back to article IT team sent dirt file to Police as they all bailed from abusive workplace

Welcome again to On-Call, which returns for 2017 with more tales of your fellow readers' experiences of horrible jobs at horrible times. This week, a story of horrible bosses, from “Mike” who tells us he once worked for an investment fund that handled money in a very politically correct way for positively Saintly institutions …

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An innocent question

How does El Reg verify these submissions? For some reason I find myself curious.

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Re: An innocent question

Subject to the above: well played that man.

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Re: An innocent question

I believe they use the 'does this sound cool' method.

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Re: An innocent question

I'm somewhat more interested in exactly how, in the age of effortless conjuring and vanquishing of bits at one's whim, does one judge the merit of a claim such as "all these files are coming straight off the defendant's hard disk Your Honor, I totally didn't simply acquire a random selection online and copy it into "Exhibit A" (and the off-site backup) myself, honest, Guv.". Not that I suggest "Mike" did anything of the sorts, obviously - but if he did, how would we know?

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WTF?

Re: An innocent question

Why would The Register need to verify the story? The Register does not name names, so there's zero liability if the submission is a complete work of fiction. On-Call is for entertainment.

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El Reg is not in the fact checking business

El Reg is in the tech marketing business, so why should they check?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: El Reg is not in the fact checking business

I remember losing lots of business i had with an accounts firm some years ago. Some selfish prick grassed them up to their clients so they couldnt afford to buy our videos.

We made porn with naked girls riding ponies.

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You mean

you don't have a personal saline drip for use when reading On Call?

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Re: An innocent question

The point is, most of the clients customers would have almost zero clue as to how all that stuff got there - like most innocents, they think the internet is magic, and usually hold the highest praise for the great guy that saved their computer/ years of photos/ etc...

and as you know, it just takes a few bits of 'evidence' to *really * sour customer relations...

Consider the recent 'he touched me 30 years ago' trials of superstars later proved innocent... :/

If *everyone* who had fun in the 60's was put in prison, there would be almost no one left outside... LOL

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Re: An innocent question

Agreed and upvoted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: El Reg is not in the fact checking business

Er, itym ... naked horses riding girls?

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Pint

I want this to be true as much as I would like to buy the teller one of these ->

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Uhhhmmmmm

I think we are going to have "that" discussion again.

Why accept the abuse for years on end before collectively resigning? Why not start by collectively speaking up? Why not start by collectively refusing service to those who spout the verbal abuse (starting with TOWF), perhaps supporting those that get fired with written and verbal support for their unfair dismissal case? Why not start by sending a signal (soon) by just erasing every single trace of porn from the company servers? It's not like they are going to admit in a court case they were storing objectionable materials. I highly doubt this way of handling things got the message across to TOWF. He's just going to hold a grudge for being "the victim" instead of understanding he's a c*nt.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

Well, for what very little it's worth, I can understand how this may have come about as I experienced an echo of the situation.

While working as a waitress in a West Midlands restaurant we were progressively hacked off by the behaviour of a recently arrived new restaurant manager, lately a bar steward on the Royal Yacht Britannia. After a couple of weeks, conversation revealed that the whole front of house staff and and the kitchen staff were sufficiently disgruntled to have sorted out other jobs or to be ready to walk and find something else rather than work another day. We looked ahead for the night in the next week with the most bookings (this was in the run up to Christmas) and on the last shift before that Saturday we all handed in our notices, with immediate effect indicating that we wouldn't be turning up again any time soon. Some times working in an effectively casualised industry has its advantages. This left him with a full restaurant, no staff and no chance of hiring anyone to cover that night at least. We were all in work fairly soon after and while I'm sure that he had a full staff fairly quickly, the restaurant was closed down during one of the busiest periods of the year.

So while it may not have got the point over to TOWF, I know that collective action like can happen and feels quite satisfying at the time.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"While working as a waitress in a...."

Guess what tune is now in my head...

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"lately a bar steward on the Royal Yacht Britannia"

"Guess what tune is now in my head..."

Rule Britannia?

Sorry m0rt, I couldn't resist it - Have one on me.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

Sometimes taking people to things like ACAS are not as easy as you think. I was effectively set up by a company years ago funnily enough dissmal for gross misconduct couple of days before I was supposed to be collecting my redundancy, they lawyered up I had no money at all, and had to represent myself it didn't go well.

A friend of mine last year was talking about one of her colleuages who suffered harrasment at the place she worked at, took her a year to fight and win that case and the toll it took on her mentally and to some degree physically was massive, it also cost her financially in that year until the case was won.

Sometimes a big fuck you might just be easier and more satisfying.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"'While working as a waitress in a....'

Guess what tune is now in my head."

Something by Brad Fiedel?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

@idiot. You raise some interesting questions which can, I think, be answered by applying Occam's razor. This is an obvious made up story.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"While working as a waitress in a...."

Guess what tune is now in my head...

Dear Catastrophe Waitress?

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"While working as a waitress in a...."

Guess what tune is now in my head...

Dear Catastrophe Waitress?

