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Well got fired to day sort of.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I got called into the office and was told I could either take a pay cut of about 40% down to 14 an hour and become a pastry cook or leave with 4 weeks of severance pay and accrued vacation pay, I was just wondering why didn't I just get fired? Right now I am an exec pastry chef or so they say. We have a new mgmt company and one by one all of us old employees are getting the boot, half the age half the pay or so they say.

What are the legal wranglings behind this? Anyone with experience care to chime in?
I don't know if I should take the position or get unemployment or what, I have never been fired from a job before and don't know what to do. If I take it and get canned later on would I get less unemployment or what? Right now with the job market the way it is I don't know what I can do?

Sorry for this bummer of a post but I have no one else to talk to.
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post #2 of 25

They Suck

Not legal advice: Unless you've got a contract, there probably aren't any "legal wranglings" (ramifications?), here. If you do have a contract, then the terms of the contract apply.

From a purely financial, unemotional standpoint, whether you take the severance + vacation + unemployment -- which is probably something like $5K upfront plus whatever PA gives in unemployment -- or, continue to work with a demotion at $14/hr depends on how quickly you think you can get another job.

If you're relatively sure you can get one at $14 or more right away, take the money and run. If not, stick.

In any case, you need to find out what PA pays for someone at your salary; if "severance" or "accrued vacation and/or sick pay" will effect whether and when you can get unemployment compensation; what will happen to your severance and accrued vacation if you do stay with your current employer; request extra time (as much as possible) to make up your mind; and start looking for a job immediately.

Be honest with yourself in how you balance the emotional with the financial. You're not a calculating machine, you're a human being; and might just hafta walk. On the other hand, it's one heck of a lousy economy to be out of work with the holidays coming up. Only you can figure this out. Not to mention prevent forest fires.

They suck,
BDL
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
They offered me a job at less than 50% ( i figured it out) of my current pay while at the same time hiring a new chef at 98000 a year, currently I make 60000. With the new pay rate I will only be working 40 hours a week max.
If I refuse the cut they will say I quit because my position is being eliminated and that is the best they can do and therefore cannot get unemployment though I think I can fight that one.

I just don't know what to do, the holidays are already bleak and I am close to defaulting on my mortgage.
I hate the idea of being on unemployment but I don't want to get screwed.
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post #4 of 25
I don't know about PA, but in MN your refusing a demotion like this would not interfere with your being able to collect unemployment. They would just look at it as your job being eliminated. You are required to look for work in order to collect, but again, not obligated to accept a lesser position. This is a tough position for you. You might want to hang in there while you look for something else, or roll the dice and just walk. Hopefully this will turn in to the kind of experience where you wind up better off than you were because you were able to take advantage of a new opportunity. I sure hope it works out that way for you. The Irish always say God never closes a door without opening a window. Good luck. We're all here for you.
post #5 of 25
That sucks and I've been in the same boat in years past. This is nothing new with management companies. The difference then was that you could get another job pretty darn quick so it was easy to walk.
I would suggest you give an attorney in PA a call if you have legal questions. In Fl you would have no recourse as it's a right to work state. In Mi that might be another story. Now if they have truly eliminated your position I'm pretty darn sure BDL is correct. However it's not that un-common to use the "your position has been eliminated" schpiehl to just hire some one else for less. You know if you are an Executive Pastry Chef or not. If not then letting you go and hiring another person for the same position might put them in a tough spot. Look in the yellow pages as a lot of attorneys give a consult for free. At the very least you will put your mind at ease and it often doesn't take any more than a phone call.
FWIW here in MI I don't think you would be entitled to unemployment as you refused work. In short if you don't take the job, you quit.
Either way the OT is gone so comparing your gross salary from the past is not the best way to look at it unless you can make that much elsewhere.
If you factor out your hourly rate on an annual basis you would be taking a pay cut of about 12k. Even if you do get unemployment it's likely going to be less than what you get working not to mention you lose your health benefits etc. UE only lasts 6 months unless you can get an extension. Then what?
It's a tough call and I wish you the best of luck. IMO your a lot better off working now and starting to search for a new or second job.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #6 of 25
Not altogether true. If you turn it down because of reduction, they are changing terms of original employment therefor you can collect., but check the laws of your state first. Me I would take the sev, vacation sick days and run. Why ? because next they may change that, also if you agree they will pay you 40% less ,then fire you at new rate after a month and no sev, vacation etc. Is Penn a right to work state?
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 25
I'm sorry you're in this situation, rat and like Ed I'd take the money and run too. You never know what the management company is going to do next and if they're offering you the cash now I'd definitely take it.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #8 of 25
take the money and run...
post #9 of 25
Given the actions I've seen from corporately managed kitchens(rather than owner operated), I'd say cut and run with the bag of loot. Even if you can only pull $14 an hour somewhere else in the time between Exec. positions, you're still up the amount of your severance and accrued vacation pay.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #10 of 25
I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. Having been in similar situations and also having been almost 10 years since last one........... I'm a bit rusty on the exact terminology or what I was told by a Lawyer but.....In NY State, if you are being terminated, there the needs to be just cause and proper documentation. If they are eliminating the position, they cannot hire another individual for 2 years and title the person the same as you. Case in point.....I was termed as the Executive Chef and when they rehired my Sous the position was renamed Managing Chef and that person could not use the title for 2 years. They can however, rewrite pay scales, job descriptions and titles in any fashion they see fit under a restructuring format. If it's a new company then it falls under just that. Any agreements that were made prior are subject to renegotiation with the new management.
You my friend are stuck in the proverbial "Rock and a Hard place."

