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He Got FIRED! Posting His Resume on LinkedIn, while Employed.

He Got FIRED! Posting His Resume on LinkedIn, while Employed.

An executive who posted his CV online was forced out of his job because he was stated he was interested in ‘career opportunities’, a tribunal heard today.

John Flexman is thought to be the first person in the country to bring a case for constructive dismissal after a dispute over putting his details on the professional networking site LinkedIn.

The 34-year-old, who is a former manager in the British Army, is pursuing a claim potentially worth hundreds of thousands of pounds against BG Group, a gas exploration company based in Reading, Berkshire, where he earned £68,000 pounds a year as Graduate and Development Manager.

As well as loading his CV onto the site, Mr Flexman ticked the box to register an interest in ‘career opportunities’.

But he was contacted by his manager whilst on a family 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.

The firm said he was in breach of new company policy on conflicts of interest which, it claims, bans employees from ticking the ‘career opportunities’ box.

Mr Flexman was also accused of citing bad practices at the company on the LinkedIn website to portray himself in a positive light, to further his career.

Ian Gatt QC, representing BG Group, said: ‘In effect what you were saying was ‘what a terrible place this is but what a great job I’ve done’.

‘Other people from the company were on LinkedIn but none of those people made derogatory comments like you.’

Mr Flexman conceded: ‘What I should have done in hindsight was give it a bit more consideration as to what content I put on the website.

‘But did I do it to further my career? That’s absolute nonsense.’

Mr Flexman's LinkedIn profile shows that he has now got a job at Buro Happold, a construction firm with offices in Bath and LondonMr Flexman’s LinkedIn profile shows that he is now working for Buro Happold, a construction firm with offices in Bath and London

Mr Flexman claimed the company had a vendetta against him and had started a witch-hunt to get him ‘booted out.’

He said that the company had tried to offer him a compromise agreement of three months wages for him to leave, without him initiating such a negotiation – against employment law.

He also claimed the disciplinary hearing and process had been flawed from the outset.

He was also accused of including confidential information in his CV such as details about how he had reduced the rate of ‘staff attrition’.

Mr Flexman, in cross-examination by the company at the tribunal today, admitted going into ‘too much detail’ on the CV which was publicly open for anybody to view.

In the CV Mr Flexman, who had worked at BG Group in various roles for eight years, stated the company had ‘inadequate and ineffective global resource planning’, ‘lacked active talent management’ and highlighted the fact the president of the firm’s Italian branch was arrested over allegations of corruption.

However Mr Flexman, from Andover, Hampshire, claims the details were available in the company’s annual reports and that 21 of his colleagues, including the manager of the disciplinary process, had ticked the box but had not been disciplined.

On his return to work he was handed a list of disciplinary charges and told he could be sacked, Reading Employment Tribunal heard.

Mr Flexman said: ‘It seemed to me that the focus of the charge sheet was the posting of my CV online.

‘I felt like I was being singled out. It is an infringement of my personal liberty (being ordered to remove CV from website). It is in essence my public CV.

‘It should not be a problem for me to have a LinkedIn profile.’

Mr Gatt told the tribunal the company’s legal department had received an anonymous complaint about Mr Flexman’s LinkedIn account and said he was ordered to take down just two paragraphs from the CV which were ‘negative towards the company’.

The dispute led to Mr Flexman’s resignation in June 2011. The hearing continues.

A spokesman for the company said: ‘BG Group has no issue with employees posting CVs on LinkedIn or any other site.’

The hearing at the Reading Employment Tribunal centre was adjourned.

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    He already got hired by Buro Happold as international HR Manager.

  3. I think we are very quick to judge. If this had happened overnight and he wasn’t aware of the new policy change, then he may have some ground to stand on. If this bad publicity about the company was in the Annual report, I would have left it there, and not put it into the CV. Why put negative info on your CV anyway. To much is not known.

  4. well I think he could have hidden his profile on linkedin from his company. He could have done this well in advance.
    I hope some people learn from this mistakes.

  5. Well we will never how it really went. What was the real relationships out there.

    But if he posted negative comments about them (that’s stupid already) then something wasn’t OK.

    I would fire him straight away.

  6. “However Mr Flexman, from Andover, Hampshire, claims the details were available in the company’s annual reports and that 21 of his colleagues, including the manager of the disciplinary process, had ticked the box but had not been disciplined.”

    If this is true, it suggests that there were other reasons that the company wanted him out and were using the “new policy” as an excuse.

    There has to be more to this. For instance, why didn’t he just take down the two paragraphs the company felt portrayed them negatively?

  7. What I find interesting is the comment that Mr. Flexman was in breach of a new company policy. I would certainly like to see that in a policy manual before I made any decision regarding his inappropriate use of Social Media.
    And, why would they call him on holiday? Sounds like the company wasn’t considerate of his time away… this matter could have waited until he returned. I agree that there isn’t any evidence that Mr. Flexman was a bad employee.

  8. Karia,

    How do you know that he wasn’t a good employee? Where’s your evidence? The article provides no facts to show that he was incompetent.

    Clearly, there was an issue with his LinkedIn account. Wouldn’t it make more sense for his employer to just inform him that he should adjust his profile?

    Also, why is it hard to believe that an employer might not be vindictive and cruel to an employee because of a petty sense of betrayal? Employers are human beings.

  9. This is an interesting article. People should be able to put anything on their social networks or anywhere else as long as what they put does not harm anyone else.

    Mr. Flexman walked a fine line and made some mistakes by making some apparently negative statements about the company. Those should not be aired in a public forum.

    In fat negative comments about anyone or any company should not be made in a public forum, unless it is about a politician. ;-)

    Finally, a company should not have to give any reason for letting someone go from their employment, period.

    Apparently, Mr Flexman did not like his job and the company did not like having him there. So they should just be able to dismiss him with some severance package to allow him to find something else.

  10. It appears to me that Mr. Flexman wasn’t a very desirable employee who needed to be performance managed out. Instead, he has chosen to believe checking a tic box and posting his resume to LinkedIn are the reasons.

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