Linkedin CV forces Exec to resign

Linkedin profile forces John Flexman out of job

Linkedin CV forces Exec to resign
A human resources executive was forced out of his job after angering his employer by putting his CV online and advertising that he was interested in other “career opportunities”, a tribunal heard. Original story here

Ticked a box to register an interest in “career opportunities”

John Flexman, 34, is thought to be the first person in the country to bring a case for constructive dismissal after a dispute with bosses over his profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn.
Mr Flexman is claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds from BG Group, a major gas exploration firm based in Reading, Berks, where he earned a £68,000 salary in charge of graduate recruitment.
As well as loading his CV onto the site, Mr Flexman ticked a box to register an interest in “career opportunities”.
But he was contacted by his manager while on holiday in the United States and ordered to remove his CV. On his return he was accused of “inappropriate use of social media” and called to attend an internal disciplinary hearing.
He was handed a list of disciplinary charges and told he could be sacked, Reading Employment Tribunal heard.

Confidential information in his CV

BG Group said he was in breach of new company policy on conflicts of interest which it said banned employees ticking the “career opportunities” box.
He was also accused of including confidential information in his CV such as details about how he had reduced firm’s the rate of staff attrition.
However, Mr Flexman claims the details he posted were available in the company’s annual reports and that 21 of his colleagues, including the manager of the disciplinary process, had ticked the “career opportunities” box but had not been disciplined.
Mr Flexman, a married father of a two-year-old daughter, said: “In his email Mr [Antony] Seigel [Mr Flexman’s manager] said that a complaint had been made about my LinkedIn profile and that I was required to remove it immediately.
“He told me to remove from my profile all information regarding BG Group except for job titles and dates. I did not think this was reasonable.
“It seemed to me that the focus of the charge sheet was the posting of my CV online.”
LinkedIn is social networking service similar to Facebook, but focused on building professional rather than personal relationships. More than eight million British members are encouraged to keep a record of their skills and experience online and up-to-date to help them make useful business contacts.
The dispute over his profile led to Mr Flexman’s resignation in June following a breakdown in his relationship with senior executives.
The case raises broad issues for how employees use websites such as LinkedIn. According to a study of the service in 2007, around half its members indicate they are interested in career opportunities on their profile.
“We welcome the opportunity to present our case at the tribunal, the appropriate forum,” a spokesman for BG Group said.
“We will defend our position but do not wish to pre-empt the tribunal’s ruling by commenting further.”
The hearing continues.

We always caution about Linkedin and this story is a timely reminder that whilst Linkedin can be a great asset, you should always err on the side of caution when constructing your profile. I gave a warning on this in October and this story provides a very good reason for reading it once more.

5 Responses to Linkedin CV forces Exec to resign

  • Brett

    I quit LinkedIn – I got fed up with all the emails it kept sending me. I think it was a waste of time to be on there anyway.

  • Paul

    That’s a fair point and one that could be made about all social media – if we stand back it really is a wall of noise! Conversely, I see the benefit but I think someone needs to work out where the volume dial is 😎

  • Richa

    Everything has it pros and cons. LinkedIn has benefited many people by helping them get good opportunities. The news that you have mentioned, must be counted as a drawback.

    • Paul

      Hi Richa,
      I agree Linkedin will continue to benefit more and more people. It’s probable to suppose that as it becomes accepted practice to use Linkedin that there will be companies that enforce confidentiality policies upon staff to try and curtail individuals from actively using Linkedin to find employment when in contract. However, this case could be crucial and even landmark in its outcome.

  • abhishek

    I think this is one off type of incident, overall the benefits that linkedin provides are a lot more in comparison to such one off incidences…linkedin is one of the most sought after medium for recruiters and employers these days and will continue to do so.

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