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Bank exec mooning costs millions

By David McMillin ·
Friday, September 14, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

A personal error has cost a former banking executive millions of dollars in compensation. However, the mistake wasn't due to risky trading practices or any job-related activity associated with the banking industry. This was a calculated decision to do something many disgruntled employees have considered but never done: He mooned his boss.

Here's a rundown of the timeline of this bare-backed demonstration of employee defiance at one of the nation's biggest banks.

In 2005, Jason Selch was working for Wanger Asset Management when Columbia Management, a subsidiary of Bank of America, acquired Selch's firm. While BofA has been selling off some of its assets recently, the banking giant was aiming to expand in the financial heyday of the mid-2000s.

Some of the newly acquired employees at Wanger were less than pleased with their new compensation terms and one of Selch's colleagues allegedly was fired for his refusal to accept the new financial terms. In a bold move, Selch decided to voice his discontent with his backside during a meeting.

Surprisingly, the mooning victim actually didn't want Selch to be fired. Instead, he issued the disgruntled worker a warning, but a warning wasn't enough for the CEO of Columbia, Keith Banks. The CEO ordered that Selch be fired.

Here's where the story gets more interesting. If Selch would have remained at the firm for a few more months, he would have been rewarded with a bonus package of around $2 million. Selch sued for wrongful termination to recoup his losses.

Here we are seven years later, and three judges in Cook County, Ill., have officially confirmed that you cannot moon your boss and still receive a bonus.

The lesson: Making a decision in the heat of the moment can come back to bite you in the, well, you know what.

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September 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Yeah, this is the short version of the story. The reason he was suing was not because he was fired, but because when the opportunity was there for him to be fired, his management chose to issue a warning rather than fire him, and that written warning contained a clause that if he further misbehaved, he could/would be fired. But by all reports, he didn't misbehave after the initial incident.

I do completely agree that he should have been fired for the offense, but when BOA chose to warn him and let him off the hook, I don't think they should have fired him later on.