back to article BOFH: Bullying? Not on my watch! (It's a Rolex)

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns Things are tense. On the one hand the Company is trying to be as thoughtful as possible in accommodating the needs of staff over this protracted period, and on the other hand there's the iron fist of enforcement - all bundled up into a brand new bloke, Greg, the Workplace Wellness …

  1. Bogbody

    Hummmm sounds familiar...

    Reminds me of the Managment Methods of a certain previous employer.

    Change the rules on the fly so that the selected scapegoat gets the blame.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

      Big companies do that all the time. One previous company I worked for did the following:

      - Invoked the "we may change these terms from time to time" clause in contracts to switch from a 40-hour week to a 1680 hour year, essentially allowing them to up a working week to nearly 80 hours during high-workload times. No consultation, and anyone whose contract didn't have that clause in was lumped in with everyone else. Objections were ignored.

      - They issued four new company policies that had to be read and signed by every employee. Said policies contained flagrant lies about how the company paid it's employees the industry standard rate at minimum, among other things (one mate of mine left and got an instant £15k boost. My own job was advertised with a £5k inflated figure). I refused to sign, and after much back and forth they decided to just declare that I had clearly read and understood the policies and had therefore signed them.

      Another employer I worked for had the lovely habit of repeatedly sending out emails about mental health, including linking through to webinars and videos on maintaining your own mental health. And then they put their employees under massive pressure to do the work, wasted a lot of employees time and work through mismanagement and generally burned out a lot of their staff. They have a very high employee turnover.

      1. corbpm

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        " I refused to sign, and after much back and forth they decided to just declare that I had clearly read and understood the policies and had therefore signed them."

        I had that once (a long time ago in different times ect.), my counter was that i had objected and that their failure to terminate my employement or undertake abritration was a tacit agreement to acknowledge my refusal to accept the new contract and i just carried on as before.

        So i think if a signature is necessary to complete the change of contract, a refusal is a clear No

        I don't know who would win but both arguements have some merit in my mind, but i'm not a Lawyer, i would hate to rely on that as an Employer.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

          The counter to that would be to point out that nobody in their right mind who'd read and understood would sign them. Are they implying that you're not in your right mind in which case here's and incoming write for libel/slander (delete as appropriate).

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

            And anyone who did sign it must not have been in their "right mind" at the time of signing and therefore not mentally competent to sign a legal document, thus making it null and void (IANAL( :-)

            1. ARGO

              Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

              Oooh, a reverse Catch-22. I like it!

        2. My-Handle Silver badge

          Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

          I was also the lone developer of a piece of software that kept two teams running, so I had a bit of bureaucracy armour. There was no way they'd fire me over not signing a bit of paper.

          I had made it clear in my email that I agreed to all the various terms around appropriate / professional behaviour etc. I just listed the terms I couldn't agree with (because they were objectively false) and agreed to everything else.

          Once that point was passed, it just became a bit of grandstanding with both parties wanting to make a point. Theirs was "We want you to sign anything we tell you to", mine was "You can write any document you like saying that the company is great, but don't expect me to buy into your bullshit".

        3. juice

          Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

          > " I refused to sign, and after much back and forth they decided to just declare that I had clearly read and understood the policies and had therefore signed them."

          In a past life, I worked for a company where the head of the IT department was long on charisma and short on everything else - and as an added bonus, he'd brought several of his preferred cronies with him.

          Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next Big Project was something of a disaster; virtaully the entire department was pulled in, and there was crunch for the best part of a year all the way up to the final "you shall not pass" deadline, at which point something was deployed which vaguely looked like the intended result if you squinted a lot.

          Some people did quite well out of this, since the crunch involved a lot of paid overtime. However, quite a few others were burnt out by the whole experience and decided that it was time to move on before the next debacle landed.

          So in the face of this brain-drain, the head of the department decided that the best thing to do was not to improve things like pay or working conditions, but to instead increase the mandatory notice period to three months.

          This was positioned as a way of giving people more job security, but it was pretty obviously aimed at making it harder for people to find new roles - a lot of new employers aren't going to want a three-month lag between interview and hire!

