back to article RuneScape bloke was wrongly sacked after reading veep's salary details on office printer

A RuneScape artist who found a document on an office printer that stated a senior veep's salary and mentioned it to colleagues was wrongly fired by red-faced managers, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled. John McCambridge, a lead concept artist on the long-running massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG), …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personal Usage

    careless senior veep Hamza Mudassir left a copy of his mother-in-law's visa application on an office printer

    I bet if an office junior left a copy of a visa application for a relative on an office printer, they would have been fired for using company property for personal use.

    So why hasn't the senior veep been repremanded for using company property for personal use?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Personal Usage

      Also, for spending working time to take care of personal tasks. Of course, with such a pay, he can't afford a printer, ink and paper, at his, we must guess, small home....

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Personal Usage

      I'm somewhat surprised that he didn't have his own printer.

      Certainly the old "I sometimes need to print out confidential documents" excuse was trotted out by most of the managers at my last job to justify why they wantedrequired their own personal printers.

      I did offer to show them how the 'print lock' function on the main printer worked, but somehow it didn't meet their needs, which at the time I thought were more based around not having to walk 10m across the office, but now I understand might have been more based around making sure no one saw their attempts to claim dinner with their mistress, as expenses.

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Personal Usage

        I did offer to show them how the 'print lock' function on the main printer worked, but somehow it didn't meet their needs, which at the time I thought were more based around not having to walk 10m across the office, but now I understand might have been more based around making sure no one saw their attempts to claim dinner with their mistress, as expenses.

        And the one downvote was from somebody with a mistress....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Personal Usage

          Hopefully not poking her at the same time as the mouse!

      2. anoncow

        Re: Personal Usage

        He may not actually know how to operate a printer.

    3. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Personal Usage

      "So why hasn't the senior veep been repremanded for using company property for personal use?"

      Because he is a senior VP.

      One rule for me and one rule for you.

      1. IceC0ld Silver badge

        Re: Personal Usage

        Because he is a senior VP.

        One rule for me and one rule for you.

        yea, the old chestnut, you do as I say, NOT as I do ...............

    4. Steve Button

      Not the real question!

      The real question is "How much?"

      Or is it just me who is curious to know what a senior veep earns?

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Not the real question!

        Aside from the fact the veep should have been disciplined for his laxity causing discord amongst the plebs, the burning question us definitely how much was his pay?

        Particularly in comparison to pleb remuneration.

        1. Steve Button

          Re: Not the real question!

          https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/senior-vice-president-salary-SRCH_KO0,21.htm

          £119K.

          Not exactly amazing. And I bet games companies are more stingy (or is that just for developers!?)

          Perhaps someone from Jagex would care to comment? (anonymous probably best in this case).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not the real question!

            What are the probabilities that there were also staff from the family, share options, and also "royalties" not included in that standard wage?

            I'll not make a bet, as the DLC will probably change the odds after the fact silently, and to the developers... um, publishers benefit.

          2. Korev Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Not the real question!

            https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/senior-vice-president-salary-SRCH_KO0,21.htm

            £119K.

            Not exactly amazing.

            About four times the UK average salary...

            Let's shed a tear -->

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not the real question!

        The real question is "How much?"

        What a pity it didn't get into the evidence and/or quoted in the judgement. .

      3. the Jim bloke Silver badge

        Re: Not the real question!

        Or is it just me who is curious to know what a senior veep earns? is paid?

        FTFY

    5. The BigYin

      Re: Personal Usage

      Personal use of office equipment is almost always permitted "within reason". No one is going to bat an eye-lid if you print of a sheet or two for personal need (or use the work PC for a personal email). When it starts to disrupt the day job or incur significant costs, then you'll get a warning.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Personal Usage

        It depends on the employer. Some are more relaxed than others.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: Personal Usage

          What the issue with someone printing a few pages, often its for something urgent or in some cases something personal which if not done would affect a trip.

          We use Papercut and can probably track personal usage, I would not waste my time (As any huge amounts of usage are easily spotted in monthly reports and its up to their department manager to sort).

