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Fired for Solitare At Work 680

schlick writes "The Associated Press is carrying a story about a NYC employee fired after Mayor Michael Bloomberg noticed a game of solitare on the employee's desktop at work." From the article: "Greenwood, who earned $27,000 a year and had worked in the office for six years, said in a telephone interview that he limited his play time to his one-hour lunch or during quick breaks when he needed a moment of distraction. 'It wasn't like I spent hours and hours a day playing, because I had plenty to do,' Greenwood said. 'If I had been working at something exhaustively for two hours, I might get a cup of coffee and play for a minute but then go right back to my work.'"
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Fired for Solitare At Work

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  • by trickonion ( 943942 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:36PM (#14691883) Homepage
    If they enforced this I think about 99% of the slashdotters would be fire. I know I'd be 0wned
  • Terms of use (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Unknown_monkey ( 938642 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:36PM (#14691884)
    What was his computer policy at work? If I do it, I'm fired if they want to enforce it.
    • Re:Terms of use (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mrs. Grundy ( 680212 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:54PM (#14692001) Homepage
      I'm sure a lot of places of similar policies. To me, though, the disconcerting part of this story isn't that someone got fired for playing solitaire, it's that the mayor came in and fired somebody of whose work performance he was ignorant based on one impression. This guy could have been the most productive person in the building for all the mayor knew. If I was in charge of this employee I would have been seriously pissed if someone came in and decided to fire my employee. It's arrogance and micromanagement taken to an extreme height. On the other hand it appears this guy new the mayor was coming to shake his hand and have a photo taken and left the game up--that's really not so bright.
      • Re:Terms of use (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gswallow ( 115437 ) <> on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:11PM (#14692082) Homepage
        Oh come on.

        The frickin' MAYOR is coming to your office. Not of Paducah, KY, but of New York City. He probably hasn't been there for three years. Don't you think you'd better make yourself a little more presentable?
        • Re:Terms of use (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Midnight Warrior ( 32619 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @12:54AM (#14692765) Homepage

          If a big-time politician came wandering through my cube, (and a couple have) you have two obligations: clean up your desk, and greet the distinguished visitor with a smile. If your boss asked you to work during the tour, let's not be an idiot about it - find some work, or at least repeat some work you've already done. The VIP doesn't know the difference. "Sir, I'm working on an analysis of the workload levels of the T&M contractors the city hires to see if we're getting a good return on our contracts." Never mind it was something you did 3 months ago.

          Oh, and don't act like you aren't the BOFH that opens up old network statistics charts or network snoops, pouring over them when the big boss comes in. "Sir, I'm tracking through some anomalous network activity our SOA layer got during last night's advertising during the Olympics opening ceremony."

          Anybody caught doing something stupid when a VIP is in the room deserves what they get. It's like seeing a cop in the median a mile ahead and then getting the bright idea to shift four lanes of traffic and pass on the right. You're begging for it. "My cell phone rang and I was just trying to honor good road safety rules, officer." Yeesh.

        • by Martz ( 861209 )
          Ob. Bill Hicks Quote:

          'Hicks, how come you're not working.'
          I'd go, 'There's nothing to do.'
          'Well, you pretend like you're working.'
          'Well, why don't you pretend I'm working? Yeah, you get paid more than me, you fantasise. Pretend I'm mopping. Knock yourself out. I'll pretend they're buying stuff; we can close up. I'm the boss now, you're fired. How's that? I'm on a fucking roll. We're all millionaires and you're dick. I'm pretending shit, I'm wacky, I can't be stopped.'

          I don't know if I have the right attitud
      • Re:Terms of use (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:12PM (#14692088) Journal
        I work in a different industry but its like this where I work.

