Author Topic: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"  (Read 6277 times)

meghan88

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Excerpt from the letter:

"Since ... your annual salary is known to us and a newer and more appropriate looking vehicle should be within your financial reach ... the concern is that ... either you may be susceptible to fraud or that you are not responsible for the position you maintain.  To be even more frank, it just looks bad."

This is regarding an employee who doesn't need his car for work, per se, e.g., to drive around or impress clients.

First link is to an article in Inc. second link is the tweet.

https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/its-perfectly-legal-for-your-boss-to-tell-you-to-drive-a-nicer-car.html

https://twitter.com/OregonProgress/status/1219832778629345280/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1219832778629345280&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.inc.com%2Fsuzanne-lucas%2Fits-perfectly-legal-for-your-boss-to-tell-you-to-drive-a-nicer-car.html

bluebelle

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2020, 08:03:05 AM »
this sounds like should be in the Onion......

AMandM

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2020, 08:22:02 AM »
It doesn't read to me as the employer telling the employee he has to buy a nicer car, but as the employer asking whether the old car is a sign of the employee being in financial trouble.

If this is a true story, I'd want to know more. What kind of job does this person have--is it a high security position where the employer has a legitimate reason to be concerned about employees' financial vulnerability, or a finance position where the employee's ability to manage money matters? (Doesn't sound like it, since they apparently don't even run credit checks.)

I don't understand what the "it" in "it's perfectly legal" refers to. Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

joleran

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2020, 08:45:06 AM »
Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Sure it is.  The most basic example of this might be a dress code.

ketchup

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2020, 08:47:41 AM »
"Sure thing boss, should I use the company credit card, or will accounting be cutting a check?"

acepedro45

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 10:46:20 AM »
I saw this on Jalopnik where they are rightfully skeptical about the letter's origins.

Quote
We will be happy to refer you to dealerships who (sic) we have worked with in the past.

The letter is just cute enough that I think it has to be a fake designed to manufacture outrage/viral shaming.

ixtap

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2020, 10:58:11 AM »
Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Sure it is.  The most basic example of this might be a dress code.

Aren't professional organization memberships sometimes required?

MilesTeg

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2020, 10:59:40 AM »
It doesn't read to me as the employer telling the employee he has to buy a nicer car, but as the employer asking whether the old car is a sign of the employee being in financial trouble.

If this is a true story, I'd want to know more. What kind of job does this person have--is it a high security position where the employer has a legitimate reason to be concerned about employees' financial vulnerability, or a finance position where the employee's ability to manage money matters? (Doesn't sound like it, since they apparently don't even run credit checks.)

I don't understand what the "it" in "it's perfectly legal" refers to. Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Depends on jurisdiction. Any state with "at will" employment make it legal for you to be fired for with no justification and no warning. "At will" states really mean you have no right to your job and no recourse if you are fired. The only exceptions are if you can demonstrate that you were fired for an illegal reason (e.g. racial discrimination). This is, of course, really hard to do unless it was actually the cause and your boss was being overt about it.

In an "at will" jurisdiction your boss absolutely can fire you if he doesn't like your car. It's not illegal to discriminate based on financial status (perceived or otherwise). In fact, financial status is very commonly used to legally discriminate for employment.

And honestly, if your boss is that crazy as to fire you because you don't drive a new car, you're probably better off.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 11:02:09 AM by MilesTeg »

raincoast

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2020, 11:32:31 AM »
It doesn't read to me as the employer telling the employee he has to buy a nicer car, but as the employer asking whether the old car is a sign of the employee being in financial trouble.

If this is a true story, I'd want to know more. What kind of job does this person have--is it a high security position where the employer has a legitimate reason to be concerned about employees' financial vulnerability, or a finance position where the employee's ability to manage money matters? (Doesn't sound like it, since they apparently don't even run credit checks.)