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Personal Usage

            Funny, my previous employer went ape shit when I used their printer to run off a few personal notes for home.

            Curse you, De La Rue!

        2. goldcd

          Re: Personal Usage

          I think the OP should have said "At an employer you'd want to work for..."

          Anecdotally, we've still got some lovely HP printers in our office, and I'm unaware of anybody using them for anything other than the odd personal printout for years.

          My employer may not be able to offer a subsidized canteen, sleep-pods or at-desk massage - but providing a decent printer as a perk has meant we could all chuck our home ones in landfill and reclaim some domestic space.

      2. EveryTime

        Re: Personal Usage

        Modest personal use of a work printer is certainly reasonable.

        But if that is the case here, where is the basis for calling the document company confidential?

    6. JohnG

      Re: Personal Usage

      I wonder if HMRC would consider the VP's personal use of company resources as taxable benefits?

  2. Efer Brick
    Big Brother

    These twats could learn a lot

    From Dilbert's PHB

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: These twats could learn a lot

      Ah yes the PHB can actually be smart on occasion.

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I haven't finished reading the judgement, but it's a bit damming when a tribunal finds an individual more reliable in their testimony over a well lawyered corporate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guess they were wrong in so many ways, all the employee had to do was turn up to court, give a speech (could be legally advised before hand?) and NOT mess up, and then it's done.

      If there was any complication, then it could get more difficult. Also, this is an employers tribunal, right, so setup a little less lawyer tipping way?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      a tribunal finds an individual more reliable in their testimony over a well lawyered corporate

      Presumably because he (unlike the WLC) actually told the truth. Something that WLCs as a class are not exactly famous for..

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would have stuck it on the company noticeboard. Posting as AC obviously.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Happy

      I bet it's being discussed at many out-of-office lunches at Jagex!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Publicly traded company? Public data (likely)

      In the US, if Runescape or its parent company is publicly traded, it's very likely they guys compensation is reported in SEC documents since he's a Senior PV, and hence already public if one knows where to look.

      If so, it would be interesting to see if this SVP lied on the Visa application.

      1. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Publicly traded company? Public data (likely)

        Jagex, the publisher of the game RuneScape, is not on any stock exchange, and apparently its current owner is a mining company in China. So that isn't the situation.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "apparently its current owner is a mining company in China"

          I hope the mine is real....

          Read about another mining business owning a foreign company:

          https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/business/dealbook/china-soccer-acmilan-ownership.html

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Publicly traded company? Public data (likely)

        However, the most recent financial statement filed with Companies House makes very interesting reading. Compare the profit to the turnover. Note the directors' emoluments reported on page numbered 25. Check the ownership. It may be found at https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03982706/filing-history

  5. simonb_london

    When it gets as far as a tribunal ruling

    Then one side or the other has probably been very stubborn and needs to be clouted round the head with a clue-stick by a tribunal to realise their mistake.

    Otherwise they would have reached a settlement before it got that far.

    Now everyone knows the company's name and what the attitude of their management is like.

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: When it gets as far as a tribunal ruling

      That depends on company policy. The bank I work at won't engage with any form of tribunal short of legal action, thereby forcing the employees name into the public domain and thus tarnishing their career. Many many application forms require you to tick a box if you've ever sued an employer.

      Only releasing to public record cases which former employees lose and where the case can be shown to be vexatious would be the single biggest positive change to workers rights, yet nobody is proposing it. Not domestically, not in the EU. Nowhere.

      1. KroSha

        Re: When it gets as far as a tribunal ruling

        Because it's not in the interests of the important people that Gov & EU listens to; the corporates. The EU is morphing into a globalist empire. There's no room for the workers to have more rights.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: When it gets as far as a tribunal ruling

          Because it's not in the interests of the important people that Gov & EU listens to; the corporates.

          And yet it can be. One of my colleagues (fellow Northerner, decent chap) got fucked over by the bank and left a few years back. He's doing far better outside of finance than I am still working in it (more lucrative work, fewer hours, and greater happiness). Annoyingly, as it's Xmas, the smug bastard will no doubt rock up to our reunion drinks with an ear to ear grin and tales of a home life.....

