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Hargreaves Lansdown sacks employee over Twitter ‘joke’

Hargreaves Lansdown has fired an employee after he tweeted he had hit a cyclist with his car but did not stop as he was “late for work.”

The BBC reports Rayhan Qadar, who joined the firm after graduating from Cardiff University, posted on Twitter: “Think I just hit a cyclist. But I’m late for work so had to drive off lol”.

Qadar told the BBC he “did not hit anyone” and that tweet was a “dumb mistake.”

He then sent two further tweets stating his previous comment was “obviously not true” and that “I did not hit a cyclist. Not today. Not ever. A bad joke on my part it seems.”

Avon and Somerset Police is investigating the claims and has appealed for potentital victims to come forward.

A spokesman for Hargreaves Lansdown says one of its employees “failed to conduct themselves to the standards we expect of our staff.”

“Upon becoming aware of this issue we have terminated this person’s employment with immediate effect.”

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Comments

There are 19 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. E L Wisty (an only twin) 7th January 2015 at 9:21 am

    While no employer should condone an express statement of criminal behaviour, or any serious misconduct while actually at work, this appears to be a thoughtless, glib comment by an immature employee outside of the workplace. Furthermore, the absence of any evidence that an accident actually occurred would appear to back up his further comment that it was a “bad joke”.

    There are very few of us who have not made inappropriate comments at some point in our lives. Mr Qadar’s mistake was to use a published medium, which could have massively amplified consequences for his career, which far outweigh the apparent circumstances.

    Personally, I believe that HL have over-reacted in the face of media interest, and should have put this matter into perspective. In the absence of any evidence that this was more than a tasteless joke, an informal warning should have been sufficient.

    Do any of us wish employers to have the right to sack staff for making a “bad joke”?

  2. Have Hargreaves sacked him because he did a hit and run? If so this has not been proved and therefore is an over reaction. If he was sacked for a tasteless joke then it also seems like an overreaction. Jokes by their very nature often offend some sections of the community but they are hardly a reason for depriving someone of their livelihood.
    It has just occurred to me that sacking the Bankers because they may have displayed a warped sense of humour (certainly they way they ran the banks was a joke) would have been a more viable approach to disciplining them rather than seeking to claw back bonuses and making their actions criminal offences. Perhaps the FCA can find space in their room sized handbook to include provisions to this effect. After all we should concentrate on the real issue of tasteless humour rather than wrecking the economy.

  3. Stupid prank again demonstrating the banality of social networks.
    Stupid decision by employer demonstrating the sickening amount of PCness in current society.

  4. Not even a bad joke – rather an admission of committing a criminal offence (the actual occurance of which, from the above information, is indeterminate).

  5. Regrdless of whether or not the accident actually happened, he could potentially still be charged with an offence, namely wasting police time.

    Like most above, if the accident didn’t in fact happen, I’m not sure it was a sacking offence (and yes having a cycle among my various modes of transport, I’m in the offended minority) – but I believe it would merit a written warning.

    Personally, and with a little (although somewhat shaky) HR past experience, I’d have suspended the individual pending the outcome of police enquiries, and assuming they came to nothing, re-instate with written warning as above. A pause in such matters is often helpful – permits a more considered approach.

  6. “Think I hit a cyclist” that says it all.
    What a pathetic decision by the media and PCorrect HL.

  7. Ah; good ole social media

    IMHO, he is an fool to use it in the first place, does’ any-one really what to know who had what for breakfast, and who did what on the way to work ? (criminal or otherwise).

  8. My experience of larger organisations is that had he been a well liked or valuable member of the team he wouldn’t have been sacked. Therefore, reading between the lines the tweet was used a reason to get rid of someone that they didn’t want. Maybe the reason they sacked him was because he was late for work not because he hit a cyclist. There is more to this than just a badly thought through tweet.

    Just my humble opinion as usual.

  9. E L Wisty (an only twin) 7th January 2015 at 12:05 pm

    @ Nick

    I agree with your comments. Furthermore, if he had been a senior person at our esteemed regulator, he could have confessed to running over a entire school class and he wouldn’t have been disciplined.

