Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Living in Switzerland > Daily life  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12.06.2010, 22:13
Momus's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 214
Groaned at 4 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 102 Times in 42 Posts
Momus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeable
Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Hi,

I have had to take some time off sick from my work in Geneva through general burn out and stress. Banking, go figure.

This is second time it happened in about 2 years and I have had this backed up by absence certificates from my doctor, who is very understanding and have given me some short-term stress medication plus an absence of leave for an undetermined period. The burn out and stress has led to
bingedrinking, undereating and general negative attitude about how to go on. Yes, including that one.

Basically, my manager is very unsympathetic and her general opinion is that unless you're dying or someone near you has died, you should soldier on regardless. I am due a follow up with my doctor(s) next week and have informed my work of this every step of the way. The last time, they had offered me to take some holidays on a regular basis, which I had, but it still it pretty GD awful there, but then only 4 days a week instead of 5. Doesn't make that much difference actually.

My question is this - can they FIRE me while I am off sick? If not, and I went back to work, I guess that would allow them to do this then?

The bigger picture is that, if this has happened to me twice in as many years, this is the wrong job for me, and I am going to spent my time looking for a new one or planning my escape from Switzerland. I just don't think I am suited to this career...That's fine, but I need to get out of the situation without getting screwed along the way, which is what big institutions seem to like doing when they want you out. I used to work for a big American Bank and have seen it before with other people.

They basically came to me today and said they wanted reimbursement of the last 15 months of calls I have made on my work phone, yes - some personal - but everyone is at it, and I assuming they would like me to leave rather than have to go through the messy process of firing someone. I have some of my own complaints about the manager and the team, in case. They are claiming it's over 5,000 CHF and I have asked for copies of the records in the meantime.

I think I should stay on sickleave, even though I feel pressured to go back, and make alternative plans. If I did leave, voluntarily or otherwise, I guess I can sign on for social support to take a break until I am ready to go back to work?

If anyone has had a similar experience, would be grateful to hear about it. I am getting some legal advice from the employee helpful as well.

Thanks,
M
__________________
It's not God I have a problem with, it's the fanclub ...
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12.06.2010, 22:57
Hedgehog of death's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Brighton
Posts: 791
Groaned at 43 Times in 26 Posts
Thanked 543 Times in 249 Posts
Hedgehog of death has a reputation beyond reputeHedgehog of death has a reputation beyond reputeHedgehog of death has a reputation beyond reputeHedgehog of death has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

So what is changing with regards to you, or the role, to reduce the stress?

If not , there is one logical conclusion ... and I think the bank have come to it!

Sorry
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12.06.2010, 22:58
vwild1
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Quote:
View Post
My question is this - can they FIRE me while I am off sick?
Yes.. but the actual termination date wouldn't be until your doctor cleared you as 100% fit to work again. I think this also has its limits which might be around 18 months at which point you'd be out of a job anyway and applying for disability.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12.06.2010, 23:07
SamWeiseVielleicht's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Bern
Posts: 726
Groaned at 11 Times in 10 Posts
Thanked 893 Times in 397 Posts
SamWeiseVielleicht has a reputation beyond reputeSamWeiseVielleicht has a reputation beyond reputeSamWeiseVielleicht has a reputation beyond reputeSamWeiseVielleicht has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

I sincerely hope that that you will find a career that suits you more and lets you have a fulfilled work-life as well as a healthy work-life balance.

As to your question: Art. 336c of the swiss code of obligations states that as an employer you cannot fire an employee who is ill for 30 days during the first year, for 90 days (years 2 to five) and 180 (5+ years). After that period, the employer still has to respect the normal notice period (unless there is proof of wrongdoing by the employee, thats what the controlling your phone bills might be about).

BUT!!! This is obviously a very serious matter for you and I strongly advise you to contact a lawyer. Please do not rely too much on any information given to you here (including my own).
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank SamWeiseVielleicht for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 12.06.2010, 23:07
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ticino
Posts: 2,922
Groaned at 92 Times in 64 Posts
Thanked 3,752 Times in 1,506 Posts
Snoopy has a reputation beyond reputeSnoopy has a reputation beyond reputeSnoopy has a reputation beyond reputeSnoopy has a reputation beyond reputeSnoopy has a reputation beyond reputeSnoopy has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

If there are any company regulations about using your company phone for private calls and you flouted them, you may well be in trouble...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12.06.2010, 23:08
Mrs T's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: By the water
Posts: 533
Groaned at 51 Times in 27 Posts
Thanked 425 Times in 200 Posts
Mrs T has become a little unpopular
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

If you leave of your own accord, you will be penalised 3 months unemployment.

Could you talk to your employers and ask them to change you to a less stressful position?

It looks like you have a fundemental life choice to make,; do you want to live tpo work or work to live?

Good luck
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Mrs T for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 12.06.2010, 23:16
Hedgehog of death's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Brighton
Posts: 791
Groaned at 43 Times in 26 Posts
Thanked 543 Times in 249 Posts
Hedgehog of death has a reputation beyond reputeHedgehog of death has a reputation beyond reputeHedgehog of death has a reputation beyond reputeHedgehog of death has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

They are looking for reasons to make it easy on you, and expecting you resignation.