          Logically, his employer would do well out of such changes in every way my bank would do worse, because we'd be getting sued a lot more than his employer, thus making his recruitment a lot easier.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: When it gets as far as a tribunal ruling

        There must be a public interest (both types) in releasing details where the employee won but redacting the employee's name. Otherwise how would we know Oracle were being sued for discriminatory practices?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprising

    I interviewed there.... very typical of games development culture, with senior management more interested in demonstrating their 'power' over junior staff than encouraging great work. In return for which, lucky employees were expected to work all hours (cunningly disguised as kindly provision of on-site catering and other facilities designed to obliviate the need to go home).

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Not surprising

      There are numerous stories of games development companies being sweatshops.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Not surprising

      I worked there for about nine months. Not a bad job, but a poor contract rate, even for Cambridge. Many of the permies looked like they might have been enticed into an underpaid job by the game vibe.

      The office was all done out with gamesy and sci-fi themes. The lift looked like the outside of the tardis, and the meeting rooms were named after Monopoly locations, so you could miss the first 15 minutes of a meeting while you wandered around the office looking for Old Kent Road. And they had an armoured personnel carrier parked outside.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Not surprising

        "And they had an armoured personnel carrier parked outside."

        Filled with the VP's expenses in untraceable gold bars and diamonds.

      2. teacake

        Re: Not surprising

        "And they had an armoured personnel carrier parked outside."

        Perhaps they were trying to install uninterruptible power supplies and somebody misinterpreted the instruction to go for APC.

      3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: while you wandered around the office looking for Old Kent Road

        Surely it's the first office on the left as you enter the building?

        1. Psmo Bronze badge
          Go

          Re: while you wandered around the office looking for Old Kent Road

          But if you miss it, you have to go all the way round the building.

          1. Tomato Krill

            Re: while you wandered around the office looking for Old Kent Road

            Well there is a Chance of taking a shortcut back

            1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

              Re: while you wandered around the office looking for Old Kent Road

              And presumably a cute secretary with a "community" chest ;-) ???

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why...

    You invest in decent printers with an access control system (we have ours hooked up to put access cards.).

    Send something to print and it sits on a secure server until your access card is registered as being on the card reader by the printer and will stop as soon as the card is removed. No more printing stuff then wandering over to pick it up (at least after they closed the direct print over the network that I did use for a while... *cough*).

    Also helps that the printer is nice and quick. Saves a lot on these sort of things...

    Anonymous Because I have a bad habit of circumventing PHB IT based decisions...

    1. DwarfPants
      Facepalm

      Re: This is why...

      My experience of this is "we are so busy/efficient we do not have the time wait (even walking across the the room will reduce our utilization to unacceptable levels) for the print so must be able release the document from the web portal" creating the problem scenario all over again. Strangely there still appears to be time for a gossip and an extended tea break.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is why...

      Anonymous Because I have a bad habit of circumventing PHB IT based decisions...

      People bypass PHB IT decisions 'cause they're bad decisions.

      We have a similar kind of access control on our printers. Somehow, something's gone wrong with its implementation and it's slow and can corrupt print jobs. They've had to re-enable direct printing because of the complaints.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: This is why...

      And saves all the wasted copies......benefiting company and environment.

    4. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: This is why...

      I worked there about five or six years ago (for the death knells of Tranformers).

      All staff had RFID cards which let you through doors (when the fingerprint sensors broke. again.), paid for food in the canteen, and logged you in to the printers so the only person who can print your document is you. So, if it's been left on the printer, it's either because you are an idiot, or you saw that the printer had run out of paper and you were too much of a git to replenish it.

      1. Tomato Krill

        Re: This is why...

        Sorry, fingerprint *what*?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: This is why...

          Sorry, fingerprint *what*?

          There's a perfectly valid use for fingerprint sensors (I used to work at a company that made some very good ones - albeit fairly expensive). One of their modes was to be used in conjunction with an RFID card that stored a hash of your fingerprint (one that couldn't be reverse-engineered into the fingerprint) and then compared the scan with that hash.