    Would be interesting to know if he takes this to tribunal. Perhaps MM could follow the story up, and ascertain why HL took this action before checking the facts.

  10. “Think I hit a cyclist” that says it all.

    Not exactly clear what’s meant by that sentence.

  11. If he mentioned Hargreaves Landsown in his profile, then they couuld probably argue that he was bringing the company into disrepute (even with the ‘all views expressed here are my own’ disclaimer)

    But if HL weren’t mentioned then I agree with the comments made here in terms of overreaction.

    Twitter should add a ‘Do you really want to post this’ function that you can use at certain times – when you’re drinking for example….!!

  12. E L Wisty (an only twin) 7th January 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Interesting that most comments disagree with HL’s action.

    Perhaps, in the absence of any proof that this was not a bad joke, MM could ask HL to explain why they have dismissed an employee in respect of his poor sense of humour out of the office?

    Yes, poor judgement, however, I don’t see how HL’s reputation was brought into disrepute or how the individual has breached the ‘fit and proper’ test.

  13. Very much as per most of the above comments, I don’t think I can add anything. I particularly liked the confirmation that “I hit….” is implied rather than a definite. I did write something to show how things can be misconstrued, but it was a bit too personal for someone like me who blogs in their own name.

  14. Read this and see if it changes your mind.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/06/police-bristol-tweets-hit-cyclist-sacked-ray-pew

    Particular reference to his Twitter name/ tag “Ray Pew”!

    Would you want to work with him?

  15. E L Wisty (an only twin) 7th January 2015 at 4:20 pm

    @ JHA

    Thank you for the (very interesting) Guardian link, and I see your point.

    However, to give him the benefit of the doubt, this may be a (very tasteless) alter ego, rather than his true personality. However, as with Facebook entries, that isn’t an acceptable excuse for such behaviour and he has been rather prosaically hoisted on his own petard.

    Of course, if his nasty tag and comments are reflective of his true personality, then what were HL doing recruiting him in the first place!

    He will regret this for a long, long time.

  16. If he didn’t hit anyone (IF) and if his Twitter Name was to do with Pew, Pew, Pew as he says in the paper and not the other connotation (which had to be explained to me as I can be so naive at times) Not only do I hope he learns from his mistake, BUT that people ALLOW him to learn from his mistake.

    As an example, one of my previous staff had a private number plate which I thought could be viewed as offensive and unprofessional, but felt not of sufficient merit to discuss with him which was lucky for me when it was pointed out to me that the “Toti” it referred to was the Football club he was fanatical about and not women! Hello Scott if you are reading this 🙂

  17. @JHA – interesting link – from which the “bringing into disrepute” aspect seems to have surfaced as an issue.

    Say something (however unintentionally) which a large number of folk find very offensive, and who then make the connection with your employer, and I suppose said employer suddenly finds themselves with a reputational issue.

    It’s an interesting debate – ranging from footballers having difficulty with their employment,
    the senior police officer who didn’t properly fill in a mortgage application, to this – and no doubt many other similar and varying shades of assorted issues.

    Exactly where does the line lie between the individuals right to have their private life treated seperately from what they do for a living. Clearly there are implications in certain circumstances, but who judges.

    Currently it seems frequently to be a lynching excercise, rather than a calmly reasoned approach.

  18. It seems a shame that people can’t be given the benefit of the doubt, I’m fairly certain that if he had hit someone they would have come forward by now. Stupid jokes are stupid jokes, he may have been unwise but there is no reason he should lose his job over a daft tweet.

    Phil I am obviously just as naïve as you because I have no idea what the name is supposed to refer to.

  19. Contractually anon 8th January 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Ray Pew = Rape You

    Media frenzies fuelling employment opportunities are dangerous, but a firm should be able to set standards that it expects from resource that could reflect on their values. I’m not going to go searching for it, but if media reports are correct in stating that his twitter feed was awash with misogynistic, homophobic and racist ‘jokes’, HL were well within their rights to not want him associated with their firm. You never know, perhaps lots of HL staff are crying into their coffee over his absence… but I doubt it.

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