But you know that

Pay the 5k and get sacked, or resign seems to be the offer ....
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12.06.2010, 23:49
Momus's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 214
Groaned at 4 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 102 Times in 42 Posts
Momus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeable
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Quote:
View Post
So what is changing with regards to you, or the role, to reduce the stress? If not , there is one logical conclusion ... and I think the bank have come to it!
I think I came to the conclusion of not being/feeling right in that job some time ago but taking no action is the easy way ... unfortunately, and then led here.

It's not stress, per se, that I'm trying to avoid - it's negative stress, sure - but I'm ok with positive stress - getting a buzz out of your job or some satisfaction.So, to answer your point, it's me that's changed and didn't do something about it soon enough and I am where I am now...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12.06.2010, 23:57
Joolie's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Adliswil, Zurich
Posts: 259
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 153 Times in 108 Posts
Joolie is considered knowledgeableJoolie is considered knowledgeableJoolie is considered knowledgeable
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

If you are off sick and have already decided to get a new job, why not use this time to find one perhaps ?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 13.06.2010, 08:05
NotAllThere's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Baselland
Posts: 12,971
Groaned at 206 Times in 183 Posts
Thanked 18,806 Times in 7,663 Posts
NotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

If you resign, you may not be entitled to any social support .

Your manager's opinion on you returning to work is irrelevant, and may be to your benefit. In your situation, I'd go for a complaint of "mobbing" i.e. workplace bullying.

1. Being pressurised to return to work, when you are off work due to medically diagnosed stress is probably a bad move on behalf of your employer.
2. Are you the only person who's phone call usage has been monitored? What does your contract say?
3. Do you have any evidence that they are deliberate singling you out to harass you.

Try to establish a pattern, with documented (i.e. you've written them down) evidence that you've been treated unreasonably. After every meeting with your boss/bosses document what was said, and send them copies.

I went through a deliberate campaign to get me resign. When I was off sick due to stress, my idiot boss emailed me to discuss my review. I ignored him, but the incident went down in my folder of evidence. In meetings where idiot boss and his boss tried to pin blame, they were so dumb, they didn't contest my meeting accounts which I emailed them afterwards - they just used the fact that I'd emailed as further proof that I was "unfit for the job". End result: 6 month's pay off for me, immediate release. Idiot boss's boss, who'd orchestrated the campaign - unemployed (unconnected to my case, but did cause schadenfreude). I was very fortunate that I was supported by a very experienced HR guy, who worked for another organsiation. He guided me throught the legalities, and advised me what to do.

Recently, an ex-colleague was suffering similarly at the hands of a new boss. He went through the process I described. He also saw an employment lawyer. He got 6 month's pay, 1 month immediate leave followed by release. What his previous employer didn't know, was that he'd already had a job offer from a competitor, and following release, he started the new job.

Having said all this, there is of course the chance that you're a workshy sponger, trying to milk the system, and the employer is the victim. But in 20 years as an employee, both as worker and as manager, I've never encountered that scenario...
__________________
Down with racism. Long live miscegenation!
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank NotAllThere for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 13.06.2010, 21:22
Momus's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 214
Groaned at 4 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 102 Times in 42 Posts
Momus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeable
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Quote:
View Post
If you resign, you may not be entitled to any social support ....
Thank you NotAllThere - that's really useful advice, I am checking things out with a legal guy tomorrow. And I'm trying to get hold of a copy of the contract for the phone to check that angle. Unfortunately, on the occasions I have raised concerns to my manager, only one of them was on e-mail and the rest was verbal. Seeing as my manager seems to have a selective memory and they think I am obviously mad ( subjective and perhaps slightly warranted ) it might come down to their word against mine. The person I am speaking with tomorrow will be an expert in Swiss employment law and we'll see where that goes. Thanks again, at least they can't phone me to hassle me, since they cut the damned thing off!
__________________
It's not God I have a problem with, it's the fanclub ...
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 13.06.2010, 21:27
NotAllThere's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Baselland
Posts: 12,971
Groaned at 206 Times in 183 Posts
Thanked 18,806 Times in 7,663 Posts
NotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