I don't understand what the "it" in "it's perfectly legal" refers to. Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Depends on jurisdiction. Any state with "at will" employment make it legal for you to be fired for with no justification and no warning. "At will" states really mean you have no right to your job and no recourse if you are fired. The only exceptions are if you can demonstrate that you were fired for an illegal reason (e.g. racial discrimination). This is, of course, really hard to do unless it was actually the cause and your boss was being overt about it.

In an "at will" jurisdiction your boss absolutely can fire you if he doesn't like your car. It's not illegal to discriminate based on financial status (perceived or otherwise). In fact, financial status is very commonly used to legally discriminate for employment.

And honestly, if your boss is that crazy as to fire you because you don't drive a new car, you're probably better off.

Yet another reason why I’m glad to live in Canada, where “at will” employment does not exist. If my boss doesn’t like how I get to work, they either have to prove cause (good luck with that) or pay a nice severance package.

AMandM

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2020, 12:51:37 PM »
Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Sure it is.  The most basic example of this might be a dress code.
That seems different. A dress code is normally specified up front as part of the job requirements, and it does matter to the company, whether in terms of image to the clients or professional atmosphere in the office.

In an "at will" jurisdiction your boss absolutely can fire you if he doesn't like your car. It's not illegal to discriminate based on financial status (perceived or otherwise). In fact, financial status is very commonly used to legally discriminate for employment.

And honestly, if your boss is that crazy as to fire you because you don't drive a new car, you're probably better off.
I see. This makes me realize how sheltered I've been with respect to employment situations--I live in an at-will state but hadn't understood till now how far that reaches. In that situation, I agree with your last line!

Villanelle

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2020, 01:08:15 PM »
Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Sure it is.  The most basic example of this might be a dress code.
That seems different. A dress code is normally specified up front as part of the job requirements, and it does matter to the company, whether in terms of image to the clients or professional atmosphere in the office.

In an "at will" jurisdiction your boss absolutely can fire you if he doesn't like your car. It's not illegal to discriminate based on financial status (perceived or otherwise). In fact, financial status is very commonly used to legally discriminate for employment.

And honestly, if your boss is that crazy as to fire you because you don't drive a new car, you're probably better off.
I see. This makes me realize how sheltered I've been with respect to employment situations--I live in an at-will state but hadn't understood till now how far that reaches. In that situation, I agree with your last line!

To me, the difference is that when I am getting myself to work, I'm on my own time.  When I'm at work, wearing my suit or my stained tank top, I'm on the clock. 

I totally get that it's not illegal to care about the car, but unless the car is being driven during work hours like the clothes are being worn during work hours, one seems professional and the other seems personal.

TVRodriguez

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2020, 01:16:52 PM »
Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Sure it is.  The most basic example of this might be a dress code.
That seems different. A dress code is normally specified up front as part of the job requirements, and it does matter to the company, whether in terms of image to the clients or professional atmosphere in the office.

In an "at will" jurisdiction your boss absolutely can fire you if he doesn't like your car. It's not illegal to discriminate based on financial status (perceived or otherwise). In fact, financial status is very commonly used to legally discriminate for employment.

And honestly, if your boss is that crazy as to fire you because you don't drive a new car, you're probably better off.
I see. This makes me realize how sheltered I've been with respect to employment situations--I live in an at-will state but hadn't understood till now how far that reaches. In that situation, I agree with your last line!

To me, the difference is that when I am getting myself to work, I'm on my own time.  When I'm at work, wearing my suit or my stained tank top, I'm on the clock. 

I totally get that it's not illegal to care about the car, but unless the car is being driven during work hours like the clothes are being worn during work hours, one seems professional and the other seems personal.

In HR's defense, they did put "Personal Matter" in the subject line of the email - LOL

Villanelle

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 01:47:49 PM »
Assuming the email is real, I think I'd send a link to a MMM article about cars, and let them know that not only were my finances excellent (I'd perhaps let the know that I was in the X quintile for my age), but that part of the reason they are excellent is that I do things like continue to drive a perfectly functioning older vehicle during time that I am off-the-clock for Megacorp, and that I hope that puts the matter to rest.