          Perhaps unsurprisingly, the brain drain drastically increased during the consultation period for this change of terms.

          Entertainingly, while they handed out the new contracts to everyone, they never actually checked to confirm whether people signed them or not. Which does make me wonder what'd happen if anyone ever chose to challenge it.

          (Equally, I have to ask: if someone wants to leave, is it really a good idea to make it harder for them to leave and/or make them stick around for longer? It's not like they're going to be enthusastic about their job...)

          Oddly, the department head got unceremoniously booted a short time after this, as not even Steve Job's Reality Distortion Field would have been sufficient to cover up how much of a mess things had become. And his cronies all made some hasty calls and vanished nearly as quickly!

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

            That three month notice period is a farce as an employee can nearly always force an immediate dismissal (fired on the spot) if so inclined, gross misconduct like hitting the department head in the face in front of witnesses usually suffices (and is very satisfying in cases like this).

            1. swm Silver badge

              Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

              Employment law in the US states that you cannot be compelled to work no matter what the work contract says (13th amendment to the US constitution - no involuntary servitude). You can just walk out the door. You may lose severance pay or a good recommendation but you don't have to give any notice at all. It is a courtesy to give notice but not necessary.

              On the other hand, the company is bound by the terms of the employment contract.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

              Depends on your industry...

              My wife has a 3 months notice, a 5 mile non-compete clause and forcing a dismissal is enough to prevent her being legally allowed to do her job. Things get weird when you work on people's teeth.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

                As long as the employer also has (at least) a 3 months notice, there at least is equilibrium. That 5 mile non-compete is, depending upon industry and location, either peanuts or way too much. And about forcing a dismissal, filing (sexual) harassment charges works about as well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        'Another employer I worked for had the lovely habit of repeatedly sending out emails about mental health, including linking through to webinars and videos on maintaining your own mental health. And then they put their employees under massive pressure to do the work, wasted a lot of employees time and work through mismanagement and generally burned out a lot of their staff.'

        You couldn't have summed up my current employer any better.

        The only difference is we don't have a high turnover at the moment for obvious reasons.

        That might change in a year or so...

        It's funny how things go in cycles.

        When I joined the company (after quite a few people had recently left) management were very keen to listen to employees' suggestions as to how they could improve morale to stop the rats deserting the sinking ship.

        I don't recall very many discussions about money. It was all about respect for the work we do, give and take when extra hours have been put in at short notice and continuing to listen to us now the process had started.

        Now we're back under the cosh.

        Undervalued and not being listened to and management are hiding behind useless platitudes in emails.

        Once things pick up I see a repeat of the time I joined.

        The difference being I will be one of the people leaving.

      3. ridley

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        I was a union rep a while ago and took my members concerns re workload to the "Boss".

        Boss listened to me and then said that the company took workload issues very seriously and was working hard to reduce it. I asked for an example.

        So Boss gave the example that they had been about to increase the working week by 5 hours but decided against it to reduce workload,


      4. Cynic_999

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        Surely a 1680 hour year averages to less than a 33 hour week - surely an improvement on the original 40 hour week?

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

          Take out 8 days for UK Bonk Halidays, and then 5 weeks of leave, and I may that more than 36.5. Which is pretty close to the 37 hour week that I have already.

          But in that scenario I'd do the hours they requested from the start of the year, and when I got to 1680, probably late September, then I'd say bye to my mangler for the rest of the year!!!! Then wait for manglement/HR to start screaming!

          1. My-Handle Silver badge

            Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

            Employees didn't get to decide the number of hours they were supposed to work. Theoretically, they were supposed to get a full week's notice of a change in hours. It didn't work.

            The company actually ended up painting themselves into a corner on that one. There was a massive amount of admin to do around keeping track of who had worked how many hours, and they ended up using employees time far to liberally at the start of the year. Towards the end, some employees were owed something close to two months off! There wasn't anywhere close to the number of man-hours left to staff the company for the last month of the financial year. They ended up getting some employees back on overtime. Several just outright resigned, secure in the knowledge that they had a couple of months pay due.

