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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Viral resignation email proves ‘money isn’t enough for disgruntled staff’


“Throwing money” at disgruntled employees rarely works into the long-term as Kieran Allen’s very public resignation email, which went viral after being posted on Twitter, has proved, according to a marketing recruiter.

Allen, a senior account manager at UK media planning and buying agency, MEC Global, which is part of the WPP Group, sent the message to the entire company yesterday, lambasting his manager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, for the alleged way in which he had been treated.
The email was forwarded to rival agencies, before being uploaded to and shared under the hashtag #Shicklegate, which quickly started trending.
In it, Allen claimed that his manager had ruined the last eight months of his working life by allegedly blocking his bonus, giving him a verbal warning for poor performance and putting him through a performance review process.
But on deciding to quit after two-and-a-half years of “loyal service”, Allen attested that his employer persuaded him to stay with the promise of a substantial pay rise and rapid career progression.
After taking the promotion, however, he said that he suffered a stress-induced nervous breakdown due to being overloaded with work and had to take two weeks off work as a result.
On his return to the office in March, Allen alleged that his manager, instead of welcoming him back and trying to make things right between them, “attacked me and made me feel an outsider. I was made to feel that I had actually done wrong”.
Social media notoriety
He also claimed that the manager “regularly made sexist and other bigoted remarks” and “took a female colleague out for a drink on the day he interviewed her, then later took her back to the MEC offices that night and had sexual relations with her in the meeting rooms on the 3rd floor”.
The allegations were “common knowledge throughout the team”, Allen attested, adding that it was “hard to fathom that such a man is responsible for the work well-being of over 30 staff”.
A MEC spokesman told the MailOnline, however: “We are sad that one of our employees has chosen to share their personal views in such a public way and has left the company with such bad feeling. We are taking this issue seriously, though given the highly personal nature of the email, we cannot comment further.
But Simon Bassett, managing director of specialist marketing recruitment agency, EMR, warned that, regardless of how Allen felt he had been treated, he could well live to regret his parting shot, if not his resignation.
Although Allen may have gained notoriety in social media circles, the move was unlikely to do his employment prospects much good. The danger was that potential employers would now “think twice about hiring someone who feels this is the best way to settle a complaint”, Bassett pointed out.
For their part, however, employers also needed to be “extra vigilant” about staffing issues in a social media world in which employees could publicly damage the brand’s reputation if they wished.
They should likewise be aware that “throwing money at a disgruntled employee rarely works out in the long-run, as this extreme case proves”, Bassett added.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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