        I do I.T. work at an amusement park but I also drive trams when its busy because its what I did before I got promoted. Anyway the CEO here has fire d people for sitting down at work and for even using a cell phone in a private break area away from guests. No cells allowed nor is looking like your not working in front of guests allowed. Cells outside of the public are allowed but its different when he is around. Even though I work in IT, I was asked by him why I was not picking cigarette butts where I was volunteering to work (clearing trams). I would have been termed onsite and to me its silly but that is just business as usual.
        • Re:Terms of use (Score:3, Insightful)

          Ok, but those conditions (as I would assume) were made up clear up-front, and ifnot, the first time you'd make the 'offence' he would (and again, I assume) give you at least a first (and last) warning.

          Whereas it probably also was made clear beforehand that playing games during businesshours was prohibited in the case of the NYC employee, there could at least have been a 'final warning' or serious discussion: What this guy did is purely covering his own ass: -HE- wanted to be a publicity whore, he'd better

        • Re:Terms of use (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Bad D.N.A. ( 753582 ) <> on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:46PM (#14692239)
          ...has fired people for sitting down at work and for even using a cell phone in a private break area away from guests.

          Sounds to me like it's time to get a new job.

          If you are good at what you do, then why are you putting up with these kind of working conditions?

          My recomendation is to quit NOW
      • Re:Terms of use (Score:3, Informative)

        by Syberghost ( 10557 )
        I'm sorry, but at this point, one's work history is irrelevant. There have been so many people fired for playing games that playing a game at work, even if it complies with the written words of your company's policies, is such an act of monumental stupidity that it marks the offender as someone with such colossaly bad judgement that they are clearly not to be trusted making decisions for your business, at any level.

        I mean, you KNOW this will probably get you fired, you KNOW that people can see you doing it
    • Re:Terms of use (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <> on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:37PM (#14692199) Homepage Journal
      Two of my clients had a no games policy. However, they had me remove all games from the computers. This way, there was no temptation. One went further, and had me install squid with a list of approved websites needed for business. Everything else was blocked.

      It really is unreasonable to have such policies without some kind of technical help to enforce them. It doesn't need to be bullet proof - it just makes things easier for the employees honestly trying to follow the policy.

      A related issue is the monthly limit on total bytes transferred with my cable company TOS. I wouldn't mind it, if only they provided a meter on their website somewhere where I could see how much I had left for the month. Without that, I am just guessing and hoping they don't get strict on me all of a sudden. I know I could build a system to track it myself using iptables - but haven't got around to it yet.

  • by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:37PM (#14691887) Journal
    Topic hitting close to home - or am I really first?
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:37PM (#14691897)
    If you can get fired for playing solitaire, then you can (and most likely will) get fired for anything. Some employers randomly fire people. It's unfortunate. Solitaire is just an excuse though. Excuses are easy to find.
    • by rob_squared ( 821479 ) <.moc.derauqs-bor. .ta. .bor.> on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:56PM (#14692012)
      Most employers also try to fire someone because they aren't liked, or if they are perceved as a liability to the company. And let me explain what that means.

      There is a person at a company I work for, that gets the mandatory levels of productivity needed to keep the job. They are also very outspoken about company issues, which disagree with the current practices (union and so on). So every time he gets audited (monthly process) they purposefully find his worst interactions in the hopes that he'll be below standard and they can fire him. Some people didn't believe this so he purposefully made a small mistake in one interaction and wrote down the ID of that interaction. The next month, that was the one audited. This has been shown more than once, and they're just waiting for an "approved" reason to terminate employment.

      This kind of discrimination does exist, they just hide it behind protocol and procedure.
    • I'm sure there were also political motivations that would not be present in a normal corporate environment.

      If you work in a public office, you've got people coming in and out all day, many of which are ordinary citizens. All it takes is one person to notice and say, "Oh, I am paying for that guy to play Solitaire." Something like that may come out against you in an news article or in your re-election campaign.

      So yes, he looks like an asshole, but then again, he also looks like he's stongly protecting the
  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by missing000 ( 602285 )
    Really now, don't you know that what you do at work WITH COMPANY RESOURCES is up to the (shock) COMPANY?
    • Re:So? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Of course. Their computers, their rules.