If when it is verbal, you should still write down, with the date, what was said. It counts as evidence, and often, when people are confronted with it, they don't actually deny it, but rather attempt to justify what they said - inadvertantly agreeing with you.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank NotAllThere for this useful post:
  #13  
Old 13.06.2010, 21:41
smackerjack's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: U.K/VAUD
Posts: 2,204
Groaned at 14 Times in 7 Posts
Thanked 2,604 Times in 1,078 Posts
smackerjack has a reputation beyond reputesmackerjack has a reputation beyond reputesmackerjack has a reputation beyond reputesmackerjack has a reputation beyond reputesmackerjack has a reputation beyond reputesmackerjack has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Try not to stress out as you pay for it health wise and no job is ever worth that.
As has been mentioned log everything but sometimes it is better to walk away and have peace of mind ( from someone who knows).
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 13.06.2010, 21:46
Momus's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 214
Groaned at 4 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 102 Times in 42 Posts
Momus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeable
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Quote:
View Post
Try not to stress out as you pay for it health wise and no job is ever worth that.
As has been mentioned log everything but sometimes it is better to walk away and have peace of mind ( from someone who knows).
Thanks - it's for that reason, my health, that I am willing to walk away from it, but I want to do it without paying their trumped-up phone charge and to ensure that I can at least get social support for a few months while I de-stress and decide what my next move is. You're totally right. I'm writing a chronology right now of everything that happened. I don't know if they might even offer me voluntary redundancy ( I've been there 4 years ) but I guess I'll discuss with the legal eagle tomorrow. Appreciate your feedback.
__________________
It's not God I have a problem with, it's the fanclub ...
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 13.06.2010, 22:11
swissbob
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Quote:
View Post
Thanks - it's for that reason, my health, that I am willing to walk away from it, but I want to do it without paying their trumped-up phone charge and to ensure that I can at least get social support for a few months while I de-stress and decide what my next move is.
To get immediate support you need to be fired or made redundant. Any termination that is voluntary on your side will mean no support for 3 months.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 13.06.2010, 22:11
Wollishofener's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Glattbrugg
Posts: 19,023
Groaned at 333 Times in 258 Posts
Thanked 11,716 Times in 6,858 Posts
Wollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Quote:
View Post
Thanks - it's for that reason, my health, that I am willing to walk away from it, but I want to do it without paying their trumped-up phone charge and to ensure that I can at least get social support for a few months while I de-stress and decide what my next move is. You're totally right. I'm writing a chronology right now of everything that happened. I don't know if they might even offer me voluntary redundancy ( I've been there 4 years ) but I guess I'll discuss with the legal eagle tomorrow. Appreciate your feedback.
A) Yes, the can give you notice that you are out in 2 or 3 months, as the relationship of trust is disturbed
B) You however ought to consider whether banking really is your destiny. True, banking still is very highly paid, or to put it more bluntly still heavily overpaid. But it does not make sense to struggle on in a branch which makes you fell ill.
C) Give notice, quit the place and venture out into something else .... trade, industry, transport, tourism, education
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 13.06.2010, 22:13
Wollishofener's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Glattbrugg
Posts: 19,023
Groaned at 333 Times in 258 Posts
Thanked 11,716 Times in 6,858 Posts
Wollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond reputeWollishofener has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Quote:
View Post
To get immediate support you need to be fired or made redundant. Any termination that is voluntary on your side will mean no support for 3 months.
This of course is correct, so that the way to go for the OP is to provoke the manageress to give notice, for instance by telling her that the doctor considered an 8 months recovery phase
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 13.06.2010, 22:16
kri's Avatar
kri kri is offline
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 1,728
Groaned at 16 Times in 16 Posts
Thanked 1,453 Times in 756 Posts
kri has a reputation beyond reputekri has a reputation beyond reputekri has a reputation beyond reputekri has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

If your meetings are verbal, you should write them up and send it as "Summary of today's" discussion to your boss and whoever was there. This way, they either ^have to reply or agree.

If it gets nasty, you may also consider having someone with you?

And record all the times they have called you/harassed you whilst sick.

On the phone incident: if it is normal practice you should be fine.

On the "can they fire you": what has been mentioned is correct but it could be that your company has different disability plans. (long term sickness falls under disability) so better ask HR.

Also, even though they cannot fire you, they can after x months off start paying you only 80%. I think x=2 but not sure.

And pls, take care of yourself

K
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank kri for this useful post:
  #19  
Old 26.06.2010, 12:19
Momus's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 214
Groaned at 4 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 102 Times in 42 Posts
Momus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeableMomus is considered knowledgeable
Re: Can They Fire Me? Swiss Employment Law - Advice?

Just to sum up, I got some legal advice and this is what I understand.

The timeframe that the company has to pay you salary on sick leave depends on how long you've been with the company.

1 year - 30 days
2 - 5 years - 90 days
6 years + - 180 days

For reference, I have been referred to the Swiss Code of Obligations section 336(c) which I'm sure will be in the library.

During this period, they cannot fire me and, to be honest, they're on shaky ground even contacting me ( e.g. for the telephone issue or to follow up on and "outstanding" files )

After the 90 days, they can fire me at their discretion ( or I can leave, or be offered redundancy ) and my 2 month notice period must still be observed.

Therefore, assuming I need all the time, I could theoretically be paid in full for the next 5 months.

Also, on the telephone bill issue, it transpires that they only have access to 6 months of detailed invoices so there is absolutely no way they can attempt to charge me for the full period of 15 months they are suggesting. Plus, several other factors ( e.g. no prior warnings, possible harassment and the sheer fact it was raised only 2 days after I was signed off and not in the preceeding 450 days I actually had the phone...)

Switzerland Employment