-- no, it's "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League (80's glam-poppers).

You are all hereby relegated from the League.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

So they're now in the Sub-Human League?

Personally I was thinking of Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. Underappreciated bass line is underappreciated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

-- no, it's "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League (80's glam-poppers).

You are all hereby relegated from the League.

We all know they knew that, really...

well, apart from Daedalus, maybe.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"Sometimes a big fuck you might just be easier and more satisfying."

Been there, done that.

While I was a student, I temporarily stacked shelves in Sainsburys. It was a soul destroying job, only made worse by a manager that was under the impression that no matter how many shelves we stacked (and it was a lot), we should be stacking more.

When I got another job (just as a cashier in Blockbuster), I took great pleasure in going to see the manager, inviting him to talk to me in the centre of the store where I worked, then telling him (loudly) that he could stick his job up his arse.

Childish? Yes. Rude? Undoubtably. But oh so satisfying..

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

Maybe the TOWF's name was Carter. As in Get Carter? And Mike looked in the mirror that morning and said I am the Law. Go on, 80s-heads, look it up. I Dare you.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

On the topic of satisfying if non professional exits...

My kid brother was a yard guy at an equipment rental place. Manager was a prick and my brother was "young, stupid, and brash" in the way most of us just past teen males tend to be.

He quit by locking himself in the managers office and getting on the PA for the yard (naturally while customers were present) and listing of his grievances in the most colorful language he was able to muster.

Pretty sure that earned him a termination for cause (which here in the states means no unemployment). Not much of a loss though and he had a new job soon enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

Alice's Restaurant?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

Excellent example of "hang together or hang separately"

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Unhappy

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

Why accept the abuse for years on end before collectively resigning? Why not start by collectively speaking up?

Because it rarely works?

My version goes like this. We had a group in a big, TLA company back in its gold plated era. A productive group, we never missed a tapeout by anything other than the expected amount (i.e. for this company we never made the fab wait more than what they were running behind). It got our manager a promotion by 2 levels, and we got a new, freshly minted manager from a different area that was chronically late and buggy.

Step 1: 3 months later 25 people scheduled a group meeting with the former manager's and his subordinate who was our manager's manager, presented how badly he was treating us and how badly he was managing the schedule. "All proper concern" was expressed to our complaint, and "corrective action would be taken."

Step 2: after 6 months of nothing being done, two individuals were chosen to begin feeling out opportunities with external companies for the entire group. We had 3 bids and ...

Step 3: after 3 months of searching, 24 people put 24 15-minute appointments on our former manager's calendar to hand in our resignations. The new company was certainly better than the TLA with the infamous bureaucracy and paid better, but the important factor that going to work was fun again, and we actually got to do work rather than spend all our time avoiding management abuse. The TLA got out of that business line soon after that, as they never were able to put out another competitive chip in that market segment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"On the topic of satisfying if non professional exits..."

I once faxed my notice. On a Sunday night. Stating that I would not be in on Monday. Why? Let's just say that not paying your employees really motivates them.

The owner then fabricated quite an interesting story which he told the police. Fortunately this was easily debunkable. Had to take him to small claims court to get paid too.

Also called the MS piracy hotline to report sales of several computers with unlicensed MS operating systems to government agencies throughout the country (this was after the 1995 consent decree).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

The new company was certainly better than the TLA with the infamous bureaucracy and paid better, but the important factor that going to work was fun again, and we actually got to do work rather than spend all our time avoiding management abuse. The TLA got out of that business line soon after that, as they never were able to put out another competitive chip in that market segment.

Hmmmm..... "IBM" has three letters...

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

@imanidiot wrote: I think we are going to have "that" discussion again. Why accept the abuse for years on end before collectively resigning?

Obligatory xlcd cartoon:

xlcd: Settling - Life Scorecard (I'm not really happy here but maybe this is the best I can expect)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

They probably should have contacted the police first, before resigning, and not alerted the muppets that people were aware of what was going on.

That way evidence could be collected properly, and the muppets dealt with appropriately.

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Re: Uhhhmmmmm

Admiral Grace Hopper, Ma'am - stellar work leading your League of Humans to pastures new and better. (Sorry, couldn't quite work the title of 'Star Force - Alpha Centauri' in there, but I did my best)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

>Also called the MS piracy hotline to report sales of several computers with unlicensed MS operating systems

FAST pay incentives to whistleblowers - there's an unerring correlation between abusive dicks in power and sloppy licensing practice IME. I've never done it due to the collateral damage factor, but I've worked in places where 5% of the historical use payment would have comfortably cleared my mortgage..

http://www.fast.org/what-piracy/use-unlicensed-software

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Anonymous Coward

Scumita

I worked for Scumita & was sacked 2months shy of my 2 year.

I heard from my PM he was meeting someone in London the next day. When I followed up I got an auto-reply "I no longer work for Scumita!"

Apparently you walked in, the manager read his script, took your mobile & laptop off you and security walked you out of the building.

25% of the division sacked before Xmas.

Lovely!