      However, one could make the argument that, since the game was installed, it was 'approved' for use....
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:50PM (#14691983) Homepage Journal
      The problem isn't that it's not within their rights (in my state, we have at-will employment and you can be fired for damn near anything). The problem is that some employers fail to recognize that eight full hours of productivity isn't a realistic goal. In this case, he claims to use solitaire for a "quick distraction." When I'm stuck on a problem, I take a walk, play a game of Sudoku [], or check Slashdot. Sometimes it's a change of scenery that refreshes me. Other times its simply a change of perspective. In either case, it's important to realize that any employee who consistently claims to be productive for 100% of his time is lying.

      I've worked for employers that didn't understand this. Burnout and turnover rates were astonishingly high. Meanwhile, I've worked for employers that recognized the value of this kind of freedom/flexibility. They also realized the non-value of an employee that needs to get away.

      Solitaire/minesweeper/Sudoku or the occasional "why don't you go home early" often translates to a refreshed and more productive employee tomorrow.
    • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:05PM (#14692051)
      Really now, don't you know that what you do at work WITH COMPANY RESOURCES is up to the (shock) COMPANY?

      Yep. It's like my parents and I when I was in high school:

      Mom: "Okay, what car are you taking?"

      Me: "My car."

      Dad: *COUGHAHEM*

      Me: "The car which I am permitted to use."

      Dad: "Have fun!"

      I see it all the time- employees get very posessive about their computers. The word "my" is thrown around very casually, they get attached to them, etc. Hell, I worked at places where people (almost exclusively sales staff) would take laptops with them when let go, and they'd act REALLY pissed when we called them and asked for them back. Some we had to literally harass the CRAP out of, to get machines returned- and when they were, they'd invariably be damaged, usually the keyboard and mouse/trackpad buttons; it was clear they whacked the shit out of it with a shoe or something just to piss us off.*

      It's equipment. Capital. I don't see a machine shop operator getting pissed when he's fired and he can't take the mill home with him...

      *I've also had to lock sales people out of databases WHILE they were getting "The Talk", because in the past, every single one of their predecessors had immediately logged in to the customer database from home and dumped it... un frigging believeable. Never had more trouble with terminated/let go employees than with sales dweebs/bimbos. ZERO morals, which I'd like to think was part of the reason they were fired.

    • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      The issue is not that the company has a right to determine the employee can and can't do at work, at least to a degree. The issue is the companies inability to manage resources. I have often said a big problem with MS Windows is it's inability to install an OS suitable for business use. Why do we need solitaire, minesweeper, and media cores on a machine that will be used to run billing software, for instance?

      The bottom line is that if a company does not want an employee to use a resource, then they com

      • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drsmithy ( 35869 )
        I have often said a big problem with MS Windows is it's inability to install an OS suitable for business use. Why do we need solitaire, minesweeper, and media cores on a machine that will be used to run billing software, for instance?

        It is so trivially easy to remove or disable access to this sort of software, that it boggles the mind anyone would even consider trying to make an issue out of it.

  • by Perp Atuitie ( 919967 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:40PM (#14691916)
    of the rest of the undeserving rich who haven't the slightest clue about how work gets done.
    • Is there some top secret "solitaire code" that no one has told me about? One that performs your work for you? I guess I didn't get the memo.
    • by zorander ( 85178 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @12:59AM (#14692788) Homepage Journal
      Bloomberg build one of the largest privately held companies from the world from the ground up. His coworkers, some of whom I know, testify whenever possible as to the sweat and intensity he put into the business and how wonderful he was to work for. The benefits offered at his company are among the best in the industry. It's hard to accuse him of not understanding how work gets done or how to/not to treat employees in light of what he's accomplished in his life, in particular from a management perspective.

