My boss/employer has been avoiding me for a month in regards to my benefits. I've been a full timer for 3 months without any benefits.
July 6, 2007 12:00 PM   Subscribe

My boss/employer has been dodging me for a month in regards to my benefits & raise. How can I get him to do his job before I quit while walking out the door? I have been working full time for 3 months and I have not been offered ANY benefits even though I requested a meeting with him four times. Is there anything legal I can use to my advantage?

For the past 6 months, I have been working for a real estate development firm. I started out as a part timer (26) hours and then moved up to 34+ (full time) in the past three months.

I have not been offered any benefits. I requested to meet with the boss so I can go over my benefits and a raise but he has neglected me for the past four weeks and I am getting fed up. Every time I try to meet with him, he tells me he is busy and he leaves the office or spends the rest of the day locked in his office talking on the phone.

Is there anything law-related I can use to my advantage in regards to this matter? I thought benefits were to be offered to full time employees right away. So far its been 3 months and I received absolutely nothing.

Thank you in advance
posted by cheero to Law & Government (17 answers total)
 
What country and state/province/region do you live in?
posted by alms at 12:02 PM on July 6, 2007


What state are you in? How many employees are at the firm? Do other full-time employees receieve benefits? When you say "I thought benefits were to be offered to full time employees right away," do you mean that you were told this by someone, or that you just assumed it?
posted by scody at 12:02 PM on July 6, 2007


Sorry everyone,

I live in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
posted by cheero at 12:04 PM on July 6, 2007


Everyone at the company who works full time has been offered benefits. We have more than 15 employees.

My issue is that I started out as a part timer then I became fulltime since he asked for more hours which of course, I provided.

He promised to meet with me and discuss the benefits a month ago and has avoided me every time I mentioned it to him.
posted by cheero at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2007


1. No intelligent lawyer will post any legal advice on AskMeFi. Anyone who posts any opinion about what the law requires in your situation is not to be trusted, by virtue of the fact that they are imprudent enough to post it.

2. If you believe that your legal rights have been violated, you should seek out an employment lawyer and ask them for advice. A decent one won't charge you to talk to them about this initially.
posted by The World Famous at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2007


Are you sure this job HAS benefits? Does your office have an office manager? I believe that's where you need to start. Bosses of real estate companies -and especially developers-ALWAYS are out of the office and/or on the phone.
posted by konolia at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2007


In MA the law (as of July 1 2007) requires employers of a certain size to offer, at the very least , health insurance, or pay a penalty.
posted by Gungho at 12:11 PM on July 6, 2007


Oh, and actually the law does not require the employer to offer it, only a penalty if they don't. What the law does require is that each MA resident have a minimum standard health care coverage. This could be offered by an employer, or purchased individually.
posted by Gungho at 12:15 PM on July 6, 2007


Well, as of July 1st every Massachusetts resident has to have health insurance. I'm not sure about the legalities of not offering them to you, but you might be able to use that as leverage in at least getting him to meet with you. If they're not going to give you health insurance, though, you need to get it yourself per MA law.

on preview- what others said.
posted by plaingurl at 12:18 PM on July 6, 2007


Call him up, "When is a good time for you and I to get together and discuss the outstanding issues in my conversion to full-time employment?" I can't think of what you mean by "avoiding you" in this scenario unless he's going to just hang up. But put the ball in his court and ask him not what he's got for you, but when you can talk about it.
posted by rhizome at 12:22 PM on July 6, 2007


I don't think there's anything law-related that would help you, unless you are a member of a protected class and employees who are otherwise similar to you receive benefits that you don't receive.

It might come to (a) cornering the boss, or (b) threatening to quit if he doesn't deal.
posted by alms at 12:34 PM on July 6, 2007


I don't think you should just threaten to quit. I think it's time to walk. This is symptomatic of his attitude towards his employees, and it's going to come up again and again. Do you really want to work for someone like that?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:51 PM on July 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


The problem might just be communication. It sounds like you've hoped to be able to talk to him on the spur of the moment? If he's running a company of 15 people, you probably need to get on his schedule. (Or when you say "he's avoided you," do you mean he refuses to set up a time?) Without knowing much about what's going on, here's what I consider the generic order of operations:

Step 0 -- Remove from your head any belief that you know his motives. He may not be avoiding you. Maybe, maybe not. Development is high-stakes. He might've been about to lose a gazillion dollars. Yes, a good manager would've dealt with this proactively. And yes, it sucks for you that you have to chase him down. But try not to take it personally.