          The main problem it had was when things were very cold and fingers were very pale and shrivelled - since it checked that the finger was living (I don't have a clue how) it sometimes rejected the scan if your fingers were too cold.

  8. Julz Bronze badge

    Odd But

    I've never really understood why pay rates (and other remunerations) are considered confidential information. I'm always open and honest about what salary or contract rate I'm on and will happily share the information. I understand some people might get embarrassed or ashamed. Or that keeping employees and contractors from knowing each others pay rates can be used to cover up dubious policy or to hide embarrassing inequalities, stinginess or excesses. There might be some talk of leaking competitive information but again that is just another version of corporate shame and obfuscation. Can anybody tell me a good and legitimate reason to keep employee, contractor and director pay rates secret?

    1. DwarfPants

      Re: Odd But

      Its a power thing. It allows all sorts of backroom deals and favorites. If I ruled the world this would be transparent.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Odd But

      The answer to your question is in the story. When the developers found out how much the VP was getting, "Angry staff confronted managers about Mudassir's evidently excessive pay packet".

      More generally, employers and their HR departments like to keep a lid on any discussion of pay because it makes many employees accept what they're given without complaint.

    3. theModge

      Re: Odd But

      Not discussing pay only helps the company, never the employee. Thus I too always open. It's worth considering that if you have a "special deal" much better than everyone else's and you're not allowed to discuss it "lest you make them jealous" it's not impossible they've been told much the same...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Odd But

        "special deal" much better than everyone else's and you're not allowed to discuss it "lest you make them jealous"

        Ah, but if everyone keeps quiet, how do you know your deal is special or not ?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Odd But

          "Ah, but if everyone keeps quiet, how do you know your deal is special or not ?"

          Everyone anonymously writes a figure on a piece of paper, not specifically their salary, and puts it into a pile. Everyone is told what all the pieces of paper say. Nobody knows who wrote what but all of them know what their salary is and if the figures reflect salaries they know how special they are.

          Of course people might lie, leading to more dissension. Manglement might then conclude that openness might have its advantages.

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Odd But

          Should (say) programmers be paid according to what they themselves believe they are worth, what their boss thinks they are worth or what their fellow programmers think they are worth?

          Because only the last case will ensure that nobody gets upset if they find out what other people in the department are being paid.

          Try justifying to an employee who thinks s/he is the most brilliant person on the planet and indispensible because they write huge amounts of code per hour why the younger person who writes half as much code per hour is getting 20% more pay. The fact that their code, which may have taken them only a week to write, usually doesn't quite fulfil all the requirements and/or has to have 100's of bug fixes before it can be sold as a commercial product, but the higher paid programmer, who took twice as long, invariably writes rock-solid code that could be released to market almost immediately is completely lost on the hot-shot.

    4. james_smith Bronze badge

      Re: Odd But

      I've never really understood why pay rates (and other remunerations) are considered confidential information.

      Every citizens income is published in Finland, and I seem to recall that the same is true in Sweden as well. A few companies in the US voluntarily publish all staff remuneration as well.

      1. PapaD

        Re: Odd But

        My employer regularly tells new employees that they aren't allowed to talk about their salary.

        Then they meet me, and i tell them that our employer is not allowed to say that, as your salary is part of your data, and as such the decision to disclose it is entirely up to you, they have no say in the matter.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Odd But

          Downvote - sorry, the train hit a bump just as I tried to upvote you :(

          1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

            Re: Odd But

            You can always revert - just click to upvote later.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Odd But

              I just upvoted you and then downvoted you, twice. The net effect was one downvote.

              Please could the next commentard who passes undo my experiment.

              (I am reminded of the joke about the programmer who is asked by his (yes, it's an old joke) wife to go into the village and while he is there buy eggs. He leaves and never comes back home.)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Odd But

                Here's his code...