            The company went back to standard hours for the next financial year.

            Incidentally, I won't name names regarding the company. Let's just say it was Hell working there.

            1. Rich 11

              Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

              I won't name names regarding the company. Let's just say it was Hell working there.

              The Church of England?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        Small companies do it too. In fact small companies can be worse because they don't usually have anyone who really understands employment law. The small company I worked for in my previous role was great when things were going well, but when they went badly they went very bad very fast.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

          Small companies do often have a proprietor who thinks that he makes the rules - and little things like contracts or fairness don't count.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

            That thinking usually only lasts until the first (lost) court case at which point he discovers he made a very costly mistake. Some are more hard of learning and the company doesn't survive.

      6. DS999 Silver badge

        Where can I sign up for a 1680 hour year?

        I wouldn't mind the odd 80 hour week, since it mean would mean one less week than the 42 40 hour weeks you're contracted for. If they abuse that too much you'd run out of hours in August and have the rest of the year off!

      7. Aseries

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        1680 hours a year. My last 20 years at the Big U IT Company I was entitled to 6 weeks of paid Vacation, 10 paid Holidays and "unlimited" sick leave. At just over 38 hours a week not counting sick leave it is no wonder I did not feel particularly stressed other than the occasional 60 hour week of madness.

    2. nxnwest

      Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

      'On the "fly"' flattening.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        It's all the buzz these days!

        1. Quinch

          Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

          That's why it pays to insect the contract wording carefully.

    3. Chris G

      Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

      Back in the days of getting an envelope with cash in it each Friday, I was working for an outfit that had just been taken over by a French services company.

      About four weeks in, one obsequious little toe rag came around with the pay packets and an A4 clipboard with a sheaf of papers on it. He wanted each of us to sign and date the piece of paper with the amount of pay printed on the top.

      Being naturally nosy, I looked on the back where I saw a load of fine print, when I started reading it, them TR tried to insist that he 'didn't have time for that'.

      The fine print was the company trying to get us to sign away our rights under Transfer of Undertaking laws, it ended up costing the company money paying off everyone not to pursue legal action.

      I didn't last there very long, I found a new job as quickly as possible.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        I doubt it would have been valid with the signature on one side and and an unsigned change of terms on the other. Nevertheless I had a long experience of checking typed up statements before signing on every page to make sure that what came back from typing was more than just an approximation I'd sent. Doubly so if a statement was sent back subsequently because "we had to have it on different forms" or "we had to take out references to so and so because they're not before the court" - both acceptable reasons but I suspect it was one such that introduced what turned out to be a career-ending omission for someone.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

        Luckily fine print on the BACK of a signed sheet isn't actually legally enforceable, it would at the very least have to be initialed and dated on the back for that to work. Any competent lawyer would have laughed them out of court.

    4. Brian Miller

      Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

      "Change the rules on the fly ..."

      If the rules were, in fact, actually written upon a fly, that would be a very good set of rules. They would be very few, and also unreadable. Therefore, the rules could not be enforced.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This wellness bloke. Was he called Harry?

    1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge


      He was called Andy.

      1. Andy Non

        Re: No

        No, it wasn't me.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    "Not without write access to the HR archive they can't!"

    Brilliant, I needed that

    1. the hatter

      Re: "Not without write access to the HR archive they can't!"

      Even better when they don't even have read access to the archive. Due to various corporate changes over time, the only actual archive was physical, and housed in an office drawer no longer under any care, which got cleaned out sooner rather than later to avoid all sorts of other perils to the company.

      Fast forward a year or two, and being the only person i possession of (my own copy of) my contract, HR eventually realised they'd shot themselves in at least 6 or 7 feet before we'd even made it into our first meeting about my redundancy. HR could maybe have checked with other who signed identical terms, excet obviously they had parted way sooner, and there was a severe deficit of gruntle between those parties and the company at that point.

  4. Denarius Silver badge

    BOFH and PFY

    my emotional support group

  5. DrStrangeLug

    Reminds me off.

