM (#38600072) Homepage

    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:Over-reaching (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mvar (1386987) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:44PM (#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 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:45PM (#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.

  • Betty Crocker (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:46PM (#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.

  • Re:Over-reaching (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:51PM (#38600308)

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

  • by prakslash (681585) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:54PM (#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.
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:57PM (#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.

  • by mjwalshe (1680392) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:58PM (#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.
  • Re:Over-reaching (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @06:42PM (#38604154)

    Indeed. The trifecta of "at-will employment", "right to work", and destruction of worker protection laws have been the means by which Republicans have pretty much destroyed the middle class in states where they've held control.

    A good state to look at is Texas. The "Texas Unmiracle" [nytimes.com] is one of the greatest examples of the Greed Over People party's MO. Texas Republican politicians will lie to your face, especially with Rick Perry running for President, claiming they have a "great success story" in their state - actually, it's a complete shambles [nytimes.com].

    And that's before we get to what their creationist kook governor and corrupt as hell legislature did to make their education system dead last in the nation, too.

  • Bad management (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Friday January 06, 2012 @05:05AM (#38607724)

    It strikes me as a very stupid way to handle the situation on the part of the company.

    Firstly, an ambitious employee can most definitely be an asset to a company, if they are celver enough to keep him/her.

    Secondly, if the employee was actually unhappy with the job, perhaps the company should see this as an opportunity to address the problem. If one employee is disgruntled, it is quite likely that there are others; dissatisfaction leads to low morale, which leads to poor results - this sort of thing is too important to ignore.

    Thirdly, if an employee genuinely wants to leave, the company could do worse than to help him in a positive way; if an employee leaves with a good feeling, he will remember that in a new job and may even send business back to his previous employer.

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