Step 1 -- Just act like you're trying to track down any other super-busy person. Leave repeated, cheerful messages through multiple modes of communication (phone, email, and with his assistant if he has one). "I'd like to set up a meeting to talk about my employment and benefits. When would be good for you?"

Keep notes of your attempts. Gradually ramp this up. Without being insubordinate or too annoyed, point out you have made repeated contacts. "Sorry to keep filling up your voice mail, and I'm sure you have a lot going on, but I'm just following up on the voice mail I left you Tuesday and the email I sent yesterday. I'd still like to set up a meeting to...." You might be able to skip directly to this point. "I know you've been busy the last couple times I dropped in. Can we set up a time to meet about this?"

Step 1b -- Meanwhile, investigate HR. What's the office policy? (Is there one on your network?) Is there an HR person? Ask their advice, let them know this is something you want to resolve. If there's no one explicitly doing HR, who does the paycheck paperwork? There's probably at least an accountant there who could give you some advice and maybe some perspective on the business's finances. This person might be able to get his attention if your messages don't. Other senior staff also might be able to give you advice or put in a word with him for you.

Step 2 -- Does he have a superior or co-owner? Is there a Board of Directors? The normal step 2 is to send the exact same polite request while cc:ing a superior, if any exist.

Step 3 -- Decide if you're willing to quit over this. If so, start looking for another job and send him an email reminding him that you have attempted to contact him numerous times and notifying him that if you can't come to an agreement on benefits by X date, you'll regretfully have to "start considering other employment options." If he's just been totally scatterbrained, that will get his attention. If he hasn't wanted to pay you benefits, or even deal with looking at the overall finances, this will give him a deadline to find the money in the budget. And if he doesn't want to make you a full-time permanent employee, this gives you a deadline to find another job. In any case, at that point you can quit knowing you did your best and gave him more than fair notice, rather than just suddenly getting fed up and walking out.
posted by salvia at 2:08 PM on July 6, 2007


If so, start looking for another job and send him an email reminding him that you have attempted to contact him numerous times and notifying him that if you can't come to an agreement on benefits by X date, you'll regretfully have to "start considering other employment options."

What, so he can fire you first? No way. Don't let your boss know you're thinking about walking until you're giving your notice on the way out.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:26 PM on July 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


What, so he can fire you first? No way. Don't let your boss know you're thinking about walking until you're giving your notice on the way out.

Yeah, good point TPS. I actually was thinking the poster should a) be mentally prepared to quit and b) have a good head start on looking for another job before saying anything. So yeah, I agree with you. Personally I'd still give him notice like that, but I'd be prepared to lose the job at any point after doing so.
posted by salvia at 3:10 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Remove from your head any belief that you know his motives. He may not be avoiding you. Maybe, maybe not.

It probably is on purpose, but other than helping you decide what your future is at that company, it doesn't do you any good to "see through it". I mean.. Manager types have an innate ability to avoid situations that will cost them money, yet they'll seem as if they were the pillar of professionalism once you are actually dealing with the issue. It is a prerequisite skill, really.

Sure, it bothers me, I'd prefer to be dealt with straight. I think you just have to learn how to maneuver, because this type of thing is typical of the business environment (if not about benefits, then about raises, time off, scope creep and deadlines, or whatever else). Trouble is, the more you "see through it", the more out of step with the business culture you are going to appear.

More generally.. If you corner someone, and force them to do something they don't want to do, they will take offense. Worse yet, a boss will take it as a challenge to their authority. It doesn't matter how reasonable you are being in every other respect, or how unreasonable (consciously or not) the person you are dealing with is, the instinctive reaction will be confrontational and territorial.
I've actually just been through this with someone.. When I cornered him, I only saw it from the perspective of my objectives - I need him to do this relatively simple thing, I know he won't if I don't make him; here's an opportunity where, if he wants me to cooperate, he will just have to do it - a couple of days later I received a strong reaction..

At the same time, you can't allow yourself to become the office pushover. You just need to learn how to deal with these things in a politically astute fashion.. When you figure out how, please tell me :)
posted by Chuckles at 12:45 AM on July 7, 2007


I'll just add.. Email can be really good for this stuff. In writing, with a back history, evidence of the other parties negligence is unquestionable and ever present, so there is more pressure with less confrontation (at least I think so.. I'm probably still missing things though :P).
posted by Chuckles at 12:54 AM on July 7, 2007


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