    A previous employer of mine had a clause along the lines of "the company may changet his contract at any time". But one of our developers was employed via his own private company and argued that the phrase "the company" was ambiguous and he could change the contract as well.

    So he changed the contract and named his company as the only party who could change the contract.

    1. Kubla Cant

      Re: Reminds me off.

      A curious omission. Contracts usually have a naming of parts bit near the beginning that says things like "Hypergalactic Megatrends plc, hereinafter known as The Company, T O Ragg, hereinafter known as The Employee".

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me off.

        Indeed, they usually do. Unless you're Whacky Ramshakle Corp. that put together their employment contracts (and other stuff) from bits and pieces they found on the web or elsewhere. They still sound like legalese but will omit crucial parts or outright contradict itself. And yes, such contracts do exist.

      2. Blofeld's Cat

        Re: Reminds me off.

        "I, Stanley Moon, hereinafter and in the hereafter to be known as 'The Damned' "

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me off.

      Also, although a lot of contracts have a line in them to this effect, it's not actually enforceable in law. No company can change an already agreed contract in any substantive fashion without a renegotiation.

      Of course, a lack of objection is often taken as a renegotiation with presumed assent. And said other party is often dissuaded most thoroughly from making any objection, in ways of borderline legality.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me off.

        " it's not actually enforceable in law."

        And without some severability clauses, an unenforceable PART of a contract can result in the ENTIRE contract being void

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    fine print, grey text

    I always like finding the clause that gives them the power to change anything above at any time!

    1. Rol

      Re: fine print, grey text

      Yeah! The nice thing about that, is when challenged in a UK court, the whole contract will be found invalid, as a clause that states the contract can be rewritten on a whim, undermines the whole point of having a contract in the first place.

      I guess such a sensible interpretation of why we have contracts, has still to reach the most darkest caverns of capitalist society.

      1. Paul Smith

        Re: fine print, grey text

        Unless there is the usual clause that says any clause the would render the contract invalid may be ignored thereby not rendering the rest of the contract invalid.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: fine print, grey text

          Which would result in their not being able to alter the contract under the invalid clause without rendering the entire contract invalid anyway.

          1. Keven E

            You haven't got a baboon in your pocket, have you?

            It's all that comes to mind here...


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Contracts? Must be nice.

    Us left-pondians in anything tech related are usually "at will" employees: "You have the will to work here and we have the will to employee you; if that changes for either party, for any reason" -- including completely fictitious malarkey -- "either party has the right to terminate this working relationship at any time" and there is absolutely ZERO expectation of grace period, severance, etc.

    In reality, I've seen many different scenarios, depending on company, employee, workload, etc. Some companies, and some leaving employees, are quite gracious; others are "Bye, Felicia."

    If the BOFH was even suspected of his usual tricks here, he'd be out the door immediately. If there was any real proof of what Sir Bastard actually DID, he'd be leaving in handcuffs into the arms of the FBI, and whoever hired him (boss and director) probably out the door also, likely with some hush money.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Contracts? Must be nice.

      "If there was any real proof of what Sir Bastard actually DID"

      I think you'd find it was the BOFH who held the proof and that it was completely in his favour - or favor for you left-pondians.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Contracts? Must be nice.

        Surely the proof would be carefully documented by HR using Microsoft Word, stored on the corporate fileserver. They'd show up at the disciplinary hearing with the BOFH, slap down the document that they hadn't read to see if it had changed, and only then find that it placed all the blame on HR while totally exonerating the BOFH!

        Its good to be the BOFH.

    2. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Contracts? Must be nice.

      That's only for you southern left-pondians. Here in the Great white north they actually need a reason to fire you. And in IT when layoffs do come around you're typically looking at 3 to 5 weeks severence pay per year of service with higher payouts if you're older and/or management.

      Years ago during one of the IBM purges of expensive(older) employees I knew quite a few that had been with IBM for 25+ years that got cut. They paid off their mortgages with the payout and then were hired back as contractors months later when it became apparent that they had let go the people that actually knew how to make everything work.

      1. ortunk

        Re: Contracts? Must be nice.

