Bait And Switch

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unfair pay policy:

Interviewed for position and received an offer letter for the position. Resigned from previously held position. Relocated from Texas to Nevada. After starting position, Field Service Engineer, was then informed that the company had what it called usual and customary policy where the first hour of travel and the last hour of travel were not paid. I am considering suing the company for the hours that I have not been paid for as I was not told about this unethical practice until after I accepted the position. This practice is still being performed today with new hires and other engineers are also feeling trapped as we had already resigned from previous positions.

Signed, Short-Changed On Travel

Dear Short-Changed On Travel:

As you should have noted, our site addresses communication-related matters, not legal. If suing is your first choice, you would be wise to consider quietly consulting an attorney to learn if you have a case. I suggest quietly because I’m sure you should consider the consequence of beginning a new job suing an employer and how that might affect your future employment. Righting what is not fair within a company is usually not accomplished via suing; rather it is a matter of making a persuasive case through existing channels and/or by collectively voicing dissatisfaction with a policy.

You assert that “other engineers are also feeling trapped as we had already resigned from previous positions.” So this practice has become a topic of discussion. Your challenge now is to not make this a festering sore, but to determine what, where and how to voice a request of review of it. You have labeled this practice as bait and switch. Such an interpretation implies you see those who hire and formulated this policy as evil. Such an interpretation pits them against you. Is that a healthy way to see it? Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my closing way of suggesting that working entails keeping communication channels open and focused on the big picture. Therefore, while voicing your concerns about compensation, wouldn’t it be best received if what you want is couched in terms of “We” and the good of your company?

William Gorden