      Also, if the employee were so indispensible, I assume his manager would have defended him and done whatever possible to give him another chance. Honestly, if the man got fired by a chance remark, even coming out of Bloomberg's mouth, he probably was on the line already for other reasons.
  • "The workplace is not an appropriate place for games," Bloomberg said. "It's a place where you've got to do the job that you're getting paid for."

    I'd cut him a little more slack, if I didn't know a few bosses just like him that managed things so poorly there was plenty of downtime. Of course, I suppose uber-capitalists like himself would say that whenever that occurs you're supposed to clock out so you can save the company your wages...
  • Rules (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:41PM (#14691920) Homepage Journal
    If he was playing on a break or on his lunch time, i dont see an issue. If his job wasnt getting done fire him..

    That was a scumbag move of the mayor, firing him without even talking to him.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:41PM (#14691921) Homepage Journal
    Office assistant Edward Greenwood IX was going over some papers at his desk as Bloomberg made the rounds with his photographer, greeting workers and posing for pictures. When the mayor reached him, Greenwood stood, they shook hands and the photographer snapped a photo.

    -- and --

    "I expect all city workers, including myself, to work hard," the mayor said. "There's nothing wrong with taking a break, but during the business day, at your desk, that's not appropriate behavior."

    Yep, workin' hard there, Mr. Mayor. Workin' hard.
  • by alyawn ( 694153 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:42PM (#14691922)
    Smoking. Co-workers that smoke use up far more time than those that blow off steam with Solitare. When you see an employee playing Enemy Territory, *then* you need to worry.
    • You only have to worry if you're the one assigned to firing him! (I suggest asking if he's a member of the NRA first)
  • When you know the boss is going to be around, with reporters, why would you be playing a game on your computer? I'm sorry the guy lost his job, and yes, I think a reprimand would have been more appropriate, but still, he wasn't very bright.

    • "but still, he wasn't very bright."

      The guy was an office assistant working for the City.
      Do you actually expect someone at that job to be even marginally intelligent?
      If so, you never dealt with government (epsecially NYC) employees.

  • by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:43PM (#14691932) Journal
    The only question I have about the story is what kind of crappy job is there in the Mayor's office - that pays less than 30k a year - IN FRIGGING MANHATTAN? I guess he'll have to change jobs - and get to STOP EATING TOP-RAMEN.
  • by LordSnooty ( 853791 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:43PM (#14691937)
    ... must be a Freecell fan.
  • by digidave ( 259925 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:44PM (#14691943)
    Can we all agree that this guy is lying. Of course he played for more than a few minutes. We all have our necessary distractions. I browse Slashdot. My boss downloads hockey fights and forwards me Nigerian email scams (I kid you not!).

    Every good manager knows that employees need a bit of time to themselves. Just look at Google's policy for working on personal projects and what a great benefit that policy is to both Google and its employees.

    At my last job we had short Unreal Tournamet sessions one day a week and viewings in the morning, and everybody was really happy with their job. Everybody got a lot of great work done.
    • > Can we all agree that this guy is lying.

      You mean "assume", right? Perhaps it's `creative dismissal`. If I'd been fired for playing a game at lunchtime you can bet I'd be hiring a solicitor right now. Well, as soon as I finish this level...
  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:45PM (#14691947) Homepage
    We were in the process of replacing our beloved VAXstations with high-end (60 MHz!) Pentium PCs running Windows 3.1. One of the big wigs was walking through the data center, and noticed a programmer playing Solotaire. He asks, "What is she doing?". A co-worker in the neighboring cube notices the situation and defuses the crisis by spewing a load of BS: "She's doing mouse calibration; they have you use this program, so the pointer on the screen can be aligned with the roller ball inside the mouse. It only takes a few minutes and it lines up the pointer for you."
    • by sparkz ( 146432 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @11:16PM (#14692347) Homepage
      When I did PC support, there was a new-hire secretary who had no Windows experience. (This was in the days of Win3.1). I showed her how to find the games, as these would help her to use the mouse. Without that, she'd no idea about what the mouse did, or what it was for.
    • We were in the process of replacing our beloved VAXstations with high-end (60 MHz!) Pentium PCs running Windows 3.1. One of the big wigs was walking through the data center, and noticed a programmer playing Solotaire. He asks, "What is she doing?"

