Discussion in 'PC/Console Game Discussion' started by Charles, Jan 29, 2013.
Privacy rights have absolutely nothing to do with this, it's 100% made up information.
Well that clears that up! They totally checked that all of those stories are 100% made up, right?
... that's based on his real experiences at his real job that's meant to reflect the real day-to-day life of customers. As much as he may had tried to make it up, if there is one B Swarth (or Swat, or Warths) in Canada who called up for some info, he can easily make a complaint that his privacy has been violated, that he's the guy being made fun of. That complaint has to be investigated and examined. Gallant's just embarrassed his employer and opened them up to potentially a lot of damage control work, which no-one there is going to be happy with.
If this had passed under the radar, that's one thing, but it didn't. It went public and went up the chain.
Gallant's violated at least one aspect of the Canadian Taxpayer Bill of Rights (the whole "right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly" and possibly also "right to expect us to be accountable"). He's given people already unhappy when calling the CRA more ammunition about why they should be paranoid when dealing with them.
Other than firing him or censuring him severely, I don't know what you expect the CRA to do. Pat him on the back and tell him, "Good job - thanks for making everyone else's job here just a bit harder"?
So your argument is "Someone might have that name, therefore it's defamation"?
Do you see how that presents a problem for every work of fiction in existence, particularly anything with roots in reality?
Additionally, where do you get the idea he didn't treat people courteously? He's still doing his job, the right way, even as he suffers through the same dumb questions every god damn day. That's the whole source of the misery, he's a Dante, not a Randal.
Except, the game isn't making fun of those people; not really. If you do make fun of those people while playing, you get fired. There's nothing about the game that's laughing at the taxpayer, at all.
Here's an actual good write up by a writer who knows games.
I linked a video of the game where the customer is doing everything but going DURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR into the handset. It's totally making fun of the customers and while every single person who has worked with the public before can empathize, you can't do that and expect to keep working at the same job you had unless you make the game anonymously.
Clearly you've never heard your mother on the phone.
From your article:
That is also the impression I got from the video of it. The reporter was similarly accurate in her original summary, and the thrust of the spokesperson's response was that this was offensive. The privacy stuff is a red herring, but given the way the reporter is prone to describing these things even now as she writes about him being fired (where it sounds like a recorded conversation rather than a simulated one), it's hardly surprising the spokesperon included that CYA in there. Gallant seemed almost eager to be fired at the first stage already, so I'm sure whatever conversations took place were not really productive.
So I think there's a case for disliking what the Toronto Star reporter did to manufacture a controversy around this in terms of how she balanced the public interest with the potential for blowing something way the hell out of proportion, but none of that would have mattered if Gallant really wanted to keep his job and acted accordingly. Which means not rocking the boat if you intend to stay on it.Obviously, there are many reasons to be sympathetic to Gallant, but I'm not sure that pretending that the existential question of his "deserving" to be fired matters that much relative to the practical one.
I haven't used the word 'deserve' in this conversation. You are right though, it doesn't matter next to the practical one, which is actually the one I'm interested in: Whether or not this was a legal firing. Because there's a lot of laws about what does and doesn't constitute a legal firing in Canada, and that is doubly true for government offices.
The privacy 'reason' would be a valid reason, were it accurate. Without that reason, however, there's a very good chance that deserving or not, his firing was not legal and he has recourse.
I was mainly referring to the whole "anti-customers" direction of the conversation, not to be confused with the stricter interpretation in the "bootlicker" angle. I wasn't really considering the legality of the firing since none of the articles or Gallant himself had brought it up, but I guess we can always do the Canadian Law summon.
Alexb ? Others ?
I don't think firing people for making high profile satire of their job and customers/clients/taxpayers they service fits many definitions of wrongful firing just because I assumed that most people take that as a given. But I don't feel like I know enough of the reason for firing at the moment to be particular about what the reasons for the dismissal were as they were given relative to his employment contract. I mean, apart from reading selectively into the Star reporter's paraphrasing of a spokesperson's email.
