JPMorgan Chase Employee Fired for Moonlight Blogging

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Most working stiffs are familiar with those rules and regulations stated plainly in the Human Resources manual, right. Now they're probably posted online and we have to initial the document we read it and agree with the policies before we're officially on the pay roll.

Well, at JPMorgan Chase, analyst Marilyn Tagocon somehow missed all that. In the evening she was busily blogging and self-publishing historical fiction, both activities explicitly forbidden by her employer. A co-worker informed her of the company policy. One assumes they were friends. On the other hand, they might have been enemies. More about that later.

When informed by the co-worker, Tagocon hightailed it into Human Resources to explain her moonlighting, reports the New York Post. That might have been naive since she published both under a pen name, not her own. The folks there said: Your job or your evening activities. Tagocon did not take the blog down and did not stop marketing her novel. JBMorgan Chase fired her. She filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court.

This does not seem a simple question of an employee's right to free speech since the bank had a policy about these kinds of activities. The court would have to determine if the bank had a right to impose such a policy on its workforce. However, those legal matters are so much less interesting than the other juicy ones embedded in this strange case. They range from why was Tagocon so open with both a co-worker and Human Resources to why in the world did she favor seeming hobbies or unpromising writing projects over a decent paying job?

After all, Tagocon was using a pen name and could have likely have continued those activities undetected by the employer until she retired. Also, in this Darwinian era, few of you are so buddy-buddy with co-workers that you confide. However, the truly baffling issue is: Why did she opt to risk the job by refusing to comply? The bank did give her a choice rather than outright giving her the ax. After all, her analyst job was probably a well-paying position. As most bloggers and self published authors know, there isn't much money in either.

If the judge in Manhattan Supreme Court doesn't toss the case, this will indeed be a fascinating one dealing with employment law as well as human nature to follow.

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