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What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

My first thought was that TOWF would claim IT staff put the material there and doesn't know anything about it, especially if you have been opening files to verify their contents. Do you really want to go up against a character like that? Especially if they have the presumed weight of their reputation and the skill to maintain a fake image for so long. An tactful email to his clients etc saying that they have discovered a rouge IT person with discusting habits and that they need some support will probably get everyone on his side!

I think first instance is inform a higher-up who isnt involved or failing that go directly to authorities without tampering with the material and reviewing as little of it ias possible (just enough to be sure).

This whole situlation terrifies me and frankly I'd have left long ago.

Edit: the article doesnt clearly state what the material was but reading between the lines it seems to be some kind of abuse/child porn??

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Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

"My first thought was that TOWF would claim IT staff put the material there and doesn't know anything about it, especially if you have been opening files to verify their contents."

Financial institutions will have good backups. Those backups will go back quite a long time, some longer than a couple of years. So if there was something the plod would investigate, it would be well within the realms of possibility that form, and age of some of the files, could be established.

I don't know if it is true or not. But I know of a ex-colleague who worked in the City as IT, and his stories seem to back up the existence of arrogrant pricks who will become IT support in Hell when they get there.

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Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

> This whole situlation terrifies me and frankly I'd have left long ago.

It's easy to say that from the outside, but when you are in these situations, it is far more difficult to act decisively, especially under a regime of constant denigration, designed to make you question yourself and your own standards.

My own experience is that there are some people who deal with large quantities of other people's money who come to believe that they are worth that money, and identify with the power they imagine on that money, as though it was their own. Those people invariably behave in a most unpleasant way, and take a lot of trouble to ensure that any perceived underlings have as much power exerted against them as possible; it's the only power they really have. And while they tend to fold when confronted, they will lash out in a way that damages as many people around them as possible. That's a powerful deterrent.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

> This whole situlation terrifies me and frankly I'd have left long ago.

Yup.

These people are narcissists or sociopaths and you have to DESTROY them without recourse. This is indeed hard and will involve talking to a lawyer, then tipping off the cops. Quite possibly a bit of those "funds" were not being used in the way the clients intended either, who knows.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

I worked at a company where there was a healthy load of banter in the office and people didn't run to HR or their lawyer if someone made an inappropriate joke or remark. The company hadn't had a policy about online tasteful videos for a while after the high speed internet connection had been installed. They did eventually have a fairly draconian one which the lawyers had insisted on. Even so it wasn't a bad place to work and I enjoyed it. So it was very odd when someone didn't turn up to work one day and was absent for a couple more and then their desk was cleared. Questions were raised as to what had happened to cause this rapid departure only response was that he had left the firm.

Then someone in IT was going through his computer looking for anything relating to his current work that needed to be passed on to someone else. They found he was using a 'chat room' (can't remember exactly what it was) and that he had been chatting to members of the opposite sex about the opposite sex and things he'd like to do to them/them to do to him. His removal had obviously been so swift that he hadn't had a chance to close the browser and the machine had gone into standby. Copies of what he'd written (he'd made txt file copies of previous sessions) were distributed around the building until management found out about it and this was stamped on....which coincidentally was what he was asking someone.........

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Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

I had some thing like that happen. I was in company chat room and lady name sheila said had to go. Then Some idiot made the comment she is late for a cross burning. He truly did not understand why it was inappropriate or why I got mad.

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Re: what the material was

The article mentions a girl and pony video, so presumably bestiality, which is illegal under UK law. (And it mentions Scotland Yard, so presumably UK law applies.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

Why are these wayward/maverick (dare I say roguish?) IT persons so often of the red variety?

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Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

"Those backups will go back quite a long time, some longer than a couple of years. "

Almost all of them will be vastly longer than that. 7 to 10 is pretty much standard in financial services.

Mine's the one with the fireproof data safe in the pocket.

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Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

"Then someone in IT was going through his computer looking for anything relating to his current work that needed to be passed on to someone else"

Believe it or not, unless this is signed off from "on very high" or the recently departed, that 'someone in IT' can find themselves prosecuted and the organisation investigated by the ICO for DPA breaches. In general for such cases it's best to have a witness when doing the work.

Circulating personal data such as chat logs for personal amusement can result in other charges too.

There's a reason the lawyers write draconian policies when someone thinks to consult them.

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Re: what the material was

It could have just been naked girls innocently riding.... erm, wait that came out wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is the correct protocol for dealing with this material?

Yeah they had someone present from HR watching what was looked at by the IT Support person and it therefore must have been signed of by the head of HR. There was absolutely zero chance that the sacked person was going to complain about anything given they'd broken at least three of the IT rules in the employment manual, and at least four of the others. They were lucky not to get chased by the company lawyers for the cost of removing some bit of malware or other from his machine.

As someone pointed out though it did say in the employment work manual that stuff written on company computers whether for business purposes or otherwise was copyright of the company and it was a condition of your employment that you accepted this. You were not permitted to use your work email for personal messages for this reason.

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Re: what the material was

"It could have just been naked girls innocently riding.... "

Honest yer 'onour I just typed Pony Club into the search bar.............

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