                #include stdio.h

                #include stdbool.h

                int main()

                {

                bool asked = true;

                bool invillage = false;

                if asked goto village;

                //...

                village:

                invillage = true;

                while (invillage) {

                buyeggs();

                }

                }

    5. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Odd But

      If salaries become public knowledge within an organisation it would likely cause lots of unrest with the lower paid employees demanding more pay etc. Not saying that transparency is a bad thing, that's just how management works in many companies, trying to cut down costs.

      I wrote some software for the wages dept at one company I worked at and got to see the salaries of everyone on the shop-floor up to the managers and exec's. Some of them were on eye-watering amounts compared to others; however, I wasn't about to divulge those figures to colleagues... besides being unprofessional, the fallout would likely have cost me my job.

    6. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      Re: Odd But

      There seems to be pressure for openness coming from some of the forces of Political Correctness. They expect it to show a "gender pay gap", and help deal with it.

      Could be interesting. I wouldn't care to anticipate the outcome, except to note there are sure to be lots of anomalies at the individual level, and it'll lead to lots of redefining of what counts as 'comparable' or 'equal value'.

    7. Imhotep

      Re: Odd But

      What I find odd is that 119K would be considered excessive for a VP.

      If the developers are earning less, then the US firms I've worked for are paying considerably more. Is this firm an abberation, or are UK rates really that low?

      1. TheMeerkat

        Re: Odd But

        He lied on the document to impress his relatives? The document (invitation) is sent to the person applying for a visa.

    8. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Odd But

      "

      I've never really understood why pay rates (and other remunerations) are considered confidential information.

      "

      Because it frequently causes jealousy and discontent. There may be very good reasons why one employee gets paid more than another employee who is "doing the same job" Perhaps the better paid employee does a far *better* job than the lower paid employee. But the lesser paid employee is convinced that s/he is just as good (or better) than the other, and so becomes very unhappy.

    9. Siberian Hamster

      Re: Odd But

      All sorts of reasons but ultimately it boils down to another way to manipulate employees.

      I was the secretary of a local branch of a union in a previous employer and got to see the pay of the 80 odd union members. During professional reviews where a pay increase up to 3% could be rewarded for exceptional performance, a couple approached me afterwards confidentially to complain although their managers had recognised their exceptional contribution they had only been given a 1.5% increase, the managers citing the difficulties the company were going through at the time, and to not tell their co-workers.

      Transpired that nearly everyone had been given the same 1.5% and told to keep quiet about it as he/she were one of the select few to get this lofty increase!

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Odd But

      Maybe it has to do with Giving Information To The Enemy, who could in turn use the data to try to steal staff with counter-offers. Happened quite a bit before the Crash of '83.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My mind boggles that they employ 320 staff... to keep Runescape running? Like.. are there even 320 subscribers that play it these days? :O

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Well, it is true that they recently opened a discussion with their players about how microtransactions, although people tend to dislike them, are necessary to produce additional revenue, over and above membership fees, to keep the game running. So there is some issue about the staff to player ratio, even if it is not as severe as what you have identified.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      A few years ago they were working on a big new online Transformers game, but I heard that it was canned after repeated delays. I believe they do quite well out of lots of microgames.

      Also, if you're posting here, you're probably much too old for Runescape.

      1. Vincent Ballard

        They closed the minigames site (FunOrb) in August 2018.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Funorb

          As an ex funorb developer, they 'closed' funorb a lot earlier than that.... You're about 8 years off

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My company printer's system...

    ... demands your personal ID card before the printer spits anything out.

    So, you must be physically present at a printer.

    As a bonus, all printers are connected, so you don't choose ONE printer, you just send it to the pool, and whatever printer you are close by that get swiped with your card, will spit out all your jobs if you so choose. I can order a print from my desk, and receive its print on the field, several miles away, later.

    As a minor inconvenience, if you forget your card, you can't print anything.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My company printer's system...

      As a minor inconvenience, if you forget your card you print it out from the thousands of printers open on the internet.

      ftfy

      /devil

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Brilliant idea. I trust that these thousands of printers all come with a mailing clerk who will absolutely not read the content of the printout and slip it into an envelope automagically labelled with my address ?

        No ?

        Then what's the point ? I don't print for the pleasure of using paper and ink.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: My company printer's system...