The email seemed to want to pretend it was about finances, when in fact it was about appearance, but I'd address only the former.  At least put them in the awkward position of having to admit that it isn't at all about concerns over my finances or my propensity for need-based theft. 

PDXTabs

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2020, 02:21:19 PM »
Fascinating. It probably varies state by state. When I was a manager in Oregon our legal department told us that we absolutely could not do this and that there was case-law.

chrisgermany

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2020, 01:07:37 AM »
"Please feel free to offer me a nice company car."

Moonwaves

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js82

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2020, 05:27:13 AM »
Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Sure it is.  The most basic example of this might be a dress code.

Aren't professional organization memberships sometimes required?

At my employer, they're not required, but they are "encouraged" and there are references to them in the promotion criteria for nonmanagerial engineers/scientists - not hard requirements, but a factor that's considered.  Something about being a recognized representative of the company to the broader technical community.  Of course, my employer also covers a portion(typically 50-75%) of membership dues.

The distinction here is that it's technically not required for employment, but potentially beneficial for one's career trajectory.


Back to the topic at hand, two of the flashiest cars in the lot at my workplace in recent years(a high-end Mercedes and a Tesla) are/were driven by junior engineers for whom the cost of the vehicle probably approached a year's salary.  The two cars most legendary for their longevity/oldness(20+ years, >300k miles) were driven by higher-level managers(who did all of their own work on the vehicles), at least one of whom has since leveraged his longstanding financial discipline into a retirement somewhere warm and sunny.  Both of those managers were fantastic bosses, for what it's worth.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 05:33:33 AM by js82 »

Sugaree

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2020, 09:20:51 AM »
Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Sure it is.  The most basic example of this might be a dress code.


I noticed the other day that a girl I went to HS with is having to sell her 2012-ish Land Rover because her job requires something newer.  She obviously took really good care of it because it's in nearly mint condition.  If I were in the market for another car, I'd consider it.  I'm not entirely sure what she does, but I suspect that she's having to use her personal car to transport guests of her employer.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 09:24:02 AM by Sugaree »

Just Joe

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2020, 10:43:58 AM »
It doesn't read to me as the employer telling the employee he has to buy a nicer car, but as the employer asking whether the old car is a sign of the employee being in financial trouble.

If this is a true story, I'd want to know more. What kind of job does this person have--is it a high security position where the employer has a legitimate reason to be concerned about employees' financial vulnerability, or a finance position where the employee's ability to manage money matters? (Doesn't sound like it, since they apparently don't even run credit checks.)

I don't understand what the "it" in "it's perfectly legal" refers to. Surely it's not legal for an employer to *require* (as a condition of continued employment) that an employee spend his own money in a certain way for a purpose not related to job performance.

Depends on jurisdiction. Any state with "at will" employment make it legal for you to be fired for with no justification and no warning. "At will" states really mean you have no right to your job and no recourse if you are fired. The only exceptions are if you can demonstrate that you were fired for an illegal reason (e.g. racial discrimination). This is, of course, really hard to do unless it was actually the cause and your boss was being overt about it.

In an "at will" jurisdiction your boss absolutely can fire you if he doesn't like your car. It's not illegal to discriminate based on financial status (perceived or otherwise). In fact, financial status is very commonly used to legally discriminate for employment.

And honestly, if your boss is that crazy as to fire you because you don't drive a new car, you're probably better off.

Yet another reason why I’m glad to live in Canada, where “at will” employment does not exist. If my boss doesn’t like how I get to work, they either have to prove cause (good luck with that) or pay a nice severance package.

America where our culture describes itself as being the best but in reality is backwards as hell...

