Jason Selch worked as an investment analyst for his employer for 10 years. The company went through multiple mergers and acquisitions and eventually was bought by a Bank of America subsidiary. After the BoA merger, Selch learned that his friend and co-worker had been terminated after declining to accept a pay cut.
Presumably in protest of his friend’s exit, Selch marched into a conference room where the COO and CIO were meeting. He asked the executives if he was subject to a non-compete agreement. When the CIO answered that he was not, Selch promptly dropped his drawers and mooned the two executives.
The two execs, to their credit, weren’t flustered by the demonstration and simply returned to their discussion and went on with the meeting. Later, at the COO’s instruction, HR issued Selch a final written warning, which stated that any subsequent violation would result in his termination.
When the CEO learned of Selch’s flagrant “display” of insubordination, however, he insisted that Selch be terminated. As a result of being terminated for cause, Selch had to foreit contingency payments of approximately $2 million, which would have vested in a few months.
Not surprisingly, Selch sued his former employer, claiming that he was entitled to the contingency payments because, in part, the written warning was a contract, which constituted a promise that he would not be fired unless he engaged in a subsequent policy violation.
The court granted summary judgment to his employer and the decision was upheld on appeal. In short, the court held that the warning was not a
“promise” such that an enforceable contract was created.
What are the employer take-aways from this case?
Well, first, kudos to the executives who, remarkably, managed not to lose their cool after such a visual assault. Let us all be inspired by their ability to stay focused on the task at hand.
Second, today is my birthday and I find this story more than mildly entertaining. Because it is my birthday, I will take the liberty to be a bit more candid in disclosing my opinion here–what an idiot. Shame on Selch for acting like an immature middle-school kid. The good guys won this battle and I am glad for that.
Via NY Daily News