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Sandy (Journalist)     10 July 2013

Fraud employer refuses to clear salary and reimbursement due


Employers not paying salary or not delivering on what was promised is common in India. There are many employers out there who are ready to prey on gullible candidates. But this one takes the cake. It is by a technology  firm who hires a tech person, makes him wind up his business, steal his ideas, make him move across cities and then just fire him without paying any of the expenses that were borne.

A company has the financial wherewithal to hire lawyers and engage in lengthy battles until the employee wears down, gives up or just moves on

Everyday we see so many employees - young and old- suffering and getting depressed over not getting their dues. Someone's salary is unpaid. Somebody has his privilege leaves (PL) money held up. Some one is waiting for his/her provided fund. Somebody has not been given a proper employment and experience certificate. The list is endless.

We need strong law. At least one big verdict against unscrupulous employer every month will shake them up. The lack of fear in their mind about being punished makes them more and more adamant. To the point of being so shameless that they do not think twice before breaking any law. Would it be wrong to say that any senior person in a fraud employment organization does not have a semblance of self-respect or conscience?

The following case is about an employee.

He is from a city in India. He is an engineer with master's in management. He has worked in blue chip companies. He travels to another city within India for a promised job offer. He bears expenses of interview related travel. He is promised reimbursements. The employer turns out to be a big fraud. They take his ideas. Implement them. They fire him. None of his dues are cleared.

Do read on for more details.
________________________________________________


Oct: A placement agency representing Company ABC Tech (let's say) contacts the candidate through a job portal .

Candidate responds by email with his resume.

A week later, Placement agency responds saying " Your resume has been shortlisted for telecon"

Nov:

Candidate undertakes a telecon (interview) with the VP of the firm.

Candidate clears this. Placement agency again responds by saying "congrats. You have cleared the round 1"

Dec:

Next up, the CEO of the firm arrives in India

Candidate clears the telephonic interview with him.

It all seems too easy and too good to be true. But who would have thought.

Immediately the HR of the company advises the candidate to get ready for a face to face interview with both the VP as well as the CEO.

They advise him to land in City of Employment at his own expense. They promise to reimburse. They are talking very nicely and seem 'believable' at that point of time.

Candidate does as told. Meets them and returns.

Apart from other things, they discuss salary matters.

The two top guys from the company promise "more face time with clients in USA" which simply means that candidate is being promised "On Site" opportunities. This is important because in tech company parlance this means going to USA for certain period.

Candidate returns to Home Town.

Candidate is still in touch with the two people from the company on phone. He discusses what work he can do to improve things in the company.

The company guys also smooth-talk him into slipping out key details of his clients and keep seeking several strategic insights on how to do things.

Company HR rolls out the offer letter by 3rd week of Dec

They now insist that the candidate join in early.

The HR lady and the VP keep following up.

They insist that the candidate join in early to avoid "missing the bus" of new joinee induction.

The candidate eventually is persuaded to spend on his own with the promise of reimbursements.

The candidate tells the company people about his situation. He mentions that he is currently having his own engagements going on. It  would be difficult to leave at short notice.

But the CEO, VP and HR are adamant. They want the candidate on board asap!

Jan

The candidate spends the entire Jan wrapping up his on-going concern. He terminates relationship with his associates and with his on-going clients.

After having done that he boards a flight by last week of Jan.

He is given a 2 week stay in guest house. SO he reaches company guest house.

Day1 : Candidate reports to work. Gets inducted.

No appointment letter is given. But he is made to sign an NDA Non-Disclosure Agreement

The work begins from next day.

Several key insights are taken from the candidate by the CEO and his team sitting in USA. This is done over video conference or voice chat over internet etc.

The candidate starts to get a feel that something is fishy because after repeatedly reminding the HR verbally and over email , he is not given an appointment letter.

Day1 to Day14: Candidate is made to stay at the designated guest house of the company.

He continues his work. The work hours are crazy and stressful. But he finishes all requirements as desired.

Feb : Candidate is given the few days Jan salary cheque

Next Day Feb: Candidate is made to sign a form which provides his previous employers' references. They take authority from him to conduct full background verification.

The verification process is supposed to start only 10 days later (i.e. on mid-feb.)

7 Feb: Candidate is sick and communicates over email a request to work from  home. This he does using the company's laptop. He does voice calls over the phone and video conferences.

Little does he know that during his absence from office, they have hatched a plan to terminate his employment under some pretext.

8 Feb:

1030 am Candidate and other employees are asked to undergo compulsory medical test first thing in the morning.

430pm Candidate is taken into a conference room accompanied by the HR the VP and the Finance head. All 3 on one side of the table. the candidate on the other side of the table.

