Really, how screwed am I?
October 11, 2009 8:13 AM Subscribe
Am I being fired? I was recently converted from a full-time employee at a $5 billion multi-national company to a contractor working at the same company. Now, my contractor boss has called me in for meetings with the contracting company's HR rep for "issues". Oh yeah, I'm pregnant too.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In July, my boss with the large multinational corp (who I'll call Big Company) called me into the office to say that I had two options since my position was being eliminated. I could take the severance package and be "laid off" or I could be converted to contractor and move to a lower level job I previously held at Big Company. My salary would increase a small amount to cover the additional cost for medical benefits with the Smaller Contracting Company. They repeatedly tell me it's not a demotion, but they had to make tough choices and thought that this would be a way to keep me in a job. I have had only positive reviews while being employed with Big Company.
When I looked into taking the job with the Smaller Contracting Company, several issues arose. The medical plan was not comparable which was no big surprise. I would earn less vacation, also not a surprise. However, I would have no maternity benefits. In addition, since I would not have been employed with the Smaller Contracting Company for more than a year I would not be eligible for FMLA. I brought this up as a serious issue and was given 6 weeks paid maternity. Finally, I was told that I wouldn't be eligible for COBRA because I was accepting the contractor role.
The contractor job is at Big Company, which is subcontracted by Small Company. I take the lower level contractor role at a slightly higher salary. My new boss, who is also a contractor, doesn't schedule regular one on ones with me or communicate to me in the same frequency or tone as my peers, generally avoids me, does not provide me the information I need to do my job, etc. Basically, we have some serious communication issues for which we are both responsible for.
I think the turning point of uncomfortable to serious was when I provided her feedback regarding one of my peers about 2 weeks ago. I covered for this person while they were on vacation and discovered many issues. In addition, I was asked by 3 coworkers in other departments to speak up about the issues surrounding this employee because many people feel that concerns voiced to my new boss have not been heard. When I raised the issues, my new boss got very defensive.
Monday she asked me to do something that I felt was unethical (I didn't tell her I thought it was unethical, but that's how I felt). I asked her to confirm with our finance folks on process before I proceeded.
Tuesday I worked from home and came in late Wednesday because we had gotten elevated risks on our baby for Trisomy 18. I was a total emotional wreck after receiving the news and thought it best to work from home. This situation has not helped me in "being cool". Between hormones and this news, I've pretty much cried at the drop of a hat.
Thursday she sends me a invite for me, her and her boss. I ask her boss about it and am told Small Contracting Company HR will be attending as well.
Friday we have the meeting and she pulls out a two page list of everything I'm doing wrong. I didn't keep my shit together and cry. I told her I felt cornered that the meeting came out of nowhere and that I wasn't prepared with my list of issues either. They call off the meeting because I'm a total wreck.
Now I'm sitting here trying to figure out my next steps. The fact there was a written list and the Smaller Company HR folks were there really makes me think they are trying to make a case for me to be fired.
Obviously, there's more to the story, but that's the general jist of it.
Here's the questions:
-Am I being fired?
-The nut in me thinks this may be a complex plot to eliminate me from the company in a manner that would have the lowest liability for the Big Company. Am I crazy?
-How should I meet with HR/bosses? I would like to propose we work on our communicating styles together in one meeting, so that at the next meeting we can discuss the "issues" in an understanding and supportive manner. Is this out of line? I hate the idea of preparing a tit for tat list and worry about delivering something like this.
-I have a multiple high risk pregnancy that makes it likely I may have pre-term labor. I am very worried about the stress on the baby and it contributing to this. My boss's boss has voiced a concern that may stress may be negative for my pregnancy. Should I ask to see if HR would be willing to make temporary medical accommodations for the stress induced by new boss? Ideally, I'd like to report to my boss's boss, although I am open to other positions. I think it would reduce stress dramatically.
The Smaller Contracting Company has over 50 employees, although maybe less than 150. It's hard to tell the total number because they work with a number of companies in the area.
I was employed with Big Company for 4 years. Big Company has serious financial troubles. There have been several rounds of lay-offs in the last year. In the past the lay-offs got rid of poor performers.
I will call a lawyer on Monday, but the meeting is on Monday, so insight is greatly appreciated.
This is in Texas.