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Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?
13

Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

(OP)
Dear All,

Approximately eight months ago, I joined a new company (5th of my career) The initial phase was promising, marked by a steep learning curve as I strived for productivity and commendable outcomes. My responsibilities involve document preparation and submission for managerial approval.

However, after five months, a monthly performance review initiated by my manager revealed concerns about my performance. The issues raised seemed minor and left me perplexed. Examples include omitting due dates when requesting information from other departments, occasional oversights in document details submitted for approval, and other minor details. I was not 100% accurate.

This monthly review cycle persisted, with minor issues magnified as major deficiencies. In the third monthly review, I was informed that I had failed, and my salary would be reduced by 30%. I was also notified that, in a different company, my employment might have been terminated. This development has led me to question whether these repeated observations are a deliberate strategy to justify a salary reduction.

I am actively exploring alternative job opportunities, but I am curious to know your perspective on whether this employer has the potential to change. Your insights would be greatly appreciated.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

4
They wont change, I've ran into a few companies that do this as a strategy, although it's more common when they have something like an overseas migrant on a sponsored visa.

Start looking for a new job and absolutely torch them on Glassdoor

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Sounds like a nightmare. Something like from the movie Office Space. I've never heard of anything like that in my world.

At your previous four positions did your supervisors think you did poorly on these same items? If "no" then it seems like you need to find a better employer.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

They'd be heading off to court in Australia. If someone's performance is substandard they get put on a Performance Improvement Program, which is taken seriously even in small companies. I don't know of any engineers or the like who have been on a PIP and still got fired, but it would all have to be documented.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

(OP)
Geotechguy1:

Thanks for your advice. I am looking actively. But I am still trying to understand why they actually want to reduce my salary. I need to find a way to prove that I deserve the current pay.

271828:

No, my past bosses didn't face these problems with me.

GregLoCock:

In Australia, does the content of a performance improvement plan (PIP) matter? For example, can they include small mistakes like accidentally breaking a glass the previous week or sending an email to the wrong person (by mistake)? I am asking this to see If I have a legal option to take in the US.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Not likely in the US...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

This situation is insanity. Highly doubt they will change. Are there other non management engineers at the company that you can talk to about their experiences?

Possibilities:
- these people are complete jerks
- they are trying to drive you away without having to fire you
- both of the above

In any case, find a new job ASAP. But don’t discuss the issues with the current company with any company that you interview with. And don’t post about this company until you are well settled into a new job (and be careful even then).



RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

2

Quote:

But I am still trying to understand why they actually want to reduce my salary. I need to find a way to prove that I deserve the current pay.

That's pointless; simply try to see if they telegraphed their intentions prior to this, note the symptoms, and move on. Psychoanalyzing them is not going to be fruitful; they are either a-holes to start with, or they are horrible business people who couldn't maintain their bottom line. Either way, leave as soon as you can and chalk it up to plain old bad luck. You have nothing to prove; they already know you deserver your original salary, since they paid it for 3 months.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

I don't know anything more about PIPs than I've said, but if a PIP was silly in some way then the court would take that into account when contemplating the claim for unfair dismissal.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Financial games could be afoot or your supervisor/employer could simply be trying to force you to quit. If you're genuinely curious I would quietly ask other employees' experience with reviews, paysetting, and expectations. Neither would surprise me.

Quote:

I don't know of any engineers or the like who have been on a PIP and still got fired,

Stateside those are just a formality to establish the paper-trail prior to firing someone for-cause. I only recall a few who didnt immediately resign and none allowed to remain long thereafter. Accepting a PIP opens the door for games bc an employee's poor performance is no longer a slanderous opinion if stated publicly but instead fact. Typically when employees are underperforming decent employers give multiple chances informally then either promote into a hidden corner or let the employee go with a small severance blaming business/economic conditions.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Are they going to "claw back" the 30% they say you were overpaid?

Good Luck,
Latexman

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Quote (CWB1)

...or your supervisor/employer could simply be trying to force you to quit.

I'd bet a small sum of money on this theory.

It seems like a not-so-subtle message that you need to make yourself scarce. At least you would be able to resign and not get canned. That would look better as you make your next move.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

First question is do you have a contract of employment? It staggered me the other day to find out that many in the US don't.

Even if they do, many have "probation" periods at the start to address issues, but a 30% pay cut after three months sounds rather draconian.

