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I have received a contract with various conditions in it that are illegal/void. They, among others, circumvent employee protection laws, withhold pay and require me to be scanned by those airport full body scanners without offering me an alternative. Note that my question is not about whether these things are illegal.

This employer is known to be abusive. They have only horrible reviews on glassdoor and I personally know a few people who worked there. It's not a place you want to work if you have a choice. Unfortunately, I am desperate for a job, so I am planning to sign the contract and keep searching for a new job.

While I hate the body scanners and abusive culture, I am not too bothered about those. Those are dealt with by planning to leave asap. My main goal is to not get scammed out of the pay I have a right to. How can I protect myself from (financial) damage and get the pay that I deserve?

This is not a start-up. This is a large international company based in Netherlands. They do not have financial problems, in fact they are doing extremely well. I am willing to sue if needed, but I want to keep my job during my search for a new one.

Disclaimer: this question is written in first person for readability, but it is really about a friend.

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    They, among others, circumvent employee protection laws A contract cannot circumvent laws, else getting away with murder would be extremely easy. Put in another way, signing an agreement to do something doesn't make it legal. – rath Sep 10 '18 at 13:32
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    @rath It does not, but that doesn't stop the employer from causing me a lot of trouble. – ConcernedWorker Sep 10 '18 at 13:34
  • True. If the employer is willing to withhold salary regardless of legality and is big enough to eat the legal costs, I don't think there's much you can do to guarantee regular monthly pay unless you're willing to resort to illegality yourself. – rath Sep 10 '18 at 13:36
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    @Kilisi I don't think that would be an issue. The company is just of the type that doesn't care for their employees at all. – ConcernedWorker Sep 10 '18 at 13:40
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    The correct answer here is probably "by not working for a company that is known to screw over their employees". Given that they have a reputation and keep doing it, they probably have plenty of ways to get away with it. – Erik Sep 10 '18 at 13:51
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If an employer is known to flout applicable employment laws then it seems unlikely there is anything in particular you as an individual can do to avoid running afoul of their disregard of the law.

Your best bet, if you have no choice but to take the job, is to make sure to thoroughly document everything and get everything you can down in writing. Create a paper trail so that if/when the company breaks the law, you at least have evidence you can present to an employment tribunal/court/whatever to prove you've been wronged. You can't stop them from circumventing employee protection laws, but you can document everything to minimise the damage and (hopefully) reclaim any financial compensation owed from their misdeeds.

  • Yes, these are essential precautions whenever you are suspect about any employer. It has helped in many situations I've faced. – SaltySub2 Sep 11 '18 at 13:51
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I have received a contract with various conditions in it that are illegal/void.

Never accept or sign any contract that has illegal/void conditions in it.

Unfortunately, I am desperate for a job, so I am planning to sign the contract and keep searching for a new job.

Repeat - never accept or sign any contract that has illegal/void conditions in it.

How can I protect myself from (financial) damage and get the pay that I deserve?

It will be difficult if you are an accomplice and knowingly sign a contract that has illegal/void conditions in it. Perhaps you know a good lawyer who would be willing to take on your case. If so, discuss the contract with your lawyer before you sign it.

Either negotiate a contract that doesn't have those conditions, or tear it up and find a different job.

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    OP mentioned that they lose their unemployment benefits if they don't accept, I don't think this is an option for them. – Cyonis Sep 11 '18 at 6:18
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Your best bet is to talk to an employment lawyer. This may cost you some money up front but can potentially save a lot later on.

The Netherlands have fairly decent labor laws and in general good protection of employees. That means, it's unlikely that they can legally enforce something against you, but they sure as heck can make your life miserable. A lawyer can probably tell you what the bes proactive measures are you can take (documentation, contract verbiage, separate bank accounts, escrows, paper trails, etc.)

A lawyer can also tell you what recourse you may have in case things turn bad and what the associated effort, time, cost and probability of success would be.

  • I suspect most Western countries have community legal advice centres, like in Australia? This could help the OP. – SaltySub2 Sep 11 '18 at 13:52

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