Author Topic: Being effectively offered a demotion, what typically happens if you don't take?  (Read 6034 times)

JoJo

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Job being changed from part time to full time with demotion of responsibilities, title, and hourly pay. 

« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 10:54:56 AM by JoJo »

MaybeBabyMustache

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What's your financial situation? I wouldn't go from a 60% role to a full time role with no pay increase. So, I'd most likely start immediately looking for something else.

Freedomin5

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I’d start looking for something else.

You don’t like the corporate culture. You’re frustrated in the role and no longer feeling effective. They’re asking you to take a pay cut and work more hours. They obviously no longer value your contributions otherwise they would have offered you the full-time Role A. I see no reason to stay.

couponvan

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Did they say you wouldn’t receive more $ or are you assuming that? I’d verify that in writing, but I would phrase it as I would be fine to go to Job B in a full time role earning $X, which is the FTE of my 60% salary. You could ride that into the FIRE sunset in 1/2 the time.

norajean

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The answer is It Depends. Depends on your national and state labor laws as well as the contract and policy of the company.

lutorm

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CA and a bunch of other states are "at-will" employment, which means either party can walk away for any reason at any time. In those states, unless it's written into your employment contract, they don't have to offer you anything.

Omy

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I don't believe there are federal or state laws that require payment of severance. It's up to the company and their policies. Is their any mention of severance in the company handbook? If you're close to FIRE just ask what their severence policy is.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 04:39:06 PM by Omy »

reeshau

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As has been said, it will depend on your company's policy.  The best thing is if you had someone in the management chain or in HR that you could ask privately.

In my former megacorp, there were a number of people told: "Your job is moving.  You have the option to also move."  Those who refused were separated, with severance.  That's the closest personal example I can think of.  Some people were not given the option, and simply were separated, again with severance.

It's strange they aren't simply asking you to go full time.  Did you used to do this job full time?  Is there another person doing it part time, and they chose between you?

G-dog

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There is a company severance but doesn't refer to this situation.

So wondering if anyone out there has refused a change in job role and what happened?

Lots of companies offer severance even outside of their listed policy to forestall any lawsuit.  They will have you sign papers agreeing to not sue them in consideration for the severance.  I know someone who got a small severance when they were fired for cause!  So your companies previous behavior regarding severance is the best predictor of what they might  offer you if you refuse Role B. 


Rdy2Fire

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I would just ask the question to HR or your mgmt i.e what if I choose not to take Role B.

Don't know your situation and they may or may not; maybe you can't work FT? Maybe you don't want to and maybe you just don't really want Role B.

If you're on the cusp of retirement you have really nothing to lose just asking for severance or 40% more pay for 40% more work. If they say you can't have either then maybe you just make a deal with them for some transition time in return for allowing you to collect unemployment.

jeroly

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I would just ask the question to HR or your mgmt i.e what if I choose not to take Role B.

Don't know your situation and they may or may not; maybe you can't work FT? Maybe you don't want to and maybe you just don't really want Role B.

If you're on the cusp of retirement you have really nothing to lose just asking for severance or 40% more pay for 40% more work. If they say you can't have either then maybe you just make a deal with them for some transition time in return for allowing you to collect unemployment.
Going from 60% full time to 100% full time is 66 2/3% more work.

FIRE 20/20

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As has been said, it will depend on your company's policy.  The best thing is if you had someone in the management chain or in HR that you could ask privately.

I agree with this, but I would caution that in my experience nothing you say to management or HR is private.  When I was trained to move from an engineering track to a management track, they had a corporate lawyer who explained that once in management we were legally obligated to disclose certain things even if they were brought up in confidence.  This was primarily in the context of sexual harassment, discrimination, or other illegal activity.  However, if I remember correctly it was treated as a much more broad instruction than just that.  Obviously personal relationships matter here, but I learned to be very cautious about what I said to management and/or HR.  This was probably 10 years ago, so my memory may be lacking and rules may have changed, and company policies very. 
If you talk to someone in management or HR whether privately or not, I would assume that the information discussed will be shared.  I wouldn't say, "I'm close to retirement anyway so even if I take the demotion I'll be gone in 6 months" even if that's true.  Hold your cards close to your vest and don't hesitate to drop hints if you think it might help.  Even if I was planning to leave, I would say something like, "I really enjoy working for company X and I've been happy in this role.  <explain what's happening and ask about severance policy>." 
Finally, if you suspect some sort of discrimination (age, gender, protected class) going on then I would keep good documentation.  I'm not suggesting you go looking for it if it isn't there and I'm certainly NOT suggesting you make it up for personal benefit.  I am suggesting that those things are in the law because they happen and people should be protected from them.  I am not a lawyer, so take everything I have said with a pretty big grain of salt. 