Scandium

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2020, 11:07:59 AM »
This is guaranteed a fake. Just seems to perfectly dumb.. If it wasn't I'd be glad if I got this email from HR; it's clearly a place I'd have no interest working!

martyconlonontherun

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2020, 11:23:35 AM »
The generic VP titles at the end make it seem fake. Why would 2 people put their name on an email like that in writing? Anyone in HR would set up a meeting to discuss and not have it in writing.

BlueHouse

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2020, 11:27:47 AM »
I've heard of HOAs that ask homeowners to get nicer looking cars. 

To be honest, I always look at the cars in the neighborhood to help determine whether or not I want to live there.  No comment on whether I look for nice cars or junkers.

economista

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2020, 01:09:38 PM »
I used to have a boyfriend whose parents were extremely mustachian and were both CEOs of companies. His mom had continued driving an old 1980 station wagon even when she was the CEO of a company. Eventually she was offered the job of CEO of the parent company (around 2006-ish) but they told her she had to buy a new car because they couldn't have the CEO driving around in an old beater. She said she would love driving a new car but they had to buy it for her - AND THEY DID! Her position is very high profile so I understand that the company wanted her to "look the part" so to speak.

In a funny way, that family got me started on my mustachian journey - they are extremely frugal even though they are in the 0.001%.

PDXTabs

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2020, 01:38:18 PM »
To be honest, I always look at the cars in the neighborhood to help determine whether or not I want to live there.  No comment on whether I look for nice cars or junkers.

Yea, I prefer if there is an old Honda up on blocks in someone's front yard.
  • That's badass, fixing your own problems.
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BDWW

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2020, 02:04:08 PM »
To be honest, I always look at the cars in the neighborhood to help determine whether or not I want to live there.  No comment on whether I look for nice cars or junkers.

Yea, I prefer if there is an old Honda up on blocks in someone's front yard.
  • That's badass, fixing your own problems.
  • I prefer to be the second most trashy person in the neighborhood, so that I don't get all the complaints.

Amen, I think I've mentioned it on this forum before, but one of the prime considerations in buying our house was the across the street neighbors yard.  He had a couple older vehicles in questionably working condition in his driveway, a tractor, and an old truck with a plow on it parked on the street. Not trashy unkempt, but clearly worked on things.

He had a rocket mass stove in his house, and a working homemade wind turbine. He ended up selling his business (lawn care and snow removal), and moving to his off-grid cabin he'd been building in the mountains over the years. The new neighbors are much more pedestrian and boring. :)

AMandM

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2020, 03:26:33 PM »
DH reminded me today that an old acquaintance of ours, who worked in hostile takeovers in the 1980s-90s, was taken aside by his manager and told that his car was a little too flashy, and it would look better if he drove something more conservative.

His car was a dark blue Lincoln Continental.

lollylegs

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2020, 05:47:39 PM »
About 15 years ago I had my own business and rented a room with four other health professionals. I drove my good old 1984 Ford Laser to work, parked next to their very expensive, leather interior, bright and shiny leased fancy cars. After a couple of months they suggested I really should invest in a new car, recommended leasing, said it would be better for my business image than driving my old faithful Laser, it would show I was successful which would attract clients. I told them the kind of clients that would hire me for the car I drove instead of my professional skills were not the kind of clients I wanted to work with. Needless to say they were not impressed but I never had any problems getting clients who paid me very well. 

Taran Wanderer

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2020, 08:48:56 PM »
I had a boss comment on my 190,000 mile car once.  I gave him a ride somewhere, and the cargo box on top was rattling.  He thought it was a car.  I thanked him for his concern, assured him everything was fine with the car, and kept driving it.  A couple of years later, with 215,000 miles, I decided to upgrade, but not because of anything wrong with the car.  I was tired of dragging the bottom on gravel roads, and with a new dog, I wanted a wagon so the dog could ride in back rather than in the back seat.

Whether the e-mail is real or fake, it's the image thing that really irks me.  "It just looks bad..."  Response:  "Well, my bank account doesn't!"  That is the real issue here - the image.  If you're concerned about someone's well-being or even their financial health with regard to fraud prevention, you would handle this in a different way.

