Fidelity fires four employees for playing fantasy football

Fantasy football can get expensive, but no one has paid more for it than Cameron Pettigrew.

Pettigrew was fired from Fidelity Investments in Westlake, Texas for running an office league, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The smoking gun wasn’t even an obnoxious trash-talking email.  Pettigrew was smart enough not to send any emails from work, but “investigators” found two instant messages with fantasy football-related material.

“One of my buddies sent me something about how bad Trent Edwards was
playing or something like that,” Pettigrew said. (If complaining about Trent Edwards was a crime, no one could work in Buffalo.)

“So they called me in
and talked to me for about 90 minutes on everything I ever knew about
fantasy football,” Pettigrew continued.  “They interrogated me as though I was some sort of
international gambling kingpin. Then they released me for the day, and
I was like, ‘OK.’ I never thought they’d fire me for this, but, the
next day, I get the call saying I had been terminated.”

Pettigrew says there were at least ten leagues in his office and four commissioners were canned.  There’s a lesson here: Being the commish is a thankless job with no upside.

While the firing sounds heartless, the corporate culture was pervasive enough at Fidelity to scare Pettigrew from emailing in the first place.  We’ve heard separately that Fidelity employees know that fantasy football is taboo and are very careful not to openly break the rules. 

(Of course, the same corporate culture seems fine with part of the New York office showing up to work in the morning so hungover that a nap under the desk is required, but that’s another story.)

A Fidelity spokesman said the company has clear policies related to gambling and
Pettigrew violated them. Fantasy football has legal protections that
sports gambling doesn’t, but Fidelity doesn’t see it that way. From the
outside, the firings look like a convenient way to cut costs during
lean times.

We just hope Pettigrew found a good replacement for Edwards so he can recoup some money as a league champion.

And we hope this story won’t stop people from checking out the latest fantasy football information, since it pays the rent.  It is the playoffs, after all.  Priorities, people!  

46 responses to “Fidelity fires four employees for playing fantasy football

  1. Another step towards socialism. The Man is going to tell us when we can use the toilet pretty soon.

  2. I worked at Vanguard and we had to develop code words for everything. There’s so much management they have nothing else to do with their time than to look for issues that have nothing to do with anything. Maybe if management were trying to fix the issues with their funds rather than checking emails about Trent Edwards we could get out of this mess. Fire the managers making millions, not the phone rep making $17 an hour. It saves a lot more money, requires a lot less training, and doesn’t make you look petty.

  3. I’ll bet none of those Execs ever took time out of their workday to join a Super Bowl block pool or play March Madness. Luckily I work for the Gov. and would have to literally take a shit on my desk to get fired.

  4. Fidelity has rules against gambling and wagering???? How ironic. That company does more gambling and wagering then any fantasy football commish ever will. What a crock.

  5. I’m willing to bet all the smokers that work there spend more time taking smoke breaks than these guys spent doing their fantasy lineups.
    Fidelity sucks anyway. I work in the industry and the way they do everything really is crappy.
    I want to know why this is such a problem to Fidelity? My work blocks fantasy football sites, but even if they didn’t, how long does it take you to set your lineup each week? I can’t imagine these people are spending hours a day or anything like that.
    Like i said, at most, it’s like a smoke break. Maybe those guys should all take up smoking and just do their FF lineups on laptops while smoking?

  6. I was smart enough to recruit my boss in my league – not to mention I’m so f-ing great at my job that I am also on all day.
    Week 1 of the season Bills +10 vs the Cheatriots made me a nice grand, more than most Massholes make in a week.

  7. JayPhilly,
    Right on! Shouldn’t these Fidelity “managers” be fired for gambling investors money away in 2008?

  8. @Fan of four
    Why is he a dumbass? You know how many Americans participate in Fantasy Football every year? He even stated that he wasn’t doing anything Fantasy Football related at work. It was an Intstant Message sent to him about it.
    Im with Dan Snyder….socialism is approaching fast!!

  9. I worked at Fidelity – closely connected to Corp Security. While I’ve been out of there for years, I’ve remained connected via friends and former co-workers.
    The security folks Mr. Pettigrew mentions are members of the reaper squad which has been very active since the recession/depression has hit. These guys typically show up at the employee’s desk and take them to a debriefing location – where pressure is applied for them to sign a statement & provide names of other “offenders.” Of course, they are just the implementation arm of the reaper squad.
    Fidelity has fired/laid-off thousands of employees since we entered the recession/depression.
    The reapers have been working hard to trump up charges which are technically accurate – but just serve as reasonable grounds to terminate without severance or notice.