Zamboni

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Well, it doesn't really sound to me like you've had it discussed with you in any way that allowed you to even ask questions. Instead, it sounds like you were informed of their decision. So, I would just ignore it and not sign it. If someone supervisory asked me "where is the letter you needed to sign?" I would respond "Oh, sorry, thanks for asking about that. I have some questions first. Would you like to set up a time to discuss my questions?" If an admin who is not a supervisor was sent to collect the signed forms, I'd just respond "Oh, thank you for asking me about it, but I need to follow up with [supervisor] first. Hope you are having a great day!"

New VP's do sometimes reorganize things without asking anyone what they think about it first. I've seen people have their role dramatically shift in a way that they did not see coming and were not at all happy about. But often a "that's just not going to work for me" response from employees doesn't fly with new VP's.

Do you hate role B? Or are you indifferent?
You mention an hourly rate, but are you salaried? If you are salaried, can you just go along with their "concept" that you are now full time, but then keep working the same number of hours you work now? I realize that this idea would work better in some jobs than others.
If the previous idea won't work due to the nature of the job and role B, can you accept their edict that you are now full time, but then burn a couple of sick or vacation days per week for the rest of the year and stay at effectively 60%? I only suggest this because you are on the cusp of retirement.
Do you think that new VP is specifically trying to push you individually out for some reason? Or are you just a nameless cog in the wheel to him or her and they didn't give a second thought to you, what you want to do at work, and how you have been contributing?

Some people generally just hate the idea that anyone else "gets" to work part time. I've seen ire about it from both men and women I've worked with. It seems to derive mostly from jealousy, or a holier-than-thou view that part time workers just must not be serious enough about their jobs. For people like this, elimination of part time roles is a life philosophy. My personal opinion is that people with this attitude are assholes who don't understand that part time workers are often both happy and effective contributors.

ericrugiero

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Thanks all for the answers.  I got more details today that was basically just a one page letter stating (paraphrased) "As we discussed reorganization in function X, your new job will be role B, full time, at salary $Z.  Employment is at will.  Sign here to acknowledge this was discussed with you"

No options.  When converted to an hourly rate, the pay reduction is almost 25%  (since the new job is full time it's actually an increase on an annualized basis).  I've never had a bad review in my life, only suggestions to improve on minor things.  There is a new VP making the decisions. 

And yes, I know if I talk to HR it will be shared with the VP.

It sounds like you are very soundly in FU money territory.  Don't sign the letter without having your say but do it in a professional manner.  This is probably not anything personal against you, just a new policy from the VP.  You just need to decide what you are willing to accept.  Nothing but your previous rate and 60% time?  Previous rate and 100% time?  New rate and 60% time?  I'd say don't quit, tell them what you want and make them lay you off.  You might get a severance and should at least get unemployment. 

norajean

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You may want to talk to an attorney. One could argue that you are losing your job and being offered a reduced position.  In this way, you are being laid off rather than quitting if you refuse the offer. This would at least get you unemployment if not any severance they elect to pay.  Before getting an attorney, have a sit down with your supervisor, express your concerns, and find out what is going on.

jeroly

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Thanks all for the answers.  I got more details today that was basically just a one page letter stating (paraphrased) "As we discussed reorganization in function X, your new job will be role B, full time, at salary $Z.  Employment is at will.  Sign here to acknowledge this was discussed with you"

No options.  When converted to an hourly rate, the pay reduction is almost 25%  (since the new job is full time it's actually an increase on an annualized basis).  I've never had a bad review in my life, only suggestions to improve on minor things.  There is a new VP making the decisions. 