      As a minor inconvenience, if the printer you pick has run out of the size of paper your job was on, the job gets deleted from the central queue, and you can't then print it out. Yes, I know these systems.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My company printer's system...

      As a minor inconvenience, if you forget your card, you can't print anything.

      We have a similar system here - no card, then you have to use the onboard screen/keyboard to manually type username/password.

  11. adam payne Silver badge

    McCambridge came to work the following morning, saw the offending visa application still on display next to the communal printer – and "put it in a confidential waste bin"

    As soon as it was found it should have been put in the confidential waste bin.

    McCambridge was then summoned to a separate disciplinary hearing – again, heard by David Osborne – and was duly sacked the following day for gross misconduct.

    I'm not sure how they could think he was the only one who saw it?!? after all the document was on display for a whole day.

    He was a Runescape goat nothing more.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "As soon as it was found it should have been put in the confidential waste bin."

      When first seen there might have been a reasonable expectation that the owner was on his way to collect it.

  12. Groodles
    Black Helicopters

    Been there, did something slightly different...

    I experienced the same scenario where a top level manager's renumeration package was left on a printer, with no-one to claim it.

    I simply moved it the 3 feet from the printer out tray to the staff notice board and walked away.

    1. NightFox

      Re: Been there, did something slightly different...

      If it were your salary details that had been left on the printer, would you have been OK with that being put on the notice board?

      1. theModge

        Re: Been there, did something slightly different...

        Yes. It's the management not the staff that win from pay being private. I loose nothing from my colleges knowing what I earn.

        That's the nice thing about working in big "state-ish" places that use pay scales - I know pretty much when everyone around me earns in any case. It's only the highest levels that are by negionation, and you know for sure they're off the top of the scale, at the very least.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Been there, did something slightly different...

        "would you have been OK with that being put on the notice board?"

        If he wasn't he could have removed it. In this case the person responsible didn't do anything about it. In fact it was eventually the guy who was fired who actually did the right thing by putting it into confidential waste when it hadn't been collected. Reading the judgement it also appears that he did the right thing on finding it, namely putting it in a place where it was common to leave uncollected print-out.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Been there, did something slightly different...

          Many years ago I employed a guy who had been out of work for a long time due to having been in hospital. It was caused by the same car accident that had killed his wife. He was struggling to raise 3 young children on his own in a delapidated rented flat (his house had been repossessed), and he had accrued significant high-interest debts on top of his other misfortunes. Out of compassion I gave him a higher salary than was the norm (in fact more than I was paying myself at the time), knowing that otherwise he would never get straight and his kids were suffering the most. He understood that this meant he would not be getting any salary increases until salaries in general had increased to match what he was on.

          When the other employees learned of his salary they became really upset. There were demands that everyone's salary should be raised to be in line with his (which would not have been sustainable for a small company that made very modest profits). I did not want to disclose his personal situation to anyone else knowing that he was (illogically) ashamed and embarrassed by his situation, and so they were convinced that it was all terribly unfair and general productivity dropped to an extent where I almost had to close the company. It would have been far, far better had his salary remained confidential instead of being leaked. (I suspect by my accountant).

          It was a learning experience, and I now know that there are far better ways to give employees "charity breaks" that won't upset the apple cart.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Been there, did something slightly different...

            Glad you did the right thing.

            But sadly we live in a world where "fairness" is not understood correctly. We think it's "fair" to have the same, so that means giving everyone 7 goats to take home to eat tonight?

            Yeah, everyone is the same, but everyone's circumstances are different! I was strangely often on a little more than most in the jobs I dropped/walked into, as companies had a strange habit of paying new recruits more than existing and experienced staff (though they often got massive benefits I did not, as I could not be grandfathered in).

            I'd have been happy to be matched to their pay, or visa versa, and saw no need to insist I was "right", above others, even if I were to find out they were on more than me. Sorry to hear they gave you trouble for it.

            I wonder what their response would have been should the option to reduce pay been their "ok, we will level the field, by reducing all pay". Would they have shown symphony, or thrown their colleague "under a bus" so to speak. :(

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Been there, did something slightly different...

