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Two months ago, our IT team received an email that a new position had been created in our department. We were informed that our positions would not be impacted. Strangely, my direct manager scheduled and held a call later in the week with just myself and one other person in the department for the exact same topic.

After a new hire was found for this position, I was scheduled a one on one call with my direct manager which was called "IT Update". When attending the call, the HR Director was also on the call (I had no knowledge of this). My direct manager told me that my position no longer existed in the department and that if I did not accept a newly created position in the data department, I would be laid off. I had two hours to accept the new position otherwise I would be laid off anyway.

In order to keep income, I was forced to accept the new position which doesn't fit my skill set well. After signing for the document for the new position, my old job was immediately posted for hire. It is well known that my direct manager does not like me (I'm not sure why). I'd like to go to the owner of the company about this as I've known him closely for the entirety of my career.

There was no layoff package mentioned.

Is this legal?

Would it be worth taking steps to apply to my original position?

When looking for a new position, what would be the best way to put a positive spin on this on my resume and during an interview?

  • While it is generally not legal to lay off someone and then hire to fill the same position, it would be expensive to prove that was what happened in a court and could take years. If you choose this route, find another job first. In the meantime. stretch yourself to learn new skills as data is very good field to be in right now. HR was on the call so the chances of them siding with you without a lawsuit are effectively 0. – HLGEM Jan 31 '18 at 23:04
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    As for going to the owner...well what result would you want to come of that? Most owners don't micromanage the managers. And if they did set in you would have basically made a power play on the office politics scene which I would guarantee would land you fired for cause within about 3 months while your manager and the HR manager nitpick every little error you make and term you for performance issues. I don't see how that would help really – BirdLawExpert Feb 1 '18 at 1:49
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    In case you seek a new job, make sure you provide a favorable review on glassdoor. – NoBackingDown Feb 1 '18 at 19:24
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    This question is attracting close votes because of the request for legal advice. However, if you make a small edit to instead ask how you can accomplish whatever your goal is (keep the original job? severance package?), that would be solidly on-topic. – Monica Cellio Feb 1 '18 at 22:07
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    @NoBackingDown Why? While I feel that I would give upper manager a perfect review, my direct manager has issues with racism and sexism. I filed a complaint with HR on this, which is probably why he doesn't like me. We've already had several members leave the department in the last two years because of him. – HazyKingdom Feb 1 '18 at 23:16
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Is this legal?

Not sure, to be honest, although Workplace isn't really the place to ask legal questions. I'd follow up with a local lawyer if you really want to know. Although, as noted in the comments above, it's probably going to cost you way more time and money than it's worth to do anything about it, legally.

How should I approach HR or ownership regarding this?

Ideally, not at all. You mentioned that HR was on the call, which means going to them is probably a waste of time. I would be surprised if they don't already have their ducks in a row to explain all this to the owner, too, should he go asking, and that's assuming he wasn't part of the decision already. You're probably not going to improve your situation by bringing the owner into this, and there's a very good chance you'll make your life at this company worse.

Personally, I would've taken the layoff. Honestly, as soon as I heard that I have two hours to decide if I'm taking it or not, I'd be gone. Seriously, I can't even take the night to go home and talk this over with my spouse and/or dependents? Regardless of the motivations, this is clearly a company that doesn't care about you and your career objectives.

Too late for that now, but if you're really not happy in the new position, I think the best course of action is to start looking for a new job and turn in your walking papers after you've got something acceptable lined up. In the meantime, learn what you can about data - you never know when it will come in handy.

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    The OP doesn't seem to mention anything about a layoff package? – Erik Feb 1 '18 at 6:46
  • @Erik My apologies. In my country a layoff is legally required to come with 8 weeks notice or pay in lieu of notice (in practice it's usually the latter), so I assumed there would've been one if he was only given two hours notice. But you're right, it may not be the same in the OP's country. I'll edit to correct that. – Steve-O Feb 1 '18 at 14:13
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    @Steve-O : If the OP is in an "at-will" state, the employer can show him the door that evening and say "don't come back". As a European, I find this barbaric. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Feb 1 '18 at 14:20
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Is this legal?

Yes, in most states this can be done. They can also just let you / lay you off in most cases.

How should I approach HR or ownership regarding this?

Do not waste your time with this. HR was in the meeting when the event occurred, and the owner is either already aware or most likely would delegate the matter to someone else -- like your manager.

I would suggest while your employed you polish up your resume and begin a new job search. Remember, its almost always easier to find a job while your still employed. And frankly if I were you, I would be thankful that I still have a job.

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