Well this is just amateur hour. You make it a thing by firing the guy, and frankly what's the point? In the unlikely event anyone gives enough of a shit to contact you about it you issue a statement to the effect "An employee created a game as a joke which may have gone too far. Our staff are expected to adhere to our high professional standards and this is being dealt with under our internal disciplinary policy".
Basically you make it so fucking boring and reasonable that no one gives two shits and the whole thing blows over.
True, it's possible that he was fired for completely unrelated reasons on the same day as the article came out. Unlikely, but possible.
But there is no thing about that thing. Unless I missed something where he specifically talks about being fired against his wishes, Gallant himself was pretty low-key in terms of how he phrased the loss of his job, and seemed determined to make a stand on principle (the principle being "this job sucks") in the original article. There are just a lot of unknown variables to make a strong case for that aspect of the story being controversial.
That's not what I'm saying and you know it.
The irony of this entire situation one way or another is that there is now a CRA Jam, which I have no doubt will be far more harshly critical of the CRA than IGTCED was. Only now they won't be able to fire anyone over it in order to make themselves feel better.
Apparently not. Maybe you used too many words because that's the vibe I got. But I'm also quite tired and reading your collegiate level sentences fucks with my brain.
Sure. He obviously didn't like the job, and he knew this was a possible outcome. But that doesn't mean the firing was entirely justified, especially when they are (ostensibly) concocting bogus reasons and feeding lines to reporters.
Everyone in this thread should be fired.
Take it as a given that what, it isn't a wrongful firing? Or it is? Wasn't that the point of raising the legal question? I can see why Charles was confused.
And yeah, unless you're trying to imply that maybe he quit rather than being fired (I don't think we normally distinguish between firing "against one's wishes" and "not against one's wishes"?!?), there's a huge difference between him expecting this as a potential consequence and him (or us) believing it justified.
I'm not particularly interested in the abstract notion of whether it's justified, and the legal question was getting buried in a lot of other things that were basically value judgments in terms of empathy and the like. I'm saying, specifically, many places will fire you for embarrassing them or mocking clients/customers/taxpayers, and while I'm sympathetic to being in a shitty job and then being fired from it, it would have actually been much more surprising to me if they were understanding and let it go. The number one rule of being a cog in a line of work that treats you as disposable is don't rock the boat, because odds are good no one will care enough to do anything but fire you. It will then be doubly surprising to me if this was also legally wrong, because I figure Gallant would say something if he thought he had a chance while the limelight was on and the wound is still fresh. But I'm fine with being proved wrong on that, which is why I asked if anyone legally-inclined had an opinion based on the tiny amount of information we have on that aspect.
On the privacy angle, ask yourself - how would the employer verify he didn't release real information?
By the way, if this was him working at a private company I'd have a bit more sympathy. Public jobs should have a different standard, IMHO.
It'd entirely possible it was an illegal firing in Canada, but I think in the US public employment the reasons to fire in this case is fairly long. Potential privacy violations is just the start.
It's too bad this isn't the long lost Mike Gallant that Wardell's sockpuppet was so afraid of.
Well, the addresses don't exist and SIN numbers are 9 digits. So there's, you know, that. If there's actually a Billy J. Swarth with the SIN number 111 22 33, I would be very impressed and willing to admit a potential breach of confidentiality.
Edit: And because you obviously haven't played the game, that's the only information in the game. It's always the same caller, and it's the same dialogue tree, you just try not to get to a branch where you get fired.
Is the dialogue actually what a caller ever said? Even if it's not, how would the employer know?
Is the city or age of the caller ever mentioned? PII isn't as simple as "filter out identifier."
There's a reason that a lot of materials have that "The characters within this work bear no relation to those living or dead" boilerplate.
And no, not defamation. Violation of privacy at an organisation where privacy is a huge issue. Events like this open the doors to complaints from anyone who feels - rightly or wrongly - that they've had their privacy violated. The CRA would have to follow its complaint procedures for every one of those, even if baseless.