As far as unemployment.....you should be able to collect. It may take a hearing and I'm sure the employer will challenge but what they are doing equates to putting a gun to your head. Take this or else............... :laser: It's a scare tactic by the Management team and as long as you have no negative issues or performance plans that they can show just cause for the reduction or elimination.....it's pretty cut and dry. They pay you severance you are terminated. As far as I know, you can apply for unemployment benefits but you just can't collect for the term that the severance covers. If it's 4 weeks of pay then you should become eligible for benefits in 4 weeks. Having been on both sides of the coin here, most Unemployment Agency's tend to favor the employee unless gross insubordination or misconduct is an issue.

Just my two cents worth. Also realize that things are different from state to state but having experiences is IL, GA, SC, NY, WI, FL, MO and KS.....they all seem to operate close to or about the same with no noticeable difference in procedures. Benefits yes but not procedures.
Personally, if you were making 60,000....pay the 500.00 retainer and talk to a real lawyer. :thumb:
post #11 of 25
Hold off a second. Maybe they are willing to negotiate. What if the 4 weeks sev pay is what they are offering now, but if you go back in and negotiate another severance, they may take that instead of keeping you there. Ask for 8 weeks and take it from there. What have you got to lose?
post #12 of 25
You mean besides your job? If you are going to negotiate for severance let a lawyer do that for you. I don't know who pays a $500 retainer fee just for advice but in my experience average hourly rates for a lawyer run around $200 per hour. If it takes your counselor 2.5 hours to tell you if you have a case or not all I can say is
Run forest......RUN!
If he can get $14 an hour else where at least short term I would take the buy out. If he can't get more than $12 some place else or find a job at all that's another issue that needs to be carefully considered. UE may not cover the mortgage even if you do get it. Not to mention the lines and head aches involved.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #13 of 25
I feel your pain and I can relate. This has happened to me twice this year at the same place. Once when the new owners took over, they took 10k a year away from me. Then they leased out the restaurant /banquet to a retard. I told him I need to to make my orignal amount and he agreed. Just yesterday he said he has to bring me back down to 10k less a year.

I hate where I work and teh only reason I am still here is because I can not go and find a job that pays the same right away.