PDXTabs

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2020, 06:54:07 PM »
I had a boss comment on my 190,000 mile car once.

Mine too, but he said that it was awesome that I was so frugal and that it would serve me well later in life. He went on to retire at 55.

obstinate

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2020, 06:06:21 PM »
The best way to handle this (assuming you want to keep the job) is to strike a conciliatory tone. "My personal financial goals do not currently allow for buying a new vehicle, but I can assure you my accounts are in good order. I'd be happy to provide a letter of verification from my bank that I have at least $X in my accounts with them."

Of course, I think that by the time you get a letter like this, keeping the job might be out of the question. Nobody ever sent a letter like this to someone who was viewed as high performer. Assuming it's real, it's an attempt to get rid of someone who is no longer wanted, for some reason or another.

Speaking of reasons, I'm not sure I buy the idea that an "at will" state would necessarily make this action legal. First, all fifty states in the U.S. have "at will" employment. This means you can be fired for no reason. It does not mean you can be fired for any reason. And it's very easy to believe that one possible invalid reason would be a requirement to spend a large amount of money on a personal vehicle. IANAL but I suspect the person would have a case, in the event that this were a real story.

AMandM

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2020, 11:49:51 AM »
Speaking of reasons, I'm not sure I buy the idea that an "at will" state would necessarily make this action legal. First, all fifty states in the U.S. have "at will" employment. This means you can be fired for no reason. It does not mean you can be fired for any reason. And it's very easy to believe that one possible invalid reason would be a requirement to spend a large amount of money on a personal vehicle. IANAL but I suspect the person would have a case, in the event that this were a real story.

IANAL either, but I think you may be wrong. The Wikipedia article on at-will employment quotes a SC of California decision:
[A]n employer may terminate its employees at will, for any or no reason ... the employer may act peremptorily, arbitrarily, or inconsistently, without providing specific protections such as prior warning, fair procedures, objective evaluation, or preferential reassignment ...
(emphasis added)

MilesTeg

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2020, 11:55:08 AM »
Speaking of reasons, I'm not sure I buy the idea that an "at will" state would necessarily make this action legal. First, all fifty states in the U.S. have "at will" employment. This means you can be fired for no reason. It does not mean you can be fired for any reason. And it's very easy to believe that one possible invalid reason would be a requirement to spend a large amount of money on a personal vehicle. IANAL but I suspect the person would have a case, in the event that this were a real story.

At will employment means you can be terminated without explanation or compensation. The company doesn't have to tell you why. The only time a company gets in trouble firing an at will employee is if they actually try to give a cause and that cause is illegal. Typically, this is how it happens:

HR: You're being let go; here's your termination paperwork
Employee: Why?
HR: You're being let go; please fill out the paperwork and then you'll be escorted out.
Employee: well, shit

As to this specific letter (which I don't believe is real), it is absolutely legal to not hire or to fire someone for reasons of personal finance. It's one of the few qualities that companies can use to discriminate (with generally good reason). It would go like this:

HR: You're being let go; here's your termination paperwork
Employee: Why?
HR: Our routine credit monitoring shows your credit rating has dropped below acceptable levels which classifies you as an insider threat. Have a nice day.

Villanelle

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2020, 11:57:39 AM »
The best way to handle this (assuming you want to keep the job) is to strike a conciliatory tone. "My personal financial goals do not currently allow for buying a new vehicle, but I can assure you my accounts are in good order. I'd be happy to provide a letter of verification from my bank that I have at least $X in my accounts with them."

Of course, I think that by the time you get a letter like this, keeping the job might be out of the question. Nobody ever sent a letter like this to someone who was viewed as high performer. Assuming it's real, it's an attempt to get rid of someone who is no longer wanted, for some reason or another.