      Your boss was absolutely correct in questioning why a programmer was in the data center.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:45PM (#14691949) Homepage Journal
    Smokers take their 15 minute morning and afternoon breaks. And they will band together to ensure that no one imposes rules against them. Hell, unions have even been used to protect the glorious smoke break. But what about non-smokers? Ever since I quite smoking I have also quit taking 15 minute breaks. Now, when I need a break, I hit slash dot, check my email, and try to let my brain relax. So yeah, some hard ass could can me for "abusing web privledges", but I can point out to him how my web browsing is inplace of smoking, and by browsing the web I am saving him thousands of dollars in sick time and increased health insurance premiums.

    • When I worked at a gov. office, and every one of my co-workers took smoke breaks, I very insistently took reading breaks. Whenever a manager tried to call me on it, I asked why the smokers could wander off whenever they wanted to.

      I do believe I had one boss try to claim that was different because "smoking is an addiction". My response was on the order of "well... reading is my addiction."
    • I'm a non-smoker and I take my 15 minute breaks just like any smoker. The only difference is that instead of smoking I walk around the block meditating. This is good for many reasons. Eye strain reduction, RSI prevention, and spiritual needs (which to me is a hands-off area...I don't care what anyone says -- the world may collapse and I will still take a 15 minute meditation break if I feel the need).
    • Under California law, your employee is required to give you two breaks during the day on the clock if you work an eight hour shift. At my last job they were so anal they tried to insist I clock out for my two breaks. Not only did I always ignore this demand, I printed out the part of the labor code that specified my break rights and posted it prominently.

      Now I work at a better paying job where there is no time clock and my boss smokes more than me. When I take a smoke break, it's usually with my boss and
  • Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:46PM (#14691956) Homepage
    So let's get this straight. The guy works the same menial office job for six years, his salary was only $27,000, and Mayor Bloomberg fires him for taking a break during the workday at his desk, which according to the mayor was "not appropriate behavior."

    I mean ... would you cry about it? I can't think of any greater favor Bloomberg could have done for this guy than to get him the fuck outta there.
  • by jzarling ( 600712 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:50PM (#14691982)
    I worked in a call center for more time than I would like to admit, and every month or so a new policy like this would come down the pipe.
    As an act of civil disobedience I made solitare my wall paper, and removed all my icons.
  • Evil breeds evil... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thunderstruck ( 210399 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:51PM (#14691989)
    Nobody ever gets fired for playing tabletop role playing games at work. At least, nobody I ever heard of. Surely this is because computer games are so much more detrimental to productivity.

    On a related note, back in Law School, most folks used laptops to take notes. The Dean used to walk through the back of class from time to time. If he was in a particularly bad mood, he'd signal the professor teaching to call on whoever was playing solitare. Getting "called on" in law school is often just as unpleasant in real life as it appears in movies like "Legally Blonde." More so when you're playing solitare and not paying attention. It was evil, really.

    Nobody ever got kicked out of school for it though.
  • by gold23 ( 44621 ) <<org.slashdot.2> <at> <>> on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:53PM (#14691993) Homepage
    Fired For Reading Slashdot Article About Worker Who Was Fired For Solitaire At Work
  • Not NYC - Albany (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joiseybill ( 788712 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:56PM (#14692010)
    "...The Republican mayor stopped by the city's legislative office in Albany a few weeks ago ..." Cost of living in Albany is considerably lower than NYC. Original article also implies this guy had been reminded of the computer policies in 2004. Sounds like a repeat offender, and moreover he embarrassed the boss in front of company.
    • Re:Not NYC - Albany (Score:4, Informative)

      by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:25PM (#14692144)
      Original article also implies this guy had been reminded of the computer policies in 2004. Sounds like a repeat offender, and moreover he embarrassed the boss in front of company.

