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I'm working in a software company in India where I have lodged a complaint to the owner regarding a director I have had difficulties with.

Now I am applying for a position in a new company but the director (whom I complained about) is withholding providing verification of my employment unless I withdraw my complaint.

What would be the best way to proceed?

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    Is this something like the relieving letter in India - is the company refusing to give you a verification that you have worked there because you have an open complaint? – Jenny D Feb 8 at 10:15
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    @JennyD Im guessing something like that or a reference like done here in the UK. Just not worded perfectly. And not really a question – fireshark519 Feb 8 at 10:17
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    Did they give you that in any form of writing? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 8 at 16:42
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    Be sure to check out the questions tagged relieving-letter. We have a number that talk about what to do when you can't get a relieving letter. – David K Feb 8 at 20:38
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    @UKMonkey and also steve: The questioner is from India. India's employment laws are markedly tilted in favor of the employer. Based on other questions from people in India, what would be highly illegal employer practices in western Europe and North America are not only not illegal in India but are also standard operating procedure there, protected by law. – David Hammen Feb 9 at 5:14
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Not sure if my suggestion makes sense in an Indian context but here goes:

You could

  1. Withdraw your complaint
  2. Get the verification
  3. Secure a new job
  4. Re-submit your complaint, or make a new one
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    And in the new complaint, be sure to outline why you had to withdraw and resubmit the complaint in the first place! – David K Feb 8 at 14:09
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    0. Document everything. If legal, recording discussions might be a good idea. – JiK Feb 8 at 14:12
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    @JiK Hardly ever legal, IIRC. That's why you put everything in writing instead. – Mast Feb 8 at 17:43
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    OP runs the risk of the complaint being withdrawn and the director still withholding providing verification just because OP initially filed a complaint against him. I think using someone else to verify employment is a better route. – sf02 Feb 8 at 18:45
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    @rath You forgot the last step, "5. Submit an additional complaint about him blackmailing you." – J. Chris Compton Feb 8 at 22:11
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This is an unpleasant situation - it's certainly not fair or right that the director is holding your verification to ransom in this manner.

That said however - if there is no-one else in the company who can provide you with the verification (Company owner maybe?) then ultimately you're going to have to choose whether this is a stand you are willing to risk missing out on the new opportunity over.

To be clear I'm not saying what the Director is doing is in any way okay or acceptable - but you have to be pragmatic and decide what is ultimately going to be best for you and for your life.

Good luck!

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    Are there no laws in India? I would expect such thing to be regulated... – Tomáš Zato Feb 8 at 14:38
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    While it wouldn't surprise me if actions such as the OP describes are illegal (IANAL) but ultimately legal action takes time.. usually on the order of longer than the OP may be able to wait. – motosubatsu Feb 8 at 14:41
  • @motosubatsu Wouldn't this be on of the situations where... well, HR still is not your friend, but where they would give the director an earful because they don't want a lawsuit? If HR exists, of course. – R. Schmitz Feb 8 at 15:21
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    @tomazzato there are laws, but they don't need to be fair. At least they are not sequestering passports to keep workers locked down. – Mindwin Feb 8 at 15:33
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    @motosubatsu - And, sad to say, the Indian legal system is not widely known for its lack of corruption, especially at the lower levels. – WhatRoughBeast Feb 8 at 17:18
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Bullies enjoy power and hate it when that power is worked around or removed. Best way for that to happen for you to get alternative proof of employment and any proof you can of the situation you are in.

  1. Get copies of any e-mails relating to the complaint. Anything that goes back and forth to show that it is an on-going complaint.
  2. Send an email to the director directly asking why he won't provide/is withholding such a letter or in some other manner to get it documented.
  3. Take photos (observe company and data security) of you clearly at work and possibly the position/work you to confirm role.
  4. Any other documentation to show your working there, contact, wage/pay slips etc.

Take this to your new employer and show that your old director is stone-walling you in an attempt to bully you in to dropping the compliant and that this is why you cannot get the letter required. See if they are able to drop this requirement given the issues that you are facing.

If this works then finally: 5. Raise a second complaint against this director for his actions and pursue that as well.

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    I'm no expert on the matter, but from what I have seen from other questions based out of India the whole "proof of employment/Relieving of employment" are very specific and bureaucratic conventions unique to that part of the world - to the point that they make little sense to non-Indians. So while your advice may be good in general it may run into some culture specific roadblocks in this particular case. – Peter M Feb 8 at 14:33
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    Telling the new company that you have been classified as a troublemaker by senior management in your old company isn't a good way to get a job offer, in any culture that I know of. – alephzero Feb 8 at 19:50
  • Presumably the OP is getting paid. A paper trail showing they have been paid regularly would be the best proof of employment in Europe for instance. – user90842 Feb 8 at 23:12
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For some reason I'd make the point to this director and raise another complaint against him about withholding the letter of employment and his attempt of blackmail... I'd bet the owner would love to hear about this too; and bullies will only stop when someone doesn't back down.

I'd also go around him and ask the HR team for a printed letter of employment - and stand next to them while they do it so that there's no chance of it getting intercepted. I'd expect them to be willing to do this as I'd wager that it's illegal to not provide one (though I'm certainly not an expert in Indian law!).

I can't believe that they'd have been told they're not allowed to give you the letter; and even if they have been, if you're friendly with them then I'm sure it'll go fine.

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