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Bait and Switch legality

Discussion in 'Employment Contracts & Work Policies' started by DavidR, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. DavidR

    DavidR Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    Massachusetts
    I work for a non-profit research laboratory. In 2011 I was offered and accepted a position as a department supervisor. I negotiated my salary and received the position offer with a start date some months later. During the interim, the institute director, struggling with some financial issues, decided to consolidate some existing positions that including firing the existing department manager to whom I would have reported. In the new scenario, I would now be given this job as manager of the department and I would also take on all the duties of the supervisor as well. But my title would be Manager, not supervisor. I was happy for the added responsibilities and assumed the details would be worked out on my arrival.

    Upon arrival I asked about a new salary and an upgraded offer letter. I got passed between different departments with no initial resolution. It will get worked out they said. During this time, however, the laboratory went through a series of major upheavals - the director left, my immediate supervisor retired, the HR director retired, we affiliated with a university, a new director, etc.. Every 4-6 months I raised the issue via emails and the response was an acknowledgement something needs to be done but can it wait until the new director gets settled, or the new HR manager gets hired, etc. A whole range of senior leaders came and went. Finally until, after three years, I had a chance to meet with the senior people who would make the decision. I wanted two things: a raise commensurate with the position and back pay equal to the difference between the supervisor salary and this figure for the last three years. They acknowledged the oversight and offered me the substantial raise that would bring parity to the position. They refused to consider any back pay, however. Not because it wasn't merited but because it might set a bad precedent if there were similar cases. I responded that if there was a pattern of this bait-and-switch hiring then they would probably be in legal trouble. As far as I know, I am the only case where this occurred.

    My question is whether this is a legal or an ethical violation? Can a company hire a person for a position with lesser responsibilities and salary then place them on day one into a different named position with greater responsibilities that carried a greater salary but not pay them that salary? Essentially they got three years of management services for free.
     
  2. txls

    txls Well-Known Member

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    They can. They did.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Nothing illegal happened and that's all that counts.

    Hope you learned something from the experience. You should have been looking for another job a long time ago.
     
  4. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Totally legal. They didn't even have to offer you the raise and change your title now.
     

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