  10. “Not right now, Lumbergh, I’m kinda busy. In fact, look, I’m gonna have to ask you to just go ahead and come back another time. I got a meeting with the Bobs in a couple of minutes.”

  11. Exactly why you try to avoid being hired by corporations with anything over 50 people. My company started with 8, we’re just over 50 and the corporate culture is starting to sink in.
    Oh how I miss the days of whiskey on Friday afternoons with the boss, while talking football.

  12. If ppl are truly upset about it – do something.
    Pull your Fidelity accounts, and switch to Vanguard or T Rowe Price.
    After, Fidelity is based in Massachusetts, and we all know the rampant cheating that goes on there – you really trust these ppl with your money?

  13. They must have wanted to fire this guy in the first place or maybe just downsize the company as a whole, going after Fantasy Football players will be effective because there are a lot of them!
    Sounds like “The Bobs” took him into a room Michael Bolton style and tore him apart.
    “They call it a MEETING with the CONSULTANTS, but what you’re really doing is interviewing for your own job!”

  14. Sad, sad indeed. A gambling company making billions I suspsect is canning low level(?) employees for emails loosely related to gambling….. on FANTASY FOOTBALL!!! It’s like playing Big Six at the local summer festival, it’s not real gambling!! Man, this is F*cked up, I feel for this cat.
    Also, fan of four has proven his douche status plenty of times before this, his response should come as no surprise, way to rep Fan, what are you 87?

  15. every office with more than 75 or so people has an office bookie….seriously i don’t do anything personal on the company puter, but when there are people who run a 57 dollar tab to the guy who offers a portfolio of block pools, do they think that guy is not doing some of that work on their dime?
    management leaves the holes open and waits for people to fall into them.
    its selective enforcement at best….but stupid begets stupid….
    it does explain why i was on hold for 30 minutes trying to shift mutual funds and exercise some options the other day.

  16. @theTruthwillSetuFree and DanSnyder …
    Since you boys know so much about socialism, I’m sure you know America’s big ally–Britain–has been led by the soclialist Labour Party for a couple of decades. And gambling is legal in the UK. When I lived there, my friends stopped by their bookie’s every day. There’s one in every neighborhood, big sign out front: BOOKMAKER.
    So I’m not real clear why you think Fidelity firing these fantasy players has anything to do with socialism on the march. LOL
    Glad you know so much about socialism. I lived in the UK when it was under Labor Party rule like now–I’m sure you know

  17. @downwithdansnyder
    Socialism…. Fidelity is a major corporation that is out of control. Corporate fascism yes. Citing Fidelity firing these guys doesn’t remotely qualify as socialism.

  18. I bet he got canned because the Fidelity security chief had Trent Edwards as his starting QB!
    Seriously, if they wanted to block FF sites its pretty easy. I handle network security for my company and its just a matter of putting a deny entry for the domains you don’t want the peasants to access in the firewall. I leave it open on purpose a) I hate hypocrites, and B) because FF is better for you than smoking….unless you have Trent Edwards as your QB.

  19. These comments are absolutely hillarious. Largely because if you look at the time on them, It’s clear most, if not all of you people are at work. (myself included)
    The key here, like others have mentioned, is to get your boss in on the league, especially if they are slightly less experienced in FF then you are, not only do you get the points for providing a little help with the lineup, but there are no repercussions when you are on sites like this one, because you are just doing homework to help out the team. Otherwise, just get your damn work done, and usually they wont care.

  20. Technically he wasn’t gambling.
    Fantasy Football has legal protections that say it isn’t gambling by law – and that’s a fact.
    If Fidelity fires him “with cause” and states the reason as that he was gambling, would he have legal recourse? I know you can fire somebody for pretty much anything you want, but what if you say you fired them for a “crime” they didn’t actually commit?
    Put those legal skills to work Florio 😉

  21. The truely ironic thing is Fantasy Football is protected under the same subchapter that exempts waht Fidelity engages in from being labelled “Gambling.”
    I think I actually might pull my accounts from Fidelity… Douchebags.

  22. Man, that is just NOT right. I worked at Treasure Island for 10 years, and ran the league for the last 3. Sent e-mails to all 12 teams among 3 hotels, phone calls, copies GALORE, and the worst I ever heard was “Good Luck”. I had no idea “Fidelity” is the English word for “Gestapo”. What a bunch of fluffers.

