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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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  • by Ichijo (607641) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:48PM (#38600258) Homepage Journal

    It's similar to a resume. (I had to google the acronym to figure out what this Slashdot topic was about.)

  • by tysonedwards (969693) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @03:03PM (#38600510)
    Except the BG Group's stock price has actually continued an upward trend since before Mr. Flexman was "forced to quit", and has actually risen by $100 / share in the past 5 days.

    Yahoo Finance - BG Group [yahoo.com]

    Seems as though they would have a hard time proving that Mr. Flexman leaving has negatively impacted them. Sure there are additional considerations, including the obvious Streisand effect that could have led to this change, but it is obvious that they did not see a mass exodus or a decrease on brand confidence with their investors.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @03:24PM (#38600896)

    In a company like BG on £68k/annum he's not an important executive. Having worked for them for several years (but not since 2002) I know from the pay/job title that he's upper middle management. Also when it comes to customers then BG isn't a typical corporation. They have a monopoly on the UK's gas/electric infrastructure although they do also work with other firms in projects for things like natural gas exploration. I'd be amazed if this isn't about managment cliques, he wasn't popular with one, they went digging for dirt, they found his profile, and they've tried to use that to shaft him. With any luck it's about to backfire quite spectacularly.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @04:04PM (#38601600)

    In some parts of the world, such as Canada and the US, the term resume is used to the exclusion of CV

    Actually, CV is used almost exclusively in academia in the U.S. If you apply for a serious academic position, they will ask for a CV, not a resume. They're actually different things, with different formatting. Having worked in both private industry and academia, I have both. For example, my CV has sections for things like academic articles and papers that you won't find on my resume.

  • by TankSpanker04 (1266400) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @04:57PM (#38602504)
    FTFA: "BG Group ... accused him of including confidential information in his CV, such as details about how he had reduced the firm's rate of staff attrition." His dedication to this goal only went so far, apparently.
  • For The Americans (Score:4, Informative)

    by assertation (1255714) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:30PM (#38603048)

    A 'CV' is what the British call their resumes

    HTH

  • Re:Over-reaching (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:40PM (#38603226)

    As for the matter at hand, is the UK not at will employment typically? Around here they can fire employees for any reason or no reason provided that the reason isn't included on the short list of reasons that an employer isn't allowed to use. Posting a resume of that sort definitely wouldn't be prohibited in the US.

    This is the UK, but I have a hard time believing that it's that much different in this case than it is here.

    No the UK is not 'at will' - in fact it is illegal, and will result in a significant payment if challenged at tribunal, if an employee is fired without a substantial reason. Firing someone usually requires a series of disciplinary actions, starting with verbal warnings, at least 1 written warning and a meeting with an HR rep to mediate the problem (the last one isn't required as not all places have an HR dept obviously - but it is considered to be a show of goodwill come tribunal time).

    In the case of being 'forced to quit' - if it can be shown that there was a deliberate attempt to make the workplace an inhospitable environment for that person, then it will usually result in payment for being fired and for being bullied at work (which there is actually a law against). Which is exactly what this guy is going to have to do.

    The employment law in this country is one of the few areas of law left where the rights of the individual are prioritised above the wanton will of companies and corporations (although the consumer laws are still quite beneficial as well). The Tories are doing their best to fuck this up along with the rest of the country - but the EU is thankfully balancing out the issue a little bit.

    There was an earlier poster that suggested being a salaried employee meant being on the clock 24 hours a day - I nearly passed out from laughing at them derisively for 20 minutes straight. I'm salaried (a little above the average), yet I have never worked more than 48 hours in one week. It is against the EU Working Time Directive for my employer to even ask me to do so. There are exemptions to this - fishing boats, off-shore workers and family workers/carers - and if the following conditions are met:

    "(1) individual opt out for art 6 where (a) the worker agrees (b) no detriment for not agreeing (c) records kept up to date (d) authorities kept informed (e) information given (2) three week transitional provision (3) inform Commission."

    It's true that none of this prevents me from being otherwise 'pressured' to work more hours - but the graded pay scheme ensures they can't screw with my pay (even by increasing others and not mine :P) and I receive no other form of incentive or endorsement that they can pressure me with. I have been offered such incentives in past jobs and turned them down in place of a smaller (but written into my contract) pay rise instead, purely so they could not be used to pressure me - but then unlike many on this site, I work to live, not the other way around.

  • Re:Over-reaching (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zibodiz (2160038) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @06:39PM (#38604104)
    I got fired from Office Depot because I had a second job. They required that all second jobs be approved -- not just by the corporation, but by the store manager. I got fired because my manager quit, and the new manager didn't approve of my second job, even though the last two had. My role was hourly, and I worked as the manager in the Print Center. My second job was in-home computer repair. I still fail to see how those are a conflict of interest.
  • I don't know that much about UK Employment Law, but I'm on the receiving end of US Employment Law.

    This is an area where there is substantial difference. The UK's rules are very much not "at will"; a dismissal that doesn't follow exactly the stated procedures for the company (which are constrained by law and have to be set out in writing ahead of time) will open up the way to an unfair dismissal claim (which is typically processed by tribunal in the UK, rather than normal courts). Would the claim be successful in this case? I've no idea at all, but UK companies don't dismiss without being very careful about it (unless the company's in Administration, the approximate equivalent of Chapter 11).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @07:33PM (#38604722)

    This claim should be successful. Normally in the UK dismissal requires a verbal warning, written warning, then your notice with time to correct the situation between. Skipping any of these steps requires "gross misconduct". Knowingly skipping safety rules that could lead to someone getting injured is gross misconduct, floating your CV on the net isn't. The appropriate guidelines are here [direct.gov.uk], and there's even a page about constructive dismissal (this wouldn't be the first case, it's probably the first involving linkedIn status). That is a government run site so should be reasonably accurate, although legally it can only be used as a guide.

    The comment about being in administration probably refers to making someone redundant. However if challenged by the leaver the company needs to prove that the role is being closed, and that there was no alternative role they could have offered you. There are also statutory payouts (based on time spent with the company), which it doesn't sound like the case for this guy.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday January 06, 2012 @04:57AM (#38607694) Journal
    Under UK law, employees have rights.

    He wasn't fired. If he was he'd be entitled to compensation.

    He was disciplined for mentioning that he'd be interested in other jobs. He has the right to be interested in other jobs. As a result he felt he was forced to leave. The law on constructive dismissal prevents companies from forcing people to leave.

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