He certainly didn't behave professionally by passively aggressively insulting the people he dealt with by making a visual novel about it. That's not "the right way" by what the CRA sets out in its Bill of Rights.
Everyone loves stupid customer stories. What the author usually doesn't do is sign their name to it while still working there. A decade worth of social media stories tells us that's a bad idea. The issue isn't that he made the game, it's that he made it while still employed at the place he was mocking and apparently made it very easy to tie back to the CRA.
Gallant's job was to answer questions. If he didn't want to suffer through the same questions ever day, he should have changed jobs. Ditto Dante, actually. Don't want to hang out in purgatory? Stop complaining about it and move on.
YOU DO AND I'LL MAKE A GAME ABOUT IT
You're arguing against a position that literally no one in this thread is advocating. Apparently my Strawman comment didn't get through to you, so I doubt a suggestion to "read more carefully" would work either. It appears that as soon as you hear a term you strongly dislike (e.g. "bootlicker") your ability to understand what's written goes out the window. What a shame.
My favourite thing about that thread is the guy who's adamant that books don't need good grammar because "if I only read books that had proper grammar I'd not only have to learn the proper grammar (above and beyond what I require to get by daily and do my job) but I'd have to cut out a lot of books."
How can they prove that any of their employees haven't released real information about their customers? I guess they should...
FIRE ALL THE EMPLOYEES
Come on Charles, how hard is it to understand that it doesn't matter if the customers are anonymized? The problem is that the employer doesn't want people calling in to feel like what they say is going to be used as satire. Same thing if a standup comedian makes jokes about working at McDonalds and dealing with stupid customers. Some people are no doubt going to be offended by it. And even though the customers deserve it, the employer does not want to offend their customers.
I've done phone support, still do sometimes. A couple of years ago a co-worker sent round an e-mail that originated at one of our competitors but was now doing rounds in 'the industry'. The e-mail was a "Top stupid customer quotes" list. And it was anonymized. But that doesn't matter since A) it's unprofessional B) customers calling in to complain or for assistance do not want to get the feeling anything they say might end up on a "Stupid quotes" list that gets mailed around.
Unless any of their other employees were stupid enough to attach their name to a semi-biographical work about their experiences, why would the CRA have any reason to worry about it? Of course, that ignores the fact that they probably do worry about it. A lot of companies and government organisations are going down the road of encrypting laptop HDDs and disabling USB mass storage drivers in order to avoid inadvertent data leaks and the hefty fines levied by the Data Protection Commissioner. This is probably tangential to this case, but it could be relevant. I'm thinking that if the details are sufficiently anonymised and blurry then pretty much anyone who has called in to the CRA could see themselves as the victim.
There was no ambiguity about what you were saying in your opening two posts in the thread, and if you want to amend your position, you should do so rather than assuming people can't click back a page. And, yeah, ranting about "bootlickers" and "little men" does your argument no favors, and that's exactly how it ought to be along with any number of lazy slurs employed by ideologues.
Generally it becomes much easier to prove if the employee signs his name to something he's released publicly. Releasing that game with his actual name on it was pretty much a resignation letter, I'm just pretty sure he wanted to see how long he could collect a paycheck before they let him go (plus whatever benefit a controversy might have for providing publicity).
When you start using terms like 'bootlicker' and the condescending tone you are currently using, it's no longer an option to put the blame for the bad faith style of the conversation solely on the other party.
What? Since when do we go around demanding that people prove they haven't done anything wrong?
Also in what world does made-up information have to be cataloged against all existing information to make sure it's not accidentally 'real'?
The game is semi-biographical and it's called "I Get This Call Every Day" - I don't think it's a stretch for his employers to assume that there's something in it that could be questionable from a privacy point of view. Put another way, they only have his word that there's nothing in it. Honestly though, I'm sort of indifferent about whether or not he should have been sacked and from the sound of it, he is too.
'Course, we're just speculating, right? Has he actually said why he was booted? Is it possible that this was viewed as the last of many transgressions?
Separate names with a comma.