  23. # downwithdansnyder says: December 16, 2009 11:08 AM
    Another step towards socialism. The Man is going to tell us when we can use the toilet pretty soon.
    If you were to say that your country is adopting more and more socialist policies, you’d be correct.
    Calling this move socialist though is just downright wrong.

  24. Let’s all boycott Fidelity…that 40 hour workweek, in this technology age, is antiquated anyway. Dude shouldn’t have been fired if his production went unaltered.
    I do all my investing myself anyway with Scottrade.

  25. Worst Poster Ever says:
    I think I actually might pull my accounts from Fidelity… Douchebags.
    Yeah, they’re going to miss your whole thirty six bucks.

  26. Socialism? YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME
    either you dont know a thing about socialism or you have literally been stuck watching Fox News for so long that all you can say is SOCIALISM
    (btw, do me a favor there genius, do a quick search on how many immigrants are coming here from socialist nations, and then search to see how many immigrants are coming in from non socialist nations, the numbers are stunning)
    unbelievable how people want to bring politics into EVERY conversation
    also – fidelity is possibly one of the WORST places to invest/house your money folks

  27. Hey downwith dan,
    You need to really do some research. It isn’t in socialism that “the man” tells you when you can take a toilet break. First, “the man” tends to be a capitalist reference. Second, in the US, under capitalism, that is the way it used to be. The boss told you when you could take bathroom breaks, didn’t intsall protective equipment like sprinklers, and did everything to cut costs and increase profit, making the worker a virtual slave working in dangerous conditions. It was the more progressive government intervention that allows you to go to the bathroom when you want, and protects you at work. You know, regulation. Regulation is what keeps you safe at work, and gives you certain liberties your forefathers never enjoyed, especially when they were working in the factory at age 5.
    If you hate socialism, why do you watch football, which is a socialist sport? Revenues are shared, and there are spending caps in place to keep the playing field level, and give each team an equal chance. If you enjoy capitalism, you should watch baseball. Enjoy your new lame capitalist sport! LMAO

  28. I bet a good lawyer could sue the company. They could argue the $20 buy in to the pool is a membership fee, since actually winning your money back in a good pool is unlikely, and that gambling is when a wager is made with money being the prize. The prize in fantasy football is being better than your buddies that year.
    It would be easy to argue that Fantasy Football isn’t gambling, especially when it’s $20 spread over a season. Ridiculous, and everybody but Fidelity understands that.
    I’d weary of investing with a company that has such a warped perspective.

  29. Cheesewizer says: “…The security folks Mr. Pettigrew mentions are members of the reaper squad which has been very active since the recession/depression has hit….The reapers have been working hard to trump up charges which are technically accurate – but just serve as reasonable grounds to terminate without severance or notice.”
    This is exacty what I assumed. To layoff for budgetary reasons an employee earning $50,000 annually costs a company several hundred thousand dollars (depending on the employee’s length of service) between severance and unemployment liability. Firing them with cause costs nothing as long as they cover themselves for an unlawful firing lawsuit.
    To do this to several hundred employees for all sorts of reasons (violating gambling rules is just one) saves millions compared to layoffs. I’m sure somewhere the executive who instituted this plan is getting a six-figure bonus for saving the company this much money through “creative measures”.
    So yes, the same executives who made millions in bonuses the past 10 years for gambling on high risks investments for credit default swaps are now behind firing employees for gambling in petty office pools.

  30. It’s obviously not socialism. One guy says this when we really know what he was alluding to. Don’t beat to death the concepts of socialism here, not necessary.
    The bottom line is this was most likely very lame attempt by Fidelity to have cutbacks without recourse. Fidelity already sucked anyway, this just furthers the case. Just everyone stop using them and over time they’ll feel it in their bookkeeping.
    A big red flag for me as an investor? When an investment company pimps all it’s own funds. I’ll take a 3rd party investment house anyday of the week. Show me no bias toward your own products, and i’m more convinced!

  31. Help to run the nation’s economy into the ground and destroy the dreams of millions of people? No problem. Play fantasy football at work? You are outta here, my friend!!!

  32. What kind of live-in-mom’s-basement loser can’t resist playing fantasy football at work?
    You’re all man-children. Grow up. I’m management, and I’d fire your damn ass too.

  33. That is ridicolous if I ever need to use a company like Fidelity I will make sure I use one of their competitors.
    What do we have research if a company supports fantasy football or not before we make an investment?
    This is the dumbest reason I ever heard for firing a guy. Well except if you fire a guy for saying on his facebook page that hes upset that a certain x-men character wasnt resigned to a certain football team.

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