      No, what it said was, "The mayor's office said its records show that in 2004 Greenwood reviewed the policy that prohibits "inappropriate" use of city computers." That means that they gave everyone a written copy of the AUP and had everyone sign something saying they received a copy of it and read it, something that practically everyone that works in an office of any size does in this day and age. It doesn't in any way imply that he'd broken the rules at any time.
  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:16PM (#14692113)
    Somehow I doubt the managers who love to fire people for "time-theft" of this nature are busy 100% of the time they are at work, and aren't the kind who take 2 hour lunches and skip out early on Fridays when they please. The more management creates and enforces rules against the most minute off-task behavior, the more their flagrant flaunting of such rules negatively impacts morale.

    The human mind is not designed to stay on one task for hour after hour without a few minutes of mental downtime, and failing to recognize this and not to simply expect productivity, but blind mechanical function in a sentient being is not only wrong but fails to deliver the intended results.

    It's a sad state of affairs when you realize that many people in their position tend to have a more anthropomorphic view of their pets than their employees.
  • Smokers...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heli0 ( 659560 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:17PM (#14692116)
    ... are allowed to take a 5-10 minute break every hour in order to get their fix? Is someone waiting outside to fire them for wasting time?

  • A similar story... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:25PM (#14692146) Homepage Journal
    One day Henry Ford was walking through his factory, when he saw a worker slouched on a crate, trimming a wire in what Ford considered to be a clumsy manner. Ford kicked the crate out from under the worker and yelled, "Get out of my factory! You're fired."

    "But Mr. Ford! You can't fire me!"

    "Why the hell not?"

    "I don't work for you! I work for the phone company!"

    • by Kurt Granroth ( 9052 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @02:13AM (#14693010)
      That sounds like a variant of a similar joke:

      A new manager is hired to bring an underproducing office up to speed. He decides that he must fire somebody on the first day to show that he means business. While walking through the office, he spots a man leaning against the wall, not doing anything. He is in a room full of workers and so decides that this is the perfect way to start.

      "You! How much do you make a week?", he bellowed at the slacker.
      "About $300," came the reply.

      The manager pulls out his wallet, peels off three hundred dollar bills, and throws them at the man.

      "Here's your money. Now get out and don't come back!"

      Feeling pretty good about the firing, he glared around room. "What was this man's job?", he asked.

      From the back of the room came the reply: "Pizza delivery man"
  • by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) * < minus poet> on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:28PM (#14692166) Homepage Journal
    I was walking down the street here in NYC and noticed a police van with the door open. Looked in and saw one of those nifty in-car laptops...

    Yup, they had left their Windows Solitaire game up on the screen.
  • by Toxictoy ( 182732 ) * <`ten.tacmoc' `ta' `tneibma'> on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:50PM (#14692250)
    Back in 1998 I was working in a helpdesk and a user who was known to be a chronic complainer called saying that she couldn't do her work as there was something wrong with MS Word. We were able to remote control workstations without users having to give permission so I connected to her workstation and what did I see?? Solitaire. Rather than let her know I could see what she was doing I kept asking her about her screen and what she could see on it - all she was doing was giving me ficticious error messages and she was actually continuing her game while she was talking to me. How I resolved the problem was to move her cards around for her and then open MS Office. Once it was open I asked her if there were any other problems she wanted to talk about. After a long silence she said "No- thank you for helping me" and hung up the phone. Needless to say we didn't hear anything from her for a while.
    • by laing ( 303349 ) on Friday February 10, 2006 @11:33PM (#14692411)
      This reminds me of the old SUN3 workstations. There was almost no security. You could remotely log into another machine, do a "screendump" to an NFS shared partition, and then do a "screenload" on your local workstation to see what anyone was doing anywhere. We used it to look at the managment plan to outsource our entire division to another state and knew about the plan 2 weeks before it was announced.
    • Uninstall?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by queenb**ch ( 446380 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @01:32AM (#14692900) Homepage Journal
      If there is software he's not supposed to be using while he's at work, why is it even installed? It is quite simple to supress the installation of all of the "Games". How's this for logic, Mr Smarty Pants Mayor...If you don't want your employees playing games, DON'T INSTALL THEM....DUH!!!! I really don't see why an employee should be fired for using software that you provided him with, even if it is a game.