And yes, I know if I talk to HR it will be shared with the VP.
Since you are ready to FIRE anyway, consider directly asking for severance, and if you're not happy with their offer (even if it matches their policy posted in the employee handbook), you can play hardball including taking them to court for age/sex/etc. discrimination.

use2betrix

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you can play hardball including taking them to court for age/sex/etc. discrimination.

Wtf?

This highlights what is wrong with so many people today.


dcheesi

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Thanks all for the answers.  I got more details today that was basically just a one page letter stating (paraphrased) "As we discussed reorganization in function X, your new job will be role B, full time, at salary $Z.  Employment is at will.  Sign here to acknowledge this was discussed with you"

No options.  When converted to an hourly rate, the pay reduction is almost 25%  (since the new job is full time it's actually an increase on an annualized basis).  I've never had a bad review in my life, only suggestions to improve on minor things.  There is a new VP making the decisions. 

And yes, I know if I talk to HR it will be shared with the VP.
If they explicitly mentioned your "at-will" status, I'd take that as a pretty strong hint that they fully intend to shaft you if you don't accept.

former player

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you can play hardball including taking them to court for age/sex/etc. discrimination.

Wtf?

This highlights what is wrong with so many people today.
Taking someone to court for discrimination is only going to happen if there is a case to be made and there is nothing wrong with litigating a case that can be made. 

You are a successful young man, you've probably never been on the receiving end of  "I can treat you worse than other people because you are a woman/old/disabled/a person of colour" and know that nothing is going to be done about it because the only people who "matter" are successful young men who don't care.

In this case my advice to OP would be to not sign anything at the moment and just keep turning up for work on your current 60% schedule.  Let your managers do all the work to make any change happen.  If any discussions happen you should be asking -

(a) why as both roles A and B are now going to be full time why you are being moved out of role A when all your reviews demonstrate that you are performing well in the role,

(b) who are they proposing will fill the role that you are not in,

(c) whether the full time pay in role A will be the same as the pay in full time role B,

(d) why the pay in either or both of these roles (whichever it is) is effectively being reduced by such a significant amount and whether the pay of people in other roles is being reduced through making them full time or only yours.

And document everything in real time.  Make sure you have all your personal documentation (employment contract, reviews, etc) at home and if you can legally take eg organograms of your department as evidence of who does what and their pay and status do that too.

The aim here, I am afraid to say, is not necessarily going to be for you to either keep your job as it is or get better pay in the new job.  It's to make life as difficult as possible for your managers while appearing to be entirely reasonable, and to get as much information out of them as possible which you can then use as leverage to get dismissed with a settlement/right to unemployment rather than resign or be forced out without those things.

Malcat

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I can't believe you don't have almost every single response being "talk to a lawyer".

So much of what you can or can't do, or what you *should* or *shouldn't* do depends on the laws of your jurisdiction.

I know that where I live, this would not be legal. Do not sign ANYTHING before running it by a lawyer.
This is my official policy for any and all things that employers ask me to sign, even if I'm happy with the agreement.

chasesfish

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There is a company severance but doesn't refer to this situation.

So wondering if anyone out there has refused a change in job role and what happened?

My old employer offered generous severance packages....and these situations didn't qualify for it.

They were so weird with when they were / weren't employee friendly.  I tried for two years to get a severance with no avail while mediocre performers would randomly get them. 

Duke03

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I work for a Fortune 200 company.  Our company policy is that if you take a demotion you keep your current pay for 14 months.  During that time you are expected to try to get back to a title that equals your old pay.  They also have another policy in place that during that 14 months you can take another demotion and keep your old pay for 12 more months, but expectation is you will retire at the end of the 12 month period or be let go at that point with no severance.

electriceagle

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You're in California? The company is effectively laying you off, which they have the right to do unless it is for a prohibited reason.

You may or may not be able to get unemployment if you don't take the offer. It could be iffy since the total pay is higher than your previous. You might need to have a reason that you could not work full time.

You have a right to severance only if it is in your contract (or employee handbook). You don't need to "use up" your PTO or vacation days before leaving -- these will be paid out to you at your most recent hourly rate when you leave. Sick days are not paid out when leaving.

I wouldn't recommend a discrimination lawsuit unless you have serious discrimination to base it on.