Is there such a thing as a private sphere of away-from-work behavior that bosses should be forced to ignore - forced by law, if necessary - even if they don't like it?
Or does any egg on a high-level employee's face, no matter the source, constitute egg on the employer's corporate face, and therefore reasonable grounds for termination?
These questions arise from a sordid tale that pitted Credit Suisse's private equity chief against the vengeance-obsessed ex-husband of a woman with whom he had an affair five years ago. The story, detailed in a recent New York Times DealBook column, boils down to this: a top producer at one of the world's largest financial institutions was hounded out of his job in a mere two months, by an Internet and email stalking campaign conducted by a single individual of sketchy background.
Here's a small sample of the stalker's tactics, courtesy of New York Magazine: "Over the course of May, Cosgrove returned to nymag.com to repeatedly - and creatively - post his rant. He used express registration to create more than twenty different identities ...., up to five simultaneously. And he figured out that posting late at night or early in the morning, when moderators were less likely to be watching, meant that his comments were more likely to stay on the site longer before being deleted. At times Cosgrove was posting every five seconds while we were deleting him. Ultimately he posted hundreds of times."
We already know from the story of Andrew Caselli that low-level employees risk their jobs once outed in the media for any reason, no matter how innocuous.
But, for those of you who've reached a level where you make tons of money for your employer every day: Do you consider it part of your implicit employment contract that any unseemly attention that attaches to your behavior outside of work - even if widely practiced by others, legal, and having no evident connection with your firm or your profession - puts your career at risk?
Post your thoughts below.