Wall Street justice: Fidelity employees fired for fantasy football

Fort Worth Star-TelegramDecember 16, 2009 

Cameron Pettigrew called himself the "Fidelity Man."

Working as a relationship manager in the private client group at Fidelity Investments' Westlake office, Pettigrew says he looked forward to work every day. He even remembers telling co-workers and friends that he planned to retire someday from Fidelity, the country’s biggest mutual fund sponsor and one of the world’s largest providers of financial services.

But that isn't going to happen. Pettigrew and three other Fidelity employees were fired for playing fantasy football.

"Firing a guy for being in a $20 fantasy league? Let’s be honest; that's a complete overreaction," said Pettigrew, who lives in Grapevine and has an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington. "In this economic time, especially. To fire people over something like this, it's just cold."

Said Fidelity spokesman Vin Loporchio: "We have clear policies that relate to gambling. 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, who was the commissioner of his league, knew Fidelity had a policy against playing fantasy football at the office. But he said the policy was poorly communicated and ignored by leadership. Pettigrew said there were at least 10 fantasy leagues in which leaders and managers played.

Still, on Oct. 20, Fidelity officials investigated the matter after they intercepted e-mails exchanged in a different office league. After questioning the commissioner of that league, they discovered Pettigrew also ran an office league. Four league commissioners lost their jobs at Fidelity.

Pettigrew, though, said he never sent any fantasy football e-mails at work or using his work e-mail address. But the investigators found two instant messages that had fantasy-football-related material.

"One of my buddies sent me something about how bad Trent Edwards was playing or something like that," Pettigrew said. "So they called me in and talked to me for about 90 minutes on everything I ever knew about fantasy football. 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."

Read more at Star-Telegram.com

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