      2 cents,

      Queen B
  • by Evil W1zard ( 832703 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @12:38AM (#14692688) Journal
    Policy or not its an At Will state just like most of the rest of the country and since the firing isn't because of any protected reason (race, sex, age, etc) then he's out of luck. Shit they could have fired him because they thought he talked too much or they didnt like the way he was looking at them. Right or wrong doesnt really matter when at-will rules the workforce today. Doesnt matter if there was a computer use policy or not. Sucks but its the law of the land for 49 states...

    And good luck trying to prove wrongful termination in court without blatent supporting evidence.
  • by MsWillow ( 17812 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @02:47AM (#14693096) Homepage Journal
    Every morning, while my cow-orkers and bosses wasted half an hour getting coffee and talking about TV, I spent 10-15 minutes doing a serious mental workout playing Freecell. It helped me concentrate, and enabled me to better see the consequences of my actions, something very important when fixing bugs or adding features to legacy code. However, my boss's boss only saw that I was playing a game (one that he never could win, to my 25+ game streak), and forced me to stop. So my code quality dropped, but that was irrelevant. What mattered more was that I was seen to be working harder.

    The company got bought out. He kept his job; I ended up homeless.
  • by Shag ( 3737 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @05:59AM (#14693513)
    ...on my Treo, while using the bathroom. At work. No one's complained so far.

    Of course, if I get my work done for the day, then it's Warcraft time...

    No, not on the Treo.
  • by PhYrE2k2 ( 806396 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @10:23AM (#14694077)
    Oh come on.

    Plain and simple, what you do at work must be within the guidelines of your employer and its computer usage policy.

    You wouldn't bring up quake, even for just a single frag, so why do people think it's suddenly okay to pull up solitaire, hearts, or the latest java/flash game from third party Web sites? The employer couldn't care less that you wanted only a single frag, playing games is probably against their computer policy, and this person is a clear violator of it. You wouldn't pull out a deck of cards either and start playing a game on your desk, though that'd be more of a company policy than a computer and company policy.

    So this is simply that someone didn't follow the rules and is now whining. Some employers are a bit more lax during lunch hours, and that's okay, but you should never just assume that the employer will be okay with you checking personal mail, surfing the net, or playing games during lunch.

    I'm sure what happened in more detail is a boss walked by a few times in a week at varying times (11, 2p, 3p, etc) and saw half the time that this person was playing games instead of working. The employer has every right to kick them out. They're on someone elses dollar, so they damn-well be worth it
  • Solitaire (Score:3, Funny)

    by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday February 11, 2006 @01:23PM (#14694864) Journal

    One fine day, after installing Microsoft SMS 2.0, I wanted to try out the 'server licensing' feature; install software on each computer, tell SMS how many licenses you actually have, and it lets only that many copies run at a time, queues people up, and so on.

    I decide to test it on Solitare; so I tell the thing that only one copy of sol.exe is allowed to run, fire a copy up on my desktop, try firing it up on my laptop, and sure enough, the laptop gets a message.

    A few minutes later, over comes one of the Vice Presidents, asking me to kindly turn Solitare back on.

  • by ebrandsberg ( 75344 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @01:52PM (#14694982)
    A few months ago I passed a NYC police car at night, and when I glanced in, I saw two police officers playing solitair. The next night, I passed ANOTHER police car with two cops doing the same thing. I went online, and searched for a bit, and found that yes, they WERE allowed to play it by policy during lunch and breaks. This implies it was probably general policy for the city, and as such, simply observing it on someone's desk is not grounds for termination.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.