They convey to him " We do not see you as a cultural fit. Also there is a 'trust deficit' that we see during the past few days. So we have to terminate you. You will have to leave immediately in the next hour"

The candidate tries to reason, explain. He also suggests giving an opportunity to explain his position. But to no avail.

Candidate also demands that he speak to the founder CEO who is outstation. The CEO says he is aware of the decision and explains his position. He says he was aware of everything throughout and agreed to take this decision.

They take complete handover of all the documents and office properties.

830pm Candidate is taken into another room. The VP says that they will show it as "due to medical reasons you had to leave . No employee will be told the real things. Also, we will show that you left on your own. So just sign this resignation letter. Take these salary slips. Take these cheques for the number of days you worked. And leave. Submit your travel bills later"

They put 2 cheques for him. Feb month salary. Estimated travel fare money for travel back to Home Town.

The candidate asks " What about notice pay. I am entitled ain't I? Where are the terms of contract? Where is appt letter? It seems you all did this on purpose and not issue one"

The VP replies "Ok. here is the appt letter. It is back dated as date of joining. Your sign is needed. Also do put the date of joining date below your signature"

The candidate refuses this suggestion of signing any document. He takes the cheques and leaves.

After reaching guest house, he notices that on cheque the name is spelt in a certain way whereas on the other one it is spelt differently. He wonders if this was a deliberate mistake. Due to the high stress, he didn't notice in office itself. Now weekend has begun so he will get a chance to explain this to the company guys only on Monday.

9 Feb and 10 Feb  are the final days to stay in guest house.

On 10 Feb candidate leaves the guest house. He shifts to a hotel

11 Feb Monday

The company guys (VP and HR) keep phoning him. They also want to know the decision. They even suggest that they "can show the letter as required. They can make it look like a client-consultant relationship if needed. Or a contractual employee. OR just the way it as employer-employee but employee quit due to health reason. etc."

The candidate mentions that the cheques have got wrong spellings on them.

The VP gets extremely irritated upon hearing this. He initially just denies it. He says "that is not possible. But I will still check with finance guys." He also expresses his anger on the fact that the candidate tried to encash the cheques. He is angry that the candidate left without signing any document and is now encashing the cheques. The logic that the cheques are the monies that the candidate has already spent on travel and other related expenses fails on him.

The company guys want him to come to office and "sign all documents so that they can close the matter" They keep coercing him using email sms and phone calls.

Upon seeking legal advice, the candidate does not go to the office to sign anything.

This enrages the VP. He threatens to take action. He even swears and says that he will block the cheques so that the candidate will not be take the money due to him.

From that day on, daily for the next 4 days, the VP tries to get the candidate to his office to sign things so that they can then "release his money". His tone that was friendly until monday evening, now becomes increasingly angrier and irritated with every phone call. He calls the candidate names and refuses to acknowledge that the candidate has contributed anything to deserve being paid. His only aim apparently is to get the forms and documents signed.

12 Feb Tuesday

The candidate deposits the cheques in bank. Two days later the bank sends sms confirming that hte cheques have bounced.

14 Feb

A background verification company calls the candidate asking if they can go ahead with the process. The candidate explains that it would  not be correct to do any such thing given the fact that he is not associated with the organisation anymore. He explains in no uncertain terms that doing so would be illegal and invading on his privacy as there is no reason to do so.

The Background Verification Company guy brings his senior on phone and they all agree.

Immediately The candidate shoots off an email to the Matic HR and the VP stating that they do not have any authority over the following:

a. TO do any background verification

b. To contact any references that were provided

c. To store or publish any of his medical records that were generated

He further asks them to provide the results of those medical tests.

18 Feb

Until this day, the company keeps insisting that the candidate must sign. If he does not sign he will  not get any compensation. Not even on the following

a. Home Town - City of Employment travel for interview

b. Return journey

c. Home Town-City of Employment travel for joining

d. Estimated cost of return journey.

since candidate had relocated for good, the belongings were huge- running into almost 10 big bags. The transport cost was huge.

Verbally and on email they have agreed to pay all of the above.

19 Feb

Candidate mails him the costs of travel etc. Also the estimated return journey.

The candidate agrees to meet the VP . They meet at a coffee shop .

The VP tries to intimidate the candidate by saying that they have initiated a legal advice on this matter from their in-house lawyers.

They also say that since the candidate has not signed they were forced to show it as termination. Now they will report this to "labour dept".

They haven't spoken to any reference. That is a fact. But he still lies by saying that the "background check was not positive".

This surprises the candidate and he wants to call the VP's bluff but exercises restraint.

They say that since it was termination they now cannot pay any return journey expenses. The VP says it was more of "goodwill  gesture" but now there is no more goodwill to honour the same.

He tries to sweet talk the candidate into revealing where he is staying and where he would be joining. The VP tries to glean information about the new clients that he would be pursuing.

