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How do I handle a potential hiring contract (I'm a full time employee not an independent contractor, to be clear) dispute when I've already taken the job and been working for a month? The specifics are I was assured domestic partner healthcare benefits would be covered and it turns out the talent recruiter and his supervisor erred. I had it in verbal confirmation, not in writing, though I do have written confirmation of the error. This happened on day one.

I don't want to rock the boat too much, I've been here a month, I'm enrolling in my own benefits and 401k, but my girlfriend doesn't have employer coverage and I pay the bills. We don't want to get married right now. But this worth a percentage of my salary and I accepted the position believing it to be covered.

It's been about a month since I started. Once a week I've sent polite emails. If I don't hear back after my latest email, is there anything I can do? This is a large corporate company, and the managers aren't involved too much with the hiring.

Beyond the obvious concerns I'm also incentivized to stay for 1-4+ years with this employer, and beyond that I like the job, the work, and the people, so if this remains unresolved, is there are way to leverage it later? Should I ask for a flat salary increase, or would requesting the bonus target to be shifted up (meaning they can peg payment to performance, a generous compromise on my part)? Right now I've left it vague and just told them what my expenses would be an asked for a resolution.

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    A, You have written confirmation of the error, that's good. B, focus only on the benefits in question (do not at all think of alternatives like extra salary etc). C, it's a large company, so my guess would be it's more of a mistake than a con. D, you've given them enough time to resolve it. Walk over to HR and explain that you'll have to leave the company if they don't resolve it. If they don't resolve it within a day or two, you'll have to leave. – Fattie Jun 27 '17 at 14:43
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    @Fattie not sure threatening to leave in a "day or two" quite gels with the OP's intent to "not rock the boat too much" but otherwise bang on – motosubatsu Jun 27 '17 at 15:01
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    Right, I didn't really mean it as a threat. I would literally use the language "this is really a disaster and a tragedy; obviously I need the ~ benefit in question ~ to be applied retroactively from the first day of employment, which as you know was agreed to in the interview process and was the entire reason I joined the company. Having given it five weeks, as much as I am desperate to work here obviously I have to have ~ xyz ~ so I'll have to wrap up tomorrow - catastrophe for me personally" – Fattie Jun 27 '17 at 15:07
  • @Fattie - But saying you are going to leave is a threat, and will be taken as such, along with the possibility of "calling the bluff" because the threat was made, when they otherwise might not. I'd leave that part out, for now and see if the face-to-face spurs action. – PoloHoleSet Jun 27 '17 at 15:40
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    @Fattie mysteriously? I am handling it. This is me handling it since day one. And I don't have the luxury of being able to negotiate hard over this. While leaving would be survivable I just transitioned into this job and its otherwise a very good position. – Justin Reeves Jun 27 '17 at 16:17
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1) Check with your state legislature to see the laws regarding domestic partners.

2) Check the company insurance policy (you should have one in writing/online with a contact number) regarding the regulations for domestic partner coverage. You may need to call the insurance agency and talk to someone to get the details so that you understand it. Sometimes the details are cryptic on purpose to avoid things and sometimes it's just plain cryptic which I guess keeps someone employed.

3) Once you have the above information solid you have the evidence to begin the discussion with HR. You provide the factual evidence that a domestic partner in the state of x quantifies as y which meets your partners status. You also follow up by quoting the section of the insurance plan that covers such domestic partners. You then ask that the company include your domestic partner in the plan and politely ask that they back-fill it to the point of employment that your insurance started as that is the legal point of coverage (unless specified differently in #2).

This should solve your problem and if you discover 1 & 2 don't hold up then someone was mistaken or lied about domestic partner coverage.

P.S. Don't be surprised if number 3 costs you a lot more upfront when it kicks in as you have to pay whatever is required with each paycheck to get the insurance and the time period not on insurance is unpaid, so they usually grab it from the pay in a lump sum that can be steep depending.

P.P.S. You can go the long way by waiting on HR and getting them to figure it out, but frankly you are the one that needs the benefits now not them. You get on the list and if it's a tricky one to figure out you may be slipping to the bottom as no one wants to spend the time to figure it out. If it's a big company, then there are tons of other situations to tend to. I suggest you get the info yourself and hand it to them and then get them to deal with it/confirm/implement/etc...

  • The answer wound up being "nope" but I feel like if they were going to resolve it, this would have been the path towards success. Thanks. – Justin Reeves Jul 24 '17 at 21:00
  • Update: I'm still there over a year later. It's worked out pretty well, considering this was issue never resolved to my satisfaction. I'm still well compensated, and most importantly, I like the work and the people. – Justin Reeves Nov 12 '18 at 8:57

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