Morgan Stanley Fires Employee For Making Friends On The Subway

Well, we helped save Macquarie's Dave earlier this year, but can we help get sorry Solomon his job back too ?

29-year-old Morgan Stanley software developer Solomon Lederer came up with a harmless little idea while travelling on the New York subway - he wanted to reach out to commuters to see if he could encourage them to interact, and perhaps do each other the odd good turn (a kind of social subway network).

Anyway, Lederer got a bit of traction, honed his subway sales pitch, started to give out a few fliers and used his blog to promote his idea. Then, The Wall Street Journal heard about the idealistic banker and secured an interview with him, which was published in late September. Although Lederer never mentioned the fact that he worked for Morgan Stanley when engaging with the public, the Journal published that fact in its coverage.

Called in to see his boss as soon as the article appeared, he was told that he 'exhibited poor judgement', but he wasn't fired that day. The axe fell, however, five days later. Although Morgan Stanley has said that Lederer wasn't fired for talking to a reporter, the banker claims that his participation in the story led to his dismissal. He has denied that there were any performance issues hanging over his head.

Lederer, who admits to being 'a bit naive', told the Journal: 'I was trying to do a good thing, and it backfired'. He will now get 2 weeks severance for his troubles.

One banker told Here Is The City: 'Young Solomon doesn't appear to have exhibited much wisdom, but bankers have certainly done far worse in the past and remained on their payrolls. It does appear to have been an over-reaction on Morgan Stanley's part. A wrap on the knuckles and a request to desist from his subway shenanigans would surely have sufficed'.

Another said: 'OK, so Solomon didn't appear to have really thought this through, but he should be commended for trying to get people to help each other. At times like these, bankers should be doing all they can to reach out and connect with those on Main Street. He shouldn't have been fired'.

What do you think ? Should Solomon be saved ? Should Morgan Stanley give him his job back ? If you feel strongly that Solomon was hard-done-by, let us know by e-mailing us at with 'Save Solomon' in the subject bar. We'll keep a running tally and publish the best of any comments readers send in (anonymously, of course). We'll also present the overall findings to Morgan Stanley (again without identifying the names of any individuals who think the banker should get his job back).

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