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Can a Banker's Behavior Ever Be Private?

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 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.

AUTHOReFinancialCareers News Insider Comment
  • to
    tommii haha loser
    21 January 2009

    Tommii did actually take 70K hush money and is now inn trouble with the Aust Tax Office

  • Ja
    22 August 2008

    here's a quote from Steve Rattner himself.. written on 28th March 2004 @ 1.23am

    "Even with Tory (rattners wife) it was more out of convenience than feelings. You however are different somehow. As I have said, I have broken every rule with you and then some"

    the best advice, dont leave any evidence lying around

    I wonder how Tory (the wife) would feel knowing she was a convenient answer not a true love

  • to
    21 August 2008

    The sage advice I heard when I started working was "don't do anything you would be embaressed to have your mother or your employer see on the see on the front page of the local newspaper.

  • Ja
    Janet Steinman
    21 August 2008

    This is outrageous and I hope he sues Credit Suisse and his stalker. Private life should remain just that - private. Who among us has not done something that we wish we hadn't and that we now feel shameful about? Some of our greatest leaders and artists have conducted their personal lives in a way that most of us would consider unethical or immoral. So unless it is regarding your job, it is none of your employer's business. Period.

  • tr
    18 August 2008

    Serves him right for being so arrogant. Why didn't he just buy the other guy off while he could? tommii cosgrove doesn't sound like a sort who would turn his back on hush money, if the price was right. The CS guy probably figured he could get off cheap since the ex-husband has no money, no obvious weapon other than the Internet. Clearly, he miscalculated - and what might that say about his savvy as a banker?

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