Speaking of reasons, I'm not sure I buy the idea that an "at will" state would necessarily make this action legal. First, all fifty states in the U.S. have "at will" employment. This means you can be fired for no reason. It does not mean you can be fired for any reason. And it's very easy to believe that one possible invalid reason would be a requirement to spend a large amount of money on a personal vehicle. IANAL but I suspect the person would have a case, in the event that this were a real story.

IANALeither, but generally the reasons for which you can't fire someone are related to protected class.  You can't fire someone for race, gender, or anything else that puts them in a protected class. 

"Drives a shitty car" is not a protected class.  Even "poor" is not a protected class, as far as I know, though this particular [likely made-up] case doesn't seem to be about "can't afford a nicer car" so much as it is "won't afford a nicer car".  So maybe I should also add that mustachianism isn't part of a protected class either.

Now there are nuances to every law, but it's not entirely unreasonable to believe that, "we don't think he presents an image we want associated with Megacorp" would be considered an illegal grounds for terminating employment.

obstinate

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2020, 03:46:22 PM »
IANALeither, but generally the reasons for which you can't fire someone are related to protected class.  You can't fire someone for race, gender, or anything else that puts them in a protected class.
Those are definitely the ones you hear about. But I would guess that you cannot be fired in most states if your boss orders you to give him $10,000 and you refuse. Or if she orders you to send that money from the company account to her own. You are entitled to reimbursement of business expenses, for another example. The company can't make it a condition of your employment that you buy things for the company without reimbursement.

There are legitimate orders and illegitimate ones, even in at-will states. It's really down to the individual state laws, so we can't really make a universal pronouncement. Consult your friendly employment atty etc.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 04:46:37 PM by obstinate »

PDXTabs

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2020, 09:13:44 AM »
HR: You're being let go; here's your termination paperwork
Employee: Why?
HR: You're being let go; please fill out the paperwork and then you'll be escorted out.
Employee: well, shit

Said no HR department that I have ever worked with or for, because they have no desire for higher unemployment insurance payments.

MilesTeg

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2020, 10:14:38 AM »
HR: You're being let go; here's your termination paperwork
Employee: Why?
HR: You're being let go; please fill out the paperwork and then you'll be escorted out.
Employee: well, shit

Said no HR department that I have ever worked with or for, because they have no desire for higher unemployment insurance payments.

Companies certainly try to avoid firing people to avoid paying unemployment (the shitty ones try to find a way to get the employee to quit, the decent ones provide transition time).

But when the decision is made to terminate an employee, that's exactly what happens.

PDXTabs

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2020, 10:48:51 AM »
Companies certainly try to avoid firing people to avoid paying unemployment (the shitty ones try to find a way to get the employee to quit, the decent ones provide transition time).

But when the decision is made to terminate an employee, that's exactly what happens.

Every single company that I have ever worked for has been in a state where if you fire someone "with cause" (which usually means repeatedly documented cause) you do not need to pay unemployment. As such, every single company that I have ever worked for has told the exiting employee whether or not they were fired "with cause" because anything else is moronic. Specifically, because the company has to show up and defend their cause if the employee files for unemployment.

Also, there is this little thing called Glassdoor and this doesn't go well in a review:

HR: You're being let go; here's your termination paperwork
Employee: Why? Is this "with cause?"
HR: You're being let go; please fill out the paperwork and then you'll be escorted out.
Employee: So if I file for unemployment will you contest it?
HR: Goodbye

MilesTeg

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2020, 12:26:47 PM »
Companies certainly try to avoid firing people to avoid paying unemployment (the shitty ones try to find a way to get the employee to quit, the decent ones provide transition time).

But when the decision is made to terminate an employee, that's exactly what happens.

Every single company that I have ever worked for has been in a state where if you fire someone "with cause" (which usually means repeatedly documented cause) you do not need to pay unemployment. As such, every single company that I have ever worked for has told the exiting employee whether or not they were fired "with cause" because anything else is moronic. Specifically, because the company has to show up and defend their cause if the employee files for unemployment.

