A Fort Worth Star-Telegram news story said the financial services firm made the move because of its policy against employees using company equipment on company time for the purposes of gambling.
Fidelity officials investigated the matter after they intercepted emails exchanged in one office league. After questioning an employee involved with that league, they discovered there were more. A total of four league “commissioners” lost their jobs.
“Firing a guy for being in a $20 fantasy league? Let’s be honest; that’s a complete overreaction,” Cameron Pettigrew, one of the fired workers, told the newspaper. “In this economic time, especially. To fire people over something like this, it’s just cold.”
Fidelity spokesman Vin Loporchio said the company considered the anti-gambling policy as not leaving room for interpretation. “We have clear policies that relate to gambling,” he told the newspaper. “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 knew Fidelity had a policy against playing fantasy football at the office, but said the policy was poorly communicated and ignored by leadership. He said there were at least 10 fantasy leagues in which leaders and managers played.
He says he would have understood a warning or a dock in pay.