Candidate does not reveal anything. He does not even mention his travel plans.

20 Feb

Candidate returns to Home Town by early flight

When home, he finds the physical copies of the cheques that had bounced alongwith bank letter.

By the end of Feb 2013, the candidate has submitted some travel docs. They transfer some paltry sum to his bank account. They refuse to pay anything more without proper documents.
 The candidate has given as many document as he could furnish but they refuse to return his dues.

___________________________________________________

 

Respected Members of Legal Fraternity

Firstly, it is an honour to interact with educated learned and brilliant minds on this subject. Helping the needy with timely advice is quite noble of  you. Hereby expressing gratitude towards providing the same. Do provide solution on how the following matter can be taken ahead. It is for someone I personally know.

A very kind-hearted and nice person who is suffering with an employment break in his career for no fault of his own. It is no doubt an employment case. But it seems like perhaps another category of law will be making more sense here. The same may be suggested to apply. The candidate was conned into taking job and relocating to another city. He was promised US posting. But he soon realized it was a ruse. He was not given an appointment letter despite him demanding the same. He was made to do work that was not ethical. When he refused, they asked him resign. If he does not resign then they threatened to 'terminate' him.  He was later coerced to sign on documents. An appointment letter was printed and issued after the terminated him! This was done right in front of him! His money was held back as he did not sign the documents. They paid some dues by cheques. The cheques bounced! There is money belonging to the employee that is still with the employer. They have refused to engage in any further discussion.

Regards

Sandy B



 8 Replies

STUDENT.... (.......)     10 July 2013

Hey Sandy...

 

How are you...So what are your plan and action on the above mentioned case.

 

What can be done in order to stop this kind of unethical practise from the employers end,

 

Regards,

 

Kunal

+91-9999108998

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     10 July 2013

could not read. Not concise.

Sandy (Journalist)     13 July 2013

The case in short and concise format is as follows:

Employee is made to spend on his travel for interview. They promise to pay later.

Employee is asked to joing 'soon' under promises of good positions and plum postings. Later they turn out to be false promises.

Employee travels for joining at his own cost. They promise to pay later.

Employee is made to join without appointment letter. They promise to give soon. But they make him sign a Non Disclosure Agreement about the employer's business.

He is then made to do some things which is unethical /immoral. He hesitates. They fire him. Then they issue an apointment letter after firing. They coerce him to sign or else his salary and travel dues will be held back. They want him to sign a 'back dated' appointment letter. While signing they want him to put the date of joining as the date on which the letter was signed. Now since they have fired him they change the clause of the appointment which says notice pay must be paid. So technically now the letter would say "No Notice" is required in the initial period.

They also want him to sign the resignation letter. They want to do this or else his money will not be paid.

He doesn't sign and seeks legal advice.

They keep convincing him to get to the office and sign.

Meanwhile they had given him cheques for his dues. They deliberately do stop payment on the cheques since he did not sign on anything as they wanted.

The employers also threaten to inform the "labour office" as though the employee has done a misconduct. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. They say "it will go to labour office as a case of termination" . The termination threat is the ultimate weapon used by employers to get employees to toe the line. Many employees succumb to such threat and resign on their own. Now these employers have taken things to the next leve. "informing the labour office".

A lone single innocent employee would be trembling with terror at sudden mention of such phrases. All he can think of is to secure his future. If such an ugly label of "being terminated" is applied against his name he  is scared if his future employment will be a problem. The employers can find any reason later. They may find inconsistency in anything at office. If all is perfect then they may go digging into his past and find problems with past work and employers. The story never ends.

__________________________________________________________

 

A coincidence: The employee is living in the company guest house when a credit card fraud happens. The guest house of course is in a city in India. The card has been skimmed. The transaction has happened in a city outside of India. Incidentally, this is the same city where the company is headquartered. Now this is a coincidence, right?

________________________________________________________

Somebody mentioned why did he not take action.

He is without a job. He is in depressed state. His money has not been cleared. Some other couple of issues have happened with him ( a different related matter). A  He wound up his work, his clients and other things. He had to give sufficient notice to them but he did not. He gave shorter notice. He got enticed by false promises. The clients and their goodwill was lost . Difficult to win them back. He left family for another strange city. He faces all this trouble. Then he goes back and has other responsibilities. He approached press. He approached lawyers. He has ailing parents to take care of. A sibling to be treated medically.

All this while he has to hunt for some gainful employment. He already is afraid that if the matter blows out of proportion, one doesn't know how a corrupt employer will react. What they may do. His entire career could be ruined. Even a lawyer warns "Think of it as if you have done some mistake and gave off your money to charity. Forget it and move on. For a few rupees, why do you want to keep fighting a legal case? Those people may ruin career if they are hell bent on it."

Maybe he made a mistake by not taking all this too seriously on a legal level at that time

But the question is : IS IT TOO LATE ?