              "I wonder what their response would have been should the option to reduce pay been their "ok, we will level the field, by reducing all pay"."

              Perhaps, "At those rates, the competition is offering better pay. What if we all walked?"

  13. Persona Bronze badge

    I recall the day when the new lad in HR emailed out the spreadsheet with everyone's salary. This was closely followed by one marked "URGENT" from his boss telling us not to look at it. This was handy as without the prompt we might not have noticed it before it was pulled.

    1. Aussie Doc
      Coffee/keyboard

      Ah, the missing "unsend" button. Close ---->

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Surely, you don't mean the Forward All button?

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Ah, the missing "unsend" button

        Even more amusing - trying to explain to someone in HR that the 'recall' function only works in limited circumstances and *never* if you have sent it to someone external..

  14. Blofeld's Cat
    Trollface

    Ah yes ...

    I have fond memories of a particularly irritating colleague who could be raised to indignation by leaving fake policy change documents on the photocopier.

    In one meeting the PHB told him that if he raised rearranging the $%$£% car park again, he would scream.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah yes ...

      Did he bring up rearranging the car park...AND hinting he also told a good friend upstairs, too?

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    FAIL

    It's difficult to see how they could have made more determined efforts to fail.

    Initial carelessness in either printing it out unaware (a possible explanation for not collecting it) or failing to collect a deliberate print out.

    Taking umbrage that something left in plain sight had been remarked on.

    Not expecting it to be discussed.

    Taming more umbrage when it was.

    Picking on one employee.

    Not being able to conduct disciplinary proceedings to a standard that would keep them out of court (probably an impossibility anyway in the circumstances but they seem to have made outstanding efforts in this regard).

    Not settling ensuring that they did end up in court going full Streisand.

  16. Charles Calthrop

    I once printed my novel off and forgot about it.

    Still burn bright with shame every time I recall it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it's not good enough to hold your head up high. Though I will forgive you if it was a draft.

      I won't forgive you if it was really poor fan fiction. Was it good fan fiction?

  17. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    of all the deadly sins

    The one that will never, ever, ever be forgiven

    is embarrassing management,

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like...

    ...an awful company to work for. Hope he makes lots of money out of them being such dicks. The HR department should be ashamed but then most HR departments are useless and just do as they are told with no questions. We're lead to believe they are their to help the employee but they are there to protect the company that is all and that appears to be all they care about.

    My last run in with HR was about questioning my pay considering it was doing a lot more in my old place yet paid considerably less. They claimed my email was harsh, it wasn't. Although that original issue wasn't sorted for months it turns out my "moaning" revealed they actually hadn't, also, added on my pay upgrade from the year before!

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like...

      but then most HR departments are useless

      Most HR departments are incredibly useful - to the company. After all, they (nowadays) seem to only exist to make sure that the company is protected from its own employees..

  19. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    The printer in question...

    Was it by any chance in the Fleet Street meeting room?

  20. Ryan 7

    "Jagex accused McCambridge of not showing "remorse for your actions or consideration for the injured party, instead suggesting the blame is that of the party for leaving the information on the printer"."

    Is it even possible to 'suggest' something that's already bleeding obvious to everyone involved?

    If I say "people should breathe in as well as out" you'd have to try pretty fucking hard to classify it as a "suggestion".

  21. Dave Hamrix

    Greed is bad

    And America is the greediest place in the universe.

    I worked for an American company that fired me for arguing with a receptionist.

    Who was the Owners secret Fuck.

    My bad for not seeing this.

    But now I make as much as a gaming VP.

    By being an ex-employee

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Greed is bad

      Never argue with a receptionist, or a PA. They are too often the real deal makers.

      Anon, so the PA here doesn't find out.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Greed is bad

        Never argue with a receptionist, or a PA

        Four groups of people it's unwide to argue with in a corporate environment (and yes, I've argued with all 4 and regretted it later):

        Finance

        HR

        IT

        The PAs

        Each of them can make your life difficult in their own unique way.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Greed is bad

          Also try to keep on the right side of the first aider!

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