As soon as I find something I'm gone and I hope it is when they need me the most(Xmas time). If you can leave then you should, cause trust me it will happen again and again. Oh and they fired everyone in the kitchen, even the dishwasher....Fook them people, take that deal and run
post #14 of 25
Well, I guess I see it differently. I think s/he is going to lose their job no matter what. Why would I pay a lawyer to do what I can do? All I am saying is ask for more severance pay. If they say no, then s/he will have to decide whether or not to leave based on the information at hand. No reason to spend hundreds of dollars to get a lawyer to say "Yep, ask for more money". I am not commenting if there is a case for unlawful release or not. All I am saying is that it seems like they may be willing to bend, and if so, this would be a good time for a pastry chef to look for work with the holidays coming up. If not, then unemployment may be the only other choice, although the money is not nearly what will pay the bills. You will not, however, need to stand in lines to file a claim like you did in the old days. Everything is done on line and/or by phone.
post #15 of 25
I don't see any indication that the job is lost. If the employer wanted him gone they would have just let him go.
Having been on both sides of the fence I can not recall ever giving out more severance just because an employee asked. OTOH if the employer knows they are treading in the gray area once a lawyer gets involved most are a wee bit more motivated to settle. Yes that will cost a few hundred bucks. Either way once you negotiate for more severance the job is lost.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #16 of 25
Only you can truly say what is best for you, but if it were me, I would take the money and go.
I would first ask for a couple of days to consider, and use that time to see what's out there.
That will go a long way to helping you make the decision.
My feeling is that there is no gaurantee that the cuts will stop here, whereas the severance package is for sure.
I'd take it and leave on the best terms possible.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have a old memo from work regarding severance I found on the computer which states as middle management I should get 2 weeks severance per year of service, I don't know how much water that would hold but they are only offering me just 4 weeks which should last about 1 month then I would default on my mortgage, we just had a baby so they know they are screwing me, by refusing to take the lower rate I think they are trying to get out of paying me unemployment or limiting my unemployment options as well. I work in NJ not PA so the unemployment there is worse.
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post #18 of 25
first of all I'm very, very sorry to hear about the loss of your job. Never a good thing.....I just wanted to suggest that you take a good look at the private club industry when moving forward. It seems they really take care of thier people and a great pastry chef is always in high demand......good luck and hang in there....

fryguy
post #19 of 25
Number 1: Clarity of the situation. If in doubt, get specialist advice. A climate of fear generally arises from a lack of knowledge.

Number 2: As long as the above is satisfied, personally, I would hold short and not sign anything. By the fact that you havent agreed to anything buys you time.

The important fact is to not sign anything until you get it checked out. Another important thing is to fine tooth comb your contract. I once had a contract that had "will do nothing to injure the reputation of the business". I didnt sign the contract on the basis that the statement was nebulous and told the owner to GF.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #20 of 25
Not always.
The employer may have an unstated timeframe in mind and if the OP makes no decision, the employer may take that as an answer of no.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #21 of 25
Hey Rat.....any news on the Jobs??? What's going on??? Hope all is going well for ya.:thumb:
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
I took the money and went, I feel a lot better, I've been out about a month now, it is really weird as this is the longest time I have not worked in 25 years. I did get unemployment and supposedly a letter of reference is coming my way.

Funny thing is that I was told they are eliminating the position but I just found out they are hiring that exact same position again, go figure. The half the age, half the money phrase comes to mind. I wonder to what ever happened to having a job and staying there until you retire, back before everything did not revolve around money.

Otherwise things are good, i'm spending lots of time with the family and undoing the damage that the last 10 years of doubles has done on my marriage and family. In a way I am much happier now.

I have a few offers but nothing outstanding, I am fortunate to get them in this economy so I am hopefull another door will open. I have an interview for an exec chef job in a casino this thursday though it is 1.45 hours away, I will go anyway to see what they have to say/offer. Probably won't take it because of the commute but who knows.

I really want to open my own place but the thought of that terrifies me.
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post #23 of 25
Take the money and fidn another job, with this kind of experience,
you can get a better job and better pay...
post #24 of 25
I know I'm not a professional chef, but I am in business and have been through enough corporate restructures in my career to make you head swim!

My advice is #1... tell them you want the whole scenario IN WRITING!! Give me the offers of reduced pay or the severance in writing. You are entitled to it!
#2... as others mentioned, get an attorney and give him a copy of the offer and use his advice.
#3.. keep ALL communication with them in a written format with CC copies in your file. Leave a paper trail(email works) It's for your protection.

And... as advice... if you take the severance, you have the time to get out and interview and do a full time job search. If you are stuck working 40 hours a week for less money, you are going to have to find time to do interviews in between. However, with my advice, they might decide to renege on their offer as legal stuff scares the daylights out of them. If they do, keep looking!!! They will get you eventually!

It sucks but life does go on... Good luck to you!
post #25 of 25
Rat,

Glad to hear you so positive, and hope that things work even better for you than you expect.

With regards to: NOT Legal Advice: On the basis of this information, it seems you were tricked i.e., "defrauded," into accepting the severance package.

You may want to talk to an employment attorney about "wrongful dismissal." Since attorneys in most jurisdictions (not saying anything about yours) usually handle this sort of work on "contingency," the consultation shouldn't cost you anything at all.

BDL
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