Also, there is this little thing called Glassdoor and this doesn't go well in a review:

HR: You're being let go; here's your termination paperwork
Employee: Why? Is this "with cause?"
HR: You're being let go; please fill out the paperwork and then you'll be escorted out.
Employee: So if I file for unemployment will you contest it?
HR: Goodbye

Where I live, you are eligible for unemployment as long as:

1. your separation was not your choice (though certain exceptions apply, such as voluntary separation due to medical reasons)
2. you were not fired for certain types of misconduct (breaking the law, gross negligence causing harm, etc.)

I've been involved in firing several folks from my team. HR never gives cause, as they are not obligated by law to do so and providing a cause only opens the door to legal action about that cause. Never had to fire anyone for misconduct, only for poor performance.  I'm sure if my company fires someone for a cause that can get them out of unemployment they will do that.

As to glassdoor, of course it's generally done more tactfully (severance pay, transition period, other carrots, etc.) but at the end of the day you're still getting fired with no legal recourse.

Sounds like you have worked in places with different laws.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 01:00:50 PM by MilesTeg »

jinga nation

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2020, 12:28:26 PM »
The trick is to make sure your boss drives a car older than yours.
Bonus points, if he doesn't, that you convince him to buy a vintage ride. Because "it'll only go up in value over time", the price will be what the odometer shows, so it'll have to be his daily driver.

(Replace he with she if female boss.)

mm1970

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2020, 01:13:51 PM »
The trick is to make sure your boss drives a car older than yours.
Bonus points, if he doesn't, that you convince him to buy a vintage ride. Because "it'll only go up in value over time", the price will be what the odometer shows, so it'll have to be his daily driver.

(Replace he with she if female boss.)
My boss drives a 1996 Mustang, done!

obstinate

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2020, 09:34:59 PM »
I've been involved in firing several folks from my team. HR never gives cause, as they are not obligated by law to do so and providing a cause only opens the door to legal action about that cause. Never had to fire anyone for misconduct, only for poor performance.  I'm sure if my company fires someone for a cause that can get them out of unemployment they will do that.
I mean, at this point it's irrelevant whether HR gives cause during the termination conversation. The person has the company's demand that they buy a new car in writing. Unless there is some other documentation, I have to think that any court will presume this is the cause if they are let go.

Like, this happens all the time, where a company will do something shitty then make up a reason to fire someone. It doesn't work, if the shitty conduct was illegal. No racist ever fired a person "because they are black." They'll make up some other reason. But if there's a pattern of harassing behavior, and it's documented, then the court doesn't have to give undue weight to the company's official version of events.

The only question is whether requiring an employee to drive a nice car, unconnected with the job responsibilities, is legal in the state where the person is employed.

Gin1984

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2020, 09:40:16 PM »
IANALeither, but generally the reasons for which you can't fire someone are related to protected class.  You can't fire someone for race, gender, or anything else that puts them in a protected class.
Those are definitely the ones you hear about. But I would guess that you cannot be fired in most states if your boss orders you to give him $10,000 and you refuse. Or if she orders you to send that money from the company account to her own. You are entitled to reimbursement of business expenses, for another example. The company can't make it a condition of your employment that you buy things for the company without reimbursement.

There are legitimate orders and illegitimate ones, even in at-will states. It's really down to the individual state laws, so we can't really make a universal pronouncement. Consult your friendly employment atty etc.
Counter point, teachers are required to do this so much so, it was coded into tax law.

obstinate

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Re: "It's Perfectly Legal for Your Boss to Tell You to Drive a Nicer Car"
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2020, 10:06:08 PM »
Counter point, teachers are required to do this so much so, it was coded into tax law.
That's not really a counterpoint, as no teacher is ever required to do this. They often feel compelled to by the circumstances, but I will assert with 99% confidence that nobody ever got fired for declining to do so. Happy to pay $10 to a non-religious charity of your choice if you find a definitive counterexample.