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My daughter is desperately unhappy with her employer and is looking for another job. Her CV is posted on several sites (like Monster) and today her line manager has told her that she has until 4pm to take it off of these sites or "there will be consequences". We don't know exactly what that means yet.

To me, this is tantamount to bullying. Unfortunately, her Team Leader and her Line Manager are best friends, inside and outside of work, and my daughter clearly doesn't fit in. When they asked her why she was looking, she said that she "wanted career progression and despite many promises there isn't any at her current place of work". The response was, "There are plenty of opportunities here, but not for you."

She has not been told at any stage, including formal reviews, that there is anything wrong with her work, nothing has been documented to say she is a problem and this demand has come right out of the blue.

How can she best protect her job if she chooses not to comply with this demand?

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Where does this take place? "At-will" employment may apply. –  Adam V Aug 27 at 15:08
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Tim, welcome to The Workplace. I've made an edit to your question to make it more on-topic here. We can't address legal issues, which vary by jurisdiction (you'd need a lawyer for that), but you can ask what she can do in this situation to protect her job. Please feel free to edit further if my edit missed the mark. Thanks. –  Monica Cellio Aug 27 at 16:13
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would you mind tagging this with the country this is taking place in? –  AAA Aug 27 at 17:16
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What industry is this in? I would also be interested in what company, if they are large enough someone there (HR) should realize that this can turn into a horrible PR disaster –  RyanS Aug 28 at 16:10
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It's been a couple days, can you provide an update of what actions were taken, both by you and your daughter, and her employer? –  corsiKa Aug 31 at 7:57

5 Answers 5

What ever you do, do not talk to her bosses in any way, shape, or form. It is entirely inappropriate for a parent to talk to the bosses of an adult in anything except to inform them about an emergency such as a hospitalization. You need to stay out of her work life.

She needs to ask them what they mean by consequences and I would bet money that they mean they would fire her. If I were her, I would ask this question in writing and expect a written answer back. If you want to fight something, you need proof.

Clearly your daughter is better off working elsewhere. In that case, is it so bad if she keeps the profiles up and gets fired? A reasonable employer would probably not care if she got fired under those circumstances. However, if she feels she will be fired if she keeps the profile up and she wants to keep them, then she should consider resigning before she is fired. If she needs to keep the job until she finds a new one, could she take the profiles down and only apply for specific jobs?

How is removing the profiles going to prevent her from applying to other jobs? I don't think you need to make the profiles public, but only to specific employers you have applied to. So maybe she should consider if it is her best interest to hide the profiles.

Note in all of this I have not discussed really whether this is fair or not or right or not. Fair is a word you simply can't apply in real life. The situation is what it is and she needs to take her actions accordingly whether what the bosses are doing is fair or right.

If she wants to pursue legal action for being dismissed, she will need to consult a lawyer immediately and figure out how to get proof. If she isn't willing to pursue legal action, then she needs to decide her actions based on what is the best route for her and take the emotional "You can't do that to me" out of the equation altogether.

This is not to say, you have to put up with what is wrong. But whatever choices she makes have consequences. Standing up for what you believe in often has severe consequences. As long as she considers the consequences before taking action and is ok with them, then she should do what she thinks is the best thing in the circumstances.

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Just a friendly FYI to everyone here, remember what comments are for. For extended discussions, Get a Room (a chat room). Specifically see the section "When should I comment?" Comments are not intended to be a way to imitate a discussion board. I have moved these comments to chat. –  enderland Aug 28 at 11:04
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Because future employers often prefer people who have not been fired. You have to make a choice between your long-term good and your short-term. I did not recommend she quit, BTW, I offered it as one of her options. –  HLGEM Sep 4 at 13:14

This is her fight

First, before anything else. I will back up @HLGEM's stance. This is her battle, and an important one for future interviews where she's asked "What was a point of conflict in jobs past and how did you handle it?"

Your job here is to be supportive of whatever choice she makes and act as her advisor to help steer her towards good choices.

What are "Consequences"?

Before we can determine exactly what we're talking for we need to know what the consequences. I would simply ask (preferably by email so the exchange can be documented) "Exactly what would the consequences be?"

Know in advance the moment she asks this she could be fired. (These two come across as the sort of people who retain employees through preventing their success, basically scumbag managers) That said, she either submits to their demand or discovers exactly what "or else" entails. (which may or may not justify legal action, but you'll want to talk to an attorney for that) or gives in.

Make a choice

At this point your daughter has four routes she needs to choose from, each has their pros and cons. She has to justify her choices with herself and only herself (you get to sit on the bench this round champ)

  • Pull down her resume per request and stop seeking alternative employment. (this is exactly what the managers want, she'll probably enjoy a truly miserable career under these people until someone quits, is fired, or she's lucky enough to get snagged away by a better opportunity)
  • Appear to comply by hiding her resume, making it anonymous, etc. Continue searching for a better opportunity in the mean time. This will probably make the managers happy for now, but there is a good chance she'll either find a better job and leave or get caught and fired.
  • Leave the resume up and almost certainly be fired. At this point she will be able to dedicate more time to actively seeking a better job.
  • Leave the resume up and resign. At this point she will be able to dedicate more time to actively seeking a better job.

If it were me I'd just hide the resume and keep looking, but there is merit in quitting or being fired and sticking to what you believe is in you best interest.

