How does one resolve this corporate contractual predicament?
March 30, 2014 9:32 AM Subscribe
A good friend of mine, Sal, is stuck in a corporate predicament. He already signed a contract with a company in Saudi, but the company is altering his contract and job description because their client is no longer satisfied with it. Sal is now stuck between a rock and a hard place because he wants to back out, but can't. More details below.
posted by omar.a to Work & Money (14 answers total)
This is the background story and it is a bit long, so bear with me.
Sal works for a project management company in Qatar, and is an extremely talented and sought-after Project Manager. His good friend, a very influential man (Ian) who works as a Regional Director for another big (Canadian) company in Saudi, offers him many positions, but Sal refuses all of them because he considers all the positions a step back from his current one. Eventually, Ian offers Sal a position as Project Manager for a good package and Sal agrees (because it is similar to his own position and the package is better) and proceeds to make plans to move to Saudi, selling his house, furniture, and car for much less than they are actually worth. Sal then decides to go to Canada (his country of citizenship) to complete his medical tests there.
And this is where things start to get awry: the Saudi company (which works for a big client in the country), informs Sal that they will alter the contract he already signed because the client is pressuring them. They told him that his new position will be as a Project Engineer reporting to a Technical Manager (instead of Project Manager reporting to Director), as well as altering his job description. Ian tries to convince Sal to take on the position and tells him it is the same thing and that he shouldn't object or play hard ball since the money is the same, but Sal insists that he is being set up for failure because it is a different job altogether, and that it is not about the money but the principle.
After Sal rejects all the alterations via e-mail correspondences, Ian angrily tells Sal to stop CCing the HR department of his company, and tells him that if his case goes legal, he won't be able to help him anymore. He also tells Sal that even if his contract is terminated, Sal won't get a lot of money as compensation (in one instance, he told him will get a month's pay, in another he told him he will get three months pay). To verify whether this was true or not, Sal researched this on the internet and found that his compensation far exceeds the amount that Ian has been alluding to. Sal tells Ian that his preliminary contract is still valid (since all subsequent alterations were merely e-mail correspondences) and that Ian should wire him his salary, so Ian complies.
Sal feels like he lost all trust in the company and in his friend Ian, so he talks to a lawyer who tells him that he has a 50/50 chance of getting a worthy compensation for all the losses he had to go through, but that they could ask for a worthy compensation. Meanwhile, Ian is on a two-week vacation, and the HR department of the company (and its Canadian branch) don't seem to know about Sal's case, even though Ian said they did. Basically Sal feels like he is trapped: On one hand, he feels discouraged and distrustful about the Saudi company and Ian, because he feels they are out to get him to Saudi and contractually trap him in job that is not his; and on the other hand he is suffering financially and taking any legal action (without having a backup job) that can potentially take up to one year sounds scary to him.
Recently, upon thinking about this matter a great deal, Sal came up with a solution: To talk to Ian in order to amicably end his contract, and to try to get a good compensation and then have Ian add some of his own money to it (since Ian likes to invest in start-ups) in order for them to both open a business partnership in Canada. He feels that this solution is the best because (a) any legal action might take up to a year in court, (b) he could turn a negative thing into a positive thing and keep all his business relationships intact, (c) he gets to invest in a good business in his country, Canada, and (d) he doesn't lose Ian as a friend, which he will if he decides to go legal. Question is, is this a good solution, given the circumstances?
This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's request -- mathowie