Second is what size of company is this and do they have separate HR type functions or not?


but get out fast is clearly what they want you to do.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

You may want to familiarize yourself with the term "constructive dismissal"; it might be relevant here (I could be wrong though). Also good to familiarize yourself with any employment protections that may exist in your state, while simultaneously finding another job. If they're this scummy, don't hold out for change. Oh, and this would be a good time to keep lot of notes on meetings with your company and such, just in case lawyers get involved down the road.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Quote (LittleInch)

"probation" periods at the start to address issues, but a 30% pay cut after three months sounds rather draconian.

Agreed. Most companies that I've heard of/dealt with that feel the need to really 'use' the probationary periods start you off at probationary pay. If you perform well, you get a raise. If you are 'acceptable' you stay on and don't get a raise. Fail, and you're gone.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

I'm not taking the side of the company here; but there are always two sides to everything and we are only hearing one. How long have you been practicing engineering? What was it like at the other companies and why did you leave? Maybe they are trying to cut costs, maybe they realized you need more experience to hit profit targets, maybe they are jerks and this was their plan all along, it's impossible for us to say. If you feel you are being mistreated and are not happy, the best option is to find another job.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

FWIW the USA is no better. Most states here are "at will" employment, meaning they can terminate you for any reason at any time.

There are also no rules regarding decent treatment of employees - my girlfriend works for a major telecom and they are laying off vast numbers of experienced people and hiring back most positions as contract employees instead. What's worse, is they are trying to minimize actual layoffs (expense of severance and unemployment insurance), shutting down major offices, and intentionally forcing employees to relocate unreasonable distances to just a handful of offices nationwide. One guy we know is commuting nearly two hours each way every day now. This is completely legal and forcing people to quit.

It can also be done to an individual - make their life uncomfortable enough that the employee just goes away.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Why should any of that be considered illegal or indecent? Businesses and workers both need to adapt to changing economic conditions and shouldn't take anything for-granted - not their jobs, health, or even being above the dirt. If your location earns little/no profit, is redundant, or has other issues then its common-sense to prepare for layoffs. If you've chosen to live in a decent area layoffs mean your next employer pays you more, if not its an opportunity to improve your life. Regardless, the only answer to my question is bc entitled folks make bad decisions and would rather others suffer.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Quote (Why should any of that be considered illegal or indecent?)


and therein lies the problem...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Quote (CWB1)

Why should any of that be considered illegal or indecent? Businesses and workers both need to adapt to changing economic conditions and shouldn't take anything for-granted - not their jobs, health, or even being above the dirt. If your location earns little/no profit, is redundant, or has other issues then its common-sense to prepare for layoffs. If you've chosen to live in a decent area layoffs mean your next employer pays you more, if not its an opportunity to improve your life. Regardless, the only answer to my question is bc entitled folks make bad decisions and would rather others suffer.

If you're replying to me (are you?) then my answer is that it's not illegal. They have lawyers and take calculated risks. Changing someone's job location without relocation assistance and calling it "job abandonment" when they're not foolish enough to move with it - that is obviously intended to offend and drive out as many employees out as possible. It's also an attempt to mislead the employees who do not relocate from claiming the unemployment to which they are entitled. 'Indecent' is a judgment - it's not a legal matter - it's corporate culture. And corporate culture has serious impact.

I guess my overall point is that if you want to work in America, your employer is free to stab your back when it saves them a buck. They will do it to your face or they will hide it in obfuscated business moves. They can lay you off the week before your pension kicks in or a day before your 401k is vested. If you don't want to be surprised you need to have your head on a swivel and stay in tune with all of the things going on. There are no US laws that protect an employee except for an explicit employment contract. As an employee, if you saw nothing wrong with using friends as your EIT references (or felt you had no choice), then you have no one else to blame but yourself.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

None of that is legal stateside. Employees cannot be involuntarily relocated beyond 25(?) miles, and signatures/lack on the required labor and tax forms easily prove/disprove consent. If an employee doesnt consent and their location closes, staff are laid off and eligible for unemployment. Pensions and other employer retirement plans are partially vested according to the federal schedule. The exact date laid off might affect whether employees are 80% or 100% vested but doesnt make them suddenly ineligible. Most employees also fully vest within five years so layoffs at 4 years & 364 days would save the company very little.

Contracts work both for and against employees. There's no free lunch, they tradeoff job security and income/benefits.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

It might be an issue with the company, but at the same time, if there were 3 monthly reviews and you kept making the same mistakes, even if minor, I would imagine they aren't too happy with you either. Look for other employment, and also try and be more thorough in your work.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

(OP)
Thank you for your replies. I appreciate your comments on my post. I acknowledge my mistakes and I am committed to learning and improving. Everyone makes mistakes—no exceptions. What concerns me is whether I am the only one making them.

