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PIP this

Discussion in 'Discrimination & Sexual Harassment' started by Fair, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Fair

    Fair Law Topic Starter New Member

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    New York
    Hi I have been working for a company in NY as Software Manager for almost 3 years. The company is based offshore and the team is offshore , they have their own managers and there is a loose relationship with me. I am only acting as a facilitator and the Tech person in the US office.

    Because of politics I was put on PIP last week with a lot of non-sense statements. (Most of these can be disproved easily ).

    The pip has 45 days and 3 project goals .

    Some of the statements in the PIP:

    • "Majority of the technical solutions are given by Offshore team" and the Fact is their quality of work is very low and I am the one who delivered/initiated most of the projects.
    I have to constantly review and correct them so things don't break. And it's hard to say they always follow my suggestions.

    • "I Am not giving clear requirements to dependent teams". Fact is mostly they can't or don't write complete sentences. Also they don't respond to communications in a timely manner.
    • They also blame the delay on a project on me but the fact is we were not given permissions to create an application , which caused the delay.
    It looks like the entire purpose of this document is to find an excuse to fire me.

    I will list more reasons below to believe that:

    Last year they fired the other Software Manager who "under performed" but the fact is he is very strong technically. He was just not Indian.

    Both the other Software Managers in NY office in the same group who are from the same ethnicity got promoted and they always received top ratings.

    Some of the unrealistic goals in the PIP:

    • To have %85 delivery every sprint , considering I am not doing sprint planning , and the team doesn't report to me and so far the team never was able to deliver above %80 , how can this be a measure of my performance ?
    • While finishing every project in each sprint I also am required to do support for all our public facing applications at the same, which is taking half of my time already.
    One of the goals require me to connect to a database which has an ongoing problem . The goal states that I have to fix the database in 2 weeks , but the database is managed by the DBA team which they couldn't fix it in months. So basically in the PIP goals , they are assigning me tasks of other teams which I don't have control over.

    During our meeting I told them many of these goals have dependencies to other teams and I cannot control their work, my manager still said I am responsible for the completion of the projects including the part belonging to the other team, realistically since they didn't or were not able to resolve those dependencies since many months.

    Also I asked about the vague extra work mentioned in the PIP and they didn’t give a clear response.

    Realistically none of these goals can be completed in the given time mainly

    Any advise is appreciated.

    Should I respond to the PIP email ?

    I’m thinking to list all the factual inaccuracies and also ask to remove the dependencies from those projects so I can complete them, and remove any extra tasks so that I won’t have time issues.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Sure. But the only thing you should say is you'll do better.

    Reality check. Telling the bosses they are wrong is only going to get you fired sooner. They don't want to hear it.

    I suggest you polish up the resume and seek employment elsewhere quickly.
    Zigner and hrforme like this.
  3. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    agree it's time to look for work elsewhere if the goals they have set for you are not doable. You aren't going to change their minds with any response you could give.

    Working with the India(n) culture can be tough. You are expected to be able to do so such that you can get them to do what you need, especially if you are a facilitator/project manager vs the one who is directly performing the tasks.
  4. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    AND before you ask, yes this is legal and no it is not illegal discrimination.
  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Because I don't like to assume things, you are an employee of the company and not an independent contractor, right? Either way, do you have a contract with the company that guarantees employment for some period of time (e.g. 1 year, 3 years, or whatever) other than dismissal for cause (like poor performance, misconduct, etc)?

    If you are an employee and don't have a contract that secures your employment for some set period of time then you are an at will employee, which means the employer may fire you at any time for most any reason. They could fire you just because you gave your manager a strange look or wore mismatched socks to work (unless you were employed in DC, which prohibits discrimination based on appearance). The employer doesn't need to show your performance was poor or give you a PIP before firing you. Now, some foreign employers don't know that and follow the rules of their country since that's what they are familiar with. So they might think they have to give you a chance to improve first. But in the U.S. they don't. Or, they may have been advised, as many employers are, that following a PIP type process first helps provide a better defense against claims of illegal discrimination later. Again though, no law requires that they engage in that process.

    There are, of course, some reasons the employer cannot use to fire you. The prohibited reasons include firing you because:

    • of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation);
    • you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws);
    • you participate in union organizing activities;
    • you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);
    • you filed a bankruptcy petition;
    • your pay was garnished by a single creditor; and
    • you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).
    The exact list of prohibited reasons will vary by state. So if you are in fact fired because you are not Indian and you can prove it then you would have a good case for wrongful termination. But if they fire you it appears they'll assert performance problems, and going through the PIP process helps them set up that defense. You'd have to show that this was basically a sham to cover up for the real reason of not being Indian.

    If you are fired and think that your race/national origin was the reason, contact an attorney who litigates cases of illegal discrimination against employers and see if you might have something worth pursuing. Just be prepared that the attorney may say you've not got enough proof to establish that illegal discrimination occurred. Absent a pattern of discrimination by the employer or some blatant admission by the employer these are tough cases to win.

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