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What are the legal options available?

What's the next step? Cheque can be resubmitted right?

Can't the employers be made to answer on what grounds they did all this?

_______________________________________________________________________

Sandy (Journalist)     13 July 2013

Hi Kunal

Thanks for showing some interest in this.

The case is ongoing.

Do let me know if you can think of helping out in this matter. Have you known anyone who faced such issues? With a technology company?

Do get back

 

Regards

S

STUDENT.... (.......)     13 July 2013

Hi Sandy,

 

Not exactly the same but a similar kind of case occured with me as well.

 

I was working with (XX Company).

 

I got an offer from a company based in South India (XXX), they have asked me to join the company so I resigned from my company and packed all my bags and stuff to join them but after I resigned from there they have revocked my joining and told me that the department for which we have hired you has stopped hiring now and now you can relax if incase we come accross with someother opening in future we will let you know about the same. Which was shocking for me as I left the company and the company which I was about to join has revocked the offer as well.

 

Hence I esclated the matter with there higher authority and forced them to accept me as an employee but one of my sources told me that they have taken the decision in your favour but they won't keep you for long as they have made a stratergy where in they will ask you to leave on grounds of (Performance Issue) in training.

 

So i have decided not to join that company since I don't have any proof where in I can prove that the information I received was from one of there employee.

 

Also there is another issue here in companies of IT/Ites BPO(Technology) where in when the employee file his resignation they won't give him the accpectance of his resignation on his last day of working. The tell the employee that in 45 working days we will do you full and final sattelment and then we will issue you the copy of accpectance of your resignation along with releving.

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

Kunal

Sandy (Journalist)     14 July 2013

Hi Kunal

Firstly, hope your previous employer retained you when you went back to them.  Explain to them what happened. I am sure they will understand if they are mature and right in their minds. Do let me know by PM or email if you do not feel comfortable here.

What has happened to you is another case which I have come across. Sometimes they (unethical company people) call the candidate for interview and then after wasting the time in several round and tests, they just stop responding. When the candidate approaches them they placement agency or the company HR says " We have kept this position on HOLD". Ridiculous! Abhor the way they do this!

This is especially true if the candidate is in the same city as the employer. In such case the employers have nothing to lose. The HR person has to spend a few minutes to talk to the candidate. That's it! And then send out an email with the test/exam. Also the recruiting manager will steal ideas and strategies at pre-employment stage by asking each person to make a presentation on an actual live business case study. Under IP and copyright laws, this is illegal. But who cares? Obvious advice is candidate should not give out any work to the prospective employer just like that; especially things like client list, or previous project details or  even previous employment data and references. These can be easly (mis)used.

This really speaks about how bad the whole employment ecosystem is over here. In this case the most logical thing to do is file case against them claiming damages for the loss of your time and opportunity. But if it was so easy many would do that. If many did successfully then company would know that this can be expected. If they know what to expect sooner or later they will stop doing such unethical and 'wrong' practices.

FIrstly, the implementation of laws is not good enough so people do not want to waste time. Even in important 'lopsided' cases, the lawyer will not come across as too optimistic. C'est la vie.

So what do we do? We need a strong discussion forums which is made specifically for the employees. We are all educated and perhaps from decent background. What happens to someone who comes from underprivileged background? They keep facing such 'wrongs' and have nowhere to go or no clue what to do.
The answer is MEDIA. Go to the media and highlight these things. But it's easier said than done. You cannot keep chasing journalists. Then the next step is to go on to as many online forums as possible and enlighten other people. You have suffered. Make sure others after you are not meted out with the same fate. Protect yourself while you are doing it. But  make sure that the issue is highlighted so that people become aware. At times, it is also important to make sure the culprit is exposed so that the word spreads about the unethical employer.

We are the ecosystem. We must improve and change things. We need to make things better. That is THE REASON why we are here right?

It is important that we enlighten all others too on what is happening. In fact this case has most probably happened in the same city as in your case. Now you need to go to as many discussion forums as you can and start highlighting.
Also, if you come across more such cases, do let me know. Together is power.

All the best in your career!

Regards

Sandy

STUDENT.... (.......)     14 July 2013

you can reach me on +91-9999108998.

Sandy (Journalist)     07 August 2013

Hi Kunal

Sorry for delay. How has your case been? Any positive progress?

I have been busy as I need to keep looking for work.

Will ask one person from our group to call you.

That way you can connect and understand how to solve this one and other issues.

Meanwhile, may I request someone from legal fraternity to read the case facts and see if they can suggest something?

If there is some interest then we can hire a lawyer from here. But there seems little response!

The issue may get dead soon over here. 

I may take to other more active forums. Anything around that anyone can suggest to me 'directly'?

Regards

Sandy


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