        I love tje roller door of fired BOFH to hired consultant

      2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

        Re: Contracts? Must be nice.

        "That's only for you southern left-pondians."

        Sorry, I forgot the "left-pond" description also applies to you fine folks across the rivers (Detroit & St. Clair) from me.

        (With regards to the "southern" bit; the majority of GWN population is more east of my average personal position than it is north. But if taking 'Murica as a whole, the geographic and population centers definitely are more to the south.)

        Can I come over and stay a while -- a LONG while -- and bring the family, too?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HR Experience with big companies

    I have, 3 times in my career been advised that my employers were unilaterally changing my contract. First time I did some research and discovered that there are Terms (government mandated things which can't be changed unilaterally) and Conditions (which are not governed and that an organisation can give itself the right to change unilaterally).

    Any change to a Term that the company intends to enforce will need to be agreed (signed) or when the company tries to enforce it you can easily resign and claim constructive dismissal or take them to a tribunal etc.

    The principle of fairness applies regardless, unilaterally changing Conditions of a contract such that it materially hurts the employee without compensation leaves you with a strong case should you choose to pursue it.

    Big companies, managment and HR departments act as though their size and specialist knowledge has a bearing on their ability to impose their will. Not so and documenting their belligerent behaviour will give plenty of ammo to share when it comes to the tribunal.

    My own experience is that in the two matters where the company did not offer me something in return for the contract change they settled a couple of days before the tribunal offering me a lot more than I wanted originally. They are terrified of having their behaviour and policies exposed to scrutiny.

    Note I am married to a lawyer (not employment though) which helps keep me on the straight and narrow.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: HR Experience with big companies

      " when the company tries to enforce it you can easily resign and claim constructive dismissal"

      Afaik you should NEVER resign in such a situation (because that means you leave voluntarily and basically give up any recourse) and should always remain "willing, able and available" to perform your duties as stupulated under the original contract. If they then FIRE you for failing to abide by the NEW terms and build a case for that firing upon that failure, only THEN can you claim an unfair dismissal (depending on what country/state you are living in and their particular laws. Some parts of the world you're just SOL either way)

      And even then I don't think "constructive dismissal is the right term here. AFAIK that applies to them moving you (and other people they want to get rid of) to "an exiting new opportunity in a new department of the company", only for them to then axe that whole department and everyone in it within a few months claiming the department is superfluous without giving you your old job back because "that's already restaffed". Ie, they "constructed" the circumstances to be able to claim that they should be allowed to fire you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HR Experience with big companies

        No, Constructive Dismissal is absolutely the right term here (at least in the UK).

        If you are forced to leave your job against your will (usually by resigning) due to your employer's conduct (or even misconduct of course - any of which must be serious) this may well be considered Constructive Dismissal and in such cases you should actually resign immediately, as otherwise your continued presence could be taken as an acceptance of such conduct. Of course this must be after having taken reasonable steps to resolve any issues.

        Were you to wait to be fired, this would indeed be a potential case of Unfair Dismissal, but that's not the same thing of course.

        IANAL etc. and this is just my interpretation.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: HR Experience with big companies

          Unfair Dismissal and Constructive Dismissal are different things. The former is where the employer dismisses an employee for unfair reasons or against the terms of the employment contract or overriding law (when there is a conflict, the law overrides whatever garbage is written in an employment contract), the latter is where the employee resigns, usually due to the conduct of the employer.

  9. Blackjack Silver badge

    And then the PFY got blocked from his little sister Zoom calls, also she wants a replacement unicorn.

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Oh god its the BOFH

    Right... abandon desk and hide in the toilet to read, the last spare keyboard was damaged in a workplace accident when my mangler sat on it... or at least thats what the paramedics were told, I wont mention how its seamed to be balanced on end when he sat down.....

    Anyways.... back to the toilet, whip out smart phone, and begin to read..... and giggle... then laugh and then say "F&%^$% IT" after reading the bit "not without write access to the HR archive" and the smart phone going for a swim.....

    As for the icon.. well a smart phone has a keyboard and I did destroy it... so it counts right?