Never look back

Whatever she chooses support her. Dealing with these sort of jerkoffs is never fun and she should never consider going back to work for them if/when she leaves. That said, when she makes a decision and acts on it, you're all in, stand by your decision and learn from it, but never second guess it. (We make the best decisions we can make at the time we make them based on what we know then)

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I wouldn't be sure with that 'almost certainly be fired'. It might be bluff. In fact, firing someone for having CV in online portal is extremelly hazardous for the employer, if the employee would go to the court. –  РСТȢѸФХѾЦЧШЩЪЫЬѢѤЮѦѪѨѬѠѺѮѰѲѴ Aug 28 at 9:57
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@RualStorge what law is this breaking in your opinion? If this is the US or most parts of EU, she is probably an at will employee, which means she can be terminated FOR ANY REASON except those limited by law (protected class - "job seeker" is not a protected class). –  Wige Aug 29 at 14:15
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@Wige here in Florida (an "at will" state though we call it "right to work") there are laws saying you cannot threaten an employee with termination, or "forced termination" (where you make working conditions hostile to get someone to quit) unless in disciplinary action. (which you can only discipline employees under certain criteria) Basically they can fire you with no reason provided, they cannot discipline or threaten discipline or termination you without a valid reason. (that said, again there is a near zero chance she'd get anywhere in a court case here) –  RualStorge Aug 29 at 14:49
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@RualStorge, I did a few web searches and checked with a Florida employment law board, and couldn't find any law like what you stated. Specifically " they cannot discipline or threaten discipline or termination you without a valid reason." is less restrictive than your comment implies. A valid reason is anything other than a protected class or whistle-blower status. "I don't like the color of your tie" is, in Florida, a valid reason to terminate an employee. I can't find anything illegal in the employer's comments, and terminating the employee would likewise be legal. Stupid, but legal. –  Wige Sep 2 at 16:28

A couple of good answers here, especially highlighting that your role is as an advisor to your daughter and not an actor in this situation.

One point that hasn't really been brought up is cost/benefit. The probability of getting employment through a publicly posted resume is pretty much nil unless she has an extremely desirable skill set. The probability that she loses anything by complying with their demands (however unreasonable those demands are) is so low that if she gains anything (like avoiding "consequences") by letting them think they have won, she is ahead.

Edit: In light of the downvotes without explanation I am assuming that people don't like my view that having the resume posted is of zero value. According to BeHiring 427,000 resumes are posted on Monster each and every week. The value of being one in millions is pretty small. To give something of no value to gain something of value is a win.

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It sounds to me as though these are not the kind of people you would want a career with anyway. Just because they "could" fire your daughter, does not mean you should consider that a bad thing or that you should be afraid of them. If you have the option financially speaking, your daughter should write a detailed resignation letter explaining what she was told, why she feels it's wrong and unprofessional, and personally hand it to the owner of the company, not her boss. The reason being, I doubt the owner of the company is aware of what her boss is telling her. Just because her boss is in charge of the employee's, does not mean her boss is acting in the owners best interests or that the owner approves of her bosses actions.

Your daughter should let the owner know that she's leaving because she was specifically told there would be consequences for not taking her resume off career websites, and that she had no intention of leaving the company until being treated so unprofessionally. Explain that whether consequences meant getting fired, or consequences meant not being able to advance in the company, that all possibilities indicated that leaving the company would be in her best interests. She should explain that she wants to work for a company where she can advance, and does not have to worry about getting fired because something rubs her boss the wrong way. I wouldn't expect the owner to try to make it right in any way, but her boss will likely hear from the owner about it asking why he/she did it.

The owner likely wants to keep good hardworking employee's on staff because it helps his/her bottom line. The owner also does not want employee's (her boss included) who will open him/her up to liability. If she is a hard worker and this whole thing is out of spite from her boss, she may even be invited back with an apology from her boss, who knows. But I'd tell them to pound sand and find a company who wants to take care of her needs, not treat her like a sheep.

The truth is, the boss could of, and should have asked "Are you happy here? We noticed you are putting your resume out there, and we want you to know that we value you as an employee."

FYI: I once submitted a similar resignation letter, and I got a call from the human resources manager offering me more money to stay on. I explained to her that just like they had had plenty of time to see my worth, I had had more than enough time to see the company's worth. I said I was looking for a company to devote 30 years of my life to, and that I didn't want to devote that kind of time to a company where I would be unhappy with my co-workers while scratching and scraping my way to a meager salary. I also said that it took me quitting to finally get your attention, and that they had lost my loyalty. I fired them. My point is, make sure she knows her worth, and don't settle for any less than she deserves. In the longrun she wants to be happy, and she'll be glad she stood up for herself.

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If nothing else the reminder that employment is a two way road. Companies fire employees and employees fire companies. When a company demonstrates it's loyalty and respect or only skin deep, then that's all the loyalty and respect you owe them in return. –  RualStorge Aug 28 at 17:41

The only concern the current employer can have is being put in a bad light if the employees are looking for another job. She can offer to make that part (current company) anonymous in the profiles and CVs and that's it. No discussion.

If they start with "consequences" talk again, a simple "please give me this in writing" will probably shut them up.

This is independent of the details, don't get sidetracked in small discussions about blah. If new relevant information comes out, it's probably good to ask a new question here. good luck!

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"please give me this in writing" will most likely get her the consequences. It roughly translates to "I think you are doing something illegal. Would you mind providing me with the proof so I can sue you?". –  Davidmh Aug 28 at 7:39
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Hidden microphone sounds potentially illegal. –  You Aug 28 at 20:20
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@Donaudampfschifffreizeitfahrt in many places in the world recordings in a private setting without authorization is both illegal and not admissible as evidence. –  RualStorge Aug 28 at 20:34
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Even though the firing in question is a scumbag move, it might not be illegal. Many places in the US let you fire someone for just about any reason, or no reason at all, as long as it's not demonstrably related to race, sex, religion, etc. –  cHao Aug 29 at 18:25
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Definitely check local laws on recording before you consider that route. About 1/4 of US states have two-party recording rules. –  Loren Pechtel Sep 1 at 1:56

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