Sunday, December 10, 2017
Business

Career Q&A: Frozen treats no remedy for frozen salaries

Q: After our small business was sold to a large corporation, all salaries were immediately frozen. On a recent visit, our new CEO said this freeze was permanent and there would be no raises for the foreseeable future.

However, to show how much he cares, the CEO has now arranged for a frozen lemonade truck to come by every Friday. We each get one free lemonade pop. Does this guy not see that giving us treats instead of raises is insulting?

A: As many have learned before you, nothing is certain after an acquisition. You're now working for an entirely different company. And that company is trying to standardize pay by merging your old compensation system with their own.

Based on the pay freeze, either your former owners were overly generous, or your new employer is extremely frugal. If salaries in your small business were comparatively high, eliminating raises will begin to bring them back to market rate. But if the acquiring company pays well below market, then you may now work at a sweatshop.

Either way, raises won't be reappearing anytime soon. However, you might ask human resources for a better explanation of this compensation decision. And perhaps you could diplomatically explain why frozen salaries and frozen treats are a bad combination.

Co-worker is a registered offender

Q: I recently discovered that a co-worker is a registered sex offender. This creep was previously convicted of second-degree sexual assault on a female. When the owners of the company I work for hired him, they obviously failed to thoroughly check his background.

I've worked with convicted felons and believe they should be allowed to continue with their lives after paying their debt to society. However, I'm so disgusted by this potential rapist that I can hardly stand to be around him. Even though I would love to get rid of the guy, I'm conflicted about telling the owners. What's your opinion?

A: I completely understand your visceral reaction to this colleague's questionable past. One complicating factor, however, is that some registry offenses are less serious than the description implies. For example, a teenager might have a consensual relationship with a minor near his age. Although this is a common occurrence, it's nevertheless illegal.

So before labeling your co-worker a "potential rapist," you need more specific facts. Since convictions are a matter of public record, details could probably be obtained by contacting the clerk of court in the jurisdiction where the offense occurred. But regardless of the circumstances, management should definitely be given this information.

As employers, the owners are legally responsible for both the safety of others and proper treatment of this employee. To make an informed decision about his continued employment, they will need to seek out legal advice, as numerous state and federal laws may apply. And for your own protection, they must agree to keep your identity confidential.

Of course, you may find that the owners have already assessed the situation and decided to give this guy a chance. But if they were clueless about his record, a comprehensive background check should immediately be added to this company's hiring process.

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