As many of you advised, I anm actively applying for opportunities. In fact, I have an interview this Monday. I found the suggestion to always have another job option while working. Is it possible? Does anyone here already have another job lined up while still employed?

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

(OP)
I apologize for any confusion. What I meant was, have you ever had another job offer while you were not looking and happy with your company? I wasn't inquiring about continuous employment or your ability to find a job when actively searching. Basically at any given moment, you had another opportunity already lined up.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Ive always had “plan B” in mind.
But if someone extends an offer, they want an answer right away. You can’t string them along for 10 years as a backup.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Yes and no. Companies wont hold a specific slot more than a few months, but having a network of recruiters and engineering managers familiar with your resume/past work is definitely worthwhile. Many of the best and highest paying engineering slots arent publicly advertised. I've been recruited (without applying) while employed elsewhere. I've also quietly reached out to the network asking about new opportunities, been offered a non-competitive slot, and reported to a new office two weeks later.

I dont login too often, but do recommend using LinkedIn to help manage the network. My page is more developed than my resume, more of a portfolio with images and links to corporate and media pages showing my work. As I meet folks on-the-job, at trade shows, society meetings, or otherwise I add those folks to my LinkedIn page to keep in touch and so they can learn more about me. Forewarning - many including myself abhor random strangers trying to contact us on LI, the two exceptions being 1. they're asking for a purchasing/business contact at our employer or 2. they're salaried internal (not a private/commission-based headhunter) to a major company that is hiring. Random headhunters and engineers looking for a job are quickly declined.

One other thing I'm surprised that I often have to tell juniors - learn who the players are in your industry. Even if you have zero interest in working for them, you should be able to quickly name the largest employers and any major upcoming technology firms, and have contacts within them. At a minimum, those are the companies that shape industry and who you'll do business with eventually. At most, they're your future employer.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Aside from postponing an offer; continually trying to get jobs that you know you are going to turn down may likely build a negative reputation for you. After a 2nd or 3rd "NO", a company may likely ghost you in the future, when you actually need the job.

As an alternative, you might try to figure out how to network with employees of a potential future employer through professional associations and meetings, possibly.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

OP. I have had three offers of jobs while not seeking one while employed happily with two different companies.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Same here, but more, and I've never left a company except for economic slowdown. That's the reason I should have gone into medicine...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Quote:

That's the reason I should have gone into medicine...

There's lots of doctors thinking they should have gone into engineering; grass is greener, etc.

> family doctors, in particular continually get squeezed by insurance companies and getting paid a lot less over time, coupled with rising wages for medical assistants, drugs, etc.; my wife made more than me once in 19 years
> general acceptance of less trained, lower paid nurse practitioners that are legally allowed to do almost anything a doctor can do, but they have no medical insurance liabilities, since it's the supervising doctor who's liable, and that doctor can "supervise" way more than one nurse practitioner

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Thanks IRS... I'm aware of it. I think it's the 'greener grass' syndrome. I enjoy engineering (still) but I think I could have had just as much fun playing doctor'.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Not me... I still have some integrity. pipe

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

I just saw this thread. My two cents, from the original post:

If you had substituted the word "quarterly" for the word "monthly", this all would have made sense. Monthly reviews seem a bit crazy. As for the communication and grammatical accuracy things, I could see how a more-sane employer would measure your performance quarterly and see that there was a problem worthy of correcting. Grammatical errors just make it unnecessarily time consuming for reviewers that have to correct your work, and that is a squeaky wheel you don't want to have. Even more so with timeline and due date communication. If someone else's productivity or schedule is impacted because of consistent errors on your part, then getting dinged on a performance review is fair.

The 30% haircut thing is unheard of after only three months of getting dinged, imho. Usually you get put on a performance improvement plan first if you work for a good company.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Constructive Discharge is the legal term for when an employer deliberately makes your work situation so unpleasant that you have little choice but to resign. I'm not an attorney but it sure looks like that's what's happening to you. If so you may have legal recourse.


-Christine

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

2
(OP)
Dear All,

OP here. I have accepted an Engineering position at another company and will be transitioning out of current company at the end of this month. The experiences and lessons gained during my time at there will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of my career.

I want to express my gratitude to each of you for your valuable suggestions.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

ME2012 - good luck to you in your new job. Hopefully you have a well defined role and good mentors at the new job.

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

Good luck with your new position... and all the best.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Employer being tricky and trying to be cheap. Any suggestions?

(OP)
Thank you for your new job wishes! Interestingly, my new job pays 5K more annually than what I used to earn before my current job's 30% salary cut. So, all in all, it turned out to be a positive development.

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