    Ps If anyone is looking for an emotional support animal, may I suggest the humble cockroach... 400 of my kids need jobs....

    1. Zarno

      Re: Oh god its the BOFH

      Brownish liquid, escape key, yep. Story checks out.

      I wonder how many times a plumber has had to extract a smartphone from an s-bend in any major metro area...

      1. chuBb.

        Re: Oh god its the BOFH

        That's my pet theory on why phones got big again

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " His job is to routinely 'touch base' "

    I thought there might be some autocorrect shenanigans with this one where he suggested to everyone he contacted that they touch cloth..

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. herman Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      "routinely touch base" - sounds like the job description of a pedophile sex maniac.

  12. Andy Taylor

    When did they become employees?

    I thought that the BOFH and PFY had a long-standing arrangement which meant they were technically contractors and not subject to any HR policy.

    Or did IR35 change things?

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: When did they become employees?

      BOFH and PFY are whatever is most convenient and being a contractor in the UK is no longer convenient.

  13. imanidiot Silver badge

    Oh god the huggy-feelies are out again

    You'd think at some point the company would learn not to try to enforce such things on the BOFH and his PFY... Or that the word got out on not to mess with them in the "health and wellness" type circles.

    Watching these types try to deal with the sort of circles I move in (high tech mechatronics, let's just say some of my co-workers NEED their routine and do NOT like meeting anyone new if they haven't been mentally prepared for it for at least a month or 2. I'm pretty good at it myself, I only need a day or 2)

    --> Keelhauling's too good for 'em.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Oh god the huggy-feelies are out again

      Then again, everyone's routine went to Hell thnks to Corona, unless you already were working from home and even the most introvert person ever is feeling the need to go out after a whole freaking year of this.

      On the other hand... I never sleep so 50/50?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh god the huggy-feelies are out again

        re: "even the most introvert person ever is feeling the need to go out after a whole freaking year of this"

        Hrmmm, no, not really.

        Mind, our town has not been under hard lockdown (one could always go out for groceries, "essential" work, and/or for distanced exercise like walks or bike rides) so we might not be experiencing the extreme batshit cabin fever others have been having.

        I'm going to miss the "keep the hell away from me" ethos that has taken over grocery and other stores, to be honest.

  14. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    A previous employer wanted to make a large number of staff redundant following a merger with another company. To try to make things easier (and cheaper) for themselves, they decided to get everyone to sign new contracts before announcing the redundancies. Unfortunately for them, everyone refused to sign the new contracts even though there was no union or organisation involved. They tried bullying tactics like implying that promotions would go to those who signed, but nobody signed. About 2 months later they had no choice but to make the redundancies under the original contracts, but they did get rid of their HR Director first.

    Since then I have actively avoided working for US based companies as they seem to have zero understanding that employment laws in other countries are NOT the same as the US,.... and I am sick of dealing with their ridiculous bass-ackwards date format. <LOL>

  15. Rich 11

    Wellness wankery

    He's not a popular man.

    My emotional support alligator approves of this statement.

  16. ITMA Silver badge

    As for "company policies".....

    When is a company "IT Policy" not a company IT Policy?

    When the directors who have their name on it treat it like toilet paper. Especially when some employee with no idea of real world business IT (highly qualified yet can't even use a web browser properly or efficiently) thinks something should be done in a way which directly contravenes said IT Policy. Usualy for no other reason than that's how they would like to do it.

    Then suddenly everyone not in IT with a 'puter at home (which they can barely operate) becomse an "IT Expert" who can invent their own "IT Solutions" no matter how crass and stupid.

    And the IT staff who wrote the policy and make everything work? Overruled by the "experts".

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fire and re-hire

    If you're an employer and the only way to make the changes to the contract is to fire and rehire your staff then that's a clue that you may be taking a step too far. When me previous employer said that they were about to do this to me I found another job and walked. I've managed to avoid being fired so far in my career and I didn't want to start now.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Fire and re-hire

      "I've managed to avoid being fired so far in my career..."

