During the past 17 years of being in this practice of working with several thousand clients and helping them in their careers navigating through various encounters of employment matters I have kept a list of items that appear most frequently in our sessions. Although I am not a lawyer and not qualified to render advice on legal aspects of employment matters I am writing this blog to disabuse some commonly encountered issues that clients get concerned about or make the wrong call in how they decide what they must do to move forward, take action, or wonder about the implications of their actions in employment matters.
So, after reading this list of myths that I have compiled from my own experience, feel free to see an employment lawyer if you are still not sure about the choices you want to make:
- Two weeks notice: This is one of those myths that people get tangled in when quitting their job. In some cases I have encountered the abuse my clients encountered was so egregious that turning in your resignation and walking out immediately afterwards was the only way to show your employer the treatment they accorded you.
In one such case my client was so stressed by how his boss was treating him that he had a heart attack at work and was hauled out on a gurney by emergency medical team, right in front of all his co-workers and his boss to see, to the ICU of a nearby hospital. My client was stabilized within hours and he bravely returned to work the next day. Upon his return the only comment his boss made to him was: I know you left yesterday without telling anyone, so make sure that you do not charge this time to this company.
When this client and his wife came to see me that evening I told him to quit his job and walk out. He wanted to give them two weeks notice! Remember, most employments (in the US) are at will, which means either party can terminate the arrangement and end the relationship instantly!
- Bonus refund: Companies routinely offer sign-on bonuses. In some agreements employees are asked to return the entire sign-on bonus if they quit the job before the stipulated date. This is not always automatic, despite what the agreement may say. You may get to keep the sign-on bonus depending on how the agreement is written. Try using the default option of keeping the bonus and seeing what they do. In the case of one client, who left after being at a company for nine months (stipulation was 12) we decided to just keep the bonus and the company did not take any action. Consult a lawyer if you need to.
- Timely promotions: This is yet another misconception many have of automatically getting promoted after being at a job for a certain period of time. There is no rule that requires an employer to promote you merely based on the length of your service. Some union contracts and government agencies have these tenure-based promotions, but even there, performance is what typically drives promotional considerations.
- Annual raises: This, too, is a myth. Many believe that their employer must give them Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and automatically give them a raise to accommodate economic conditions. Raises are given based on your and your companys performance and other considerations.
- Reneging: Sometimes, after accepting a job offer and agreeing to a start date a better offer can come from another employer. You may decide that you made the wrong (or bad) choice after further investigation about the job, etc. In such cases it is acceptable to call the employer and withdraw your acceptance of you offer. Remember, employment at will condition applies from the time you accept your employment until you leave that employer, even before starting your employment.
- Internal promotion: Sometimes your boss stops you from leaving your workgroup if you find a better opportunity in another workgroup. In many companies this is prohibited by the policies in place. So, if you see your boss interfering with your desire to transfer out make sure you know the rules of the companys policies. Consult your HR representative.
- Demotion: This, too, is normal. There is nothing that prevents a company from re-assigning you to a role that it considers more appropriate. This also falls under at-will employment.
- Change of benefits: Employers can change their benefit offerings without justification. Benefits are not an entitlement in an employment agreement. But, once they are offered the employer must honor them until they are revoked.
- Salary disparities: It is not uncommon for a person with more seniority to be making less than someone who is not. How a company decides to place value on the skills of a particular employee and how to properly compensate for that skill is within the rights of how a company can do this. It can create a problem when two or more equal employees are paid differently and discrimination can be proved.
- Termination pay: Most companies have policies that govern the termination pay given to employees who are discharged or laid-off. As long as the company sticks to those policies and does not discriminate there is no cause for action if you are not paid what you think is fair for all the work and time you put into your employment at that company.
These are just few of the most commonly encountered employment issues I deal with when clients call me about their treatment by their employer. Once again, my advice is not based on any legal precedents or statutes; it is merely what I have experienced in my coaching practice throughout these 17 years. Also, every geography has its own local laws on employment, so before you take any legal action consult a trained professional to ensure that you are getting the right and best legal advice to protect you and your career.
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.
After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.
During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.
Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.
Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.
Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.
Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.
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