      Ah, I'm not so lucky there. I either end up getting a great reputation and lasting years with an employer, or I end up getting kicked on short notice. Thankfully, that has only happened twice.

      First was a data entry role that a recruitment agency managed to drop me in to. Company didn't have any idea what to do with me when I arrived. During "training" (i.e. watching other workers for several days), I wondered aloud about automating some processes in front of a late-50s woman who spent her entire day copy-pasting figures from a website to Excel and back. She made 3 petty complaints about me to HR in quick succession, who then terminated my temp contract rather than deal with them.

      Second was a dysfunctional IT dept for another large company. I ended up working on a project for a project manager who had real trouble communicating and hated being asked any kind of a question. Got thrown under the bus (despite doing well on a couple of subsequent projects) and didn't pass the probation term.

      Thankfully, the other 5 employers I've had have all fought to keep me. Even the large company that made my entire team redundant (including me) ended up with a whole lot of in-fighting to keep me on board.

  18. Hazmoid

    Walked rather than pushed

    In my long and distinguished IT career , I'm happy to say that the only time I was pushed, it came with nearly 8 months of pay, the joys of working for the same company for nearly 15 years ( in Oz, after 10 years continuous service, you get pro rata long service leave up to 3 months after 15 years, and they pushed me out after 14 years.) The rest of the time I have seen a better job and gone for it.

    Regarding contract renegotiations, at least in Australia there is the principle of "employee will be better off" whenever contracts are rewritten. More to the point employers cannot change contracts to suit themselves on a whim unless they like paying big fines and penalties.

    The only downside to being on a salary is the expectation to put in extra hours outside of core business hours (with no extra compensation) and the clause that always peeved me, "other duties as required" which could mean anything from brewing coffee to sweeping the office.

    1. A K Stiles

      Re: Walked rather than pushed

      Meh, I'll make coffee or sweep up if you're happy to pay me a software developer salary or better whilst I do it.

      As far as the "... and reasonable extra hours as required." part of so many contracts - then it gets into debating what is reasonable. A couple of hours every now and then to 'get it done', in exchange for some flexibility over when I start / finish / take the car for an MOT is fine by me.

      Additional 10+ hours every week for months because the project manglement repeatedly and completely underestimate how long something would take, again, with no suggestion of additional compensation - nope, sorry - that's not reasonable. I've been fortunate to have line-managers who seem to agree with my general definition of 'reasonable' and are prepared to make the point to the organisation(s) on my behalf.

  19. Richard Pennington 1

    I'm retired now, but...

    ... but I did have one previous employer who sent out a set of performance objectives which had nothing to do with my job function (I was an out-and-out techie, and the objectives had no technical content). I refused to sign them, thereby touching off all sorts of fireworks at the next performance review.

    The same employer, after a successful project to do with the 2011 (UK) Census, set my team leader a sales target of getting another UK Census project the following year...

  20. perlcat

    F---- priceless

    "Look, if you want a nebulous position description that requires no real credentials, is devoid of accountability and offers carte blanche to make thinly researched changes to an organisation you may as well become an HR Consultant."

    I'm still laughing, but it's a bitter laugh.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wirk in a country that has pretty cast iron labour laws, which have zero enforcement.

    As a result most comapnies cheerfully flout them inthe knowledge that, should the offender ex employee takethe to court, backlog is so grat that all parties involved are l liklely to be a fair way towards retirement before the situation is resolved. Either that or the coompanies are multinationals who all seem to operate as though the employment law here is the same as whatever it is in the country their HR director happens to have been imported from.

    The one time I was given my walking papers on the pretext of redundancy I had only been with the mob in question for just over a year and it wasn't worth the grief. Even then though the suits in question tried to get me to resign and save them the complications of redundancy. That didn't happen.


    I remember many years ago though that the Sales Director at a previouls emplyer was unceremoniously booted shortly after completing their probation period, and decided to take the company to court.

    The resulting case was still rumbling on several years later when the Company MD who'd bee involved in that fireing was also booted and sued the company, ending up on two court tickets, defence on one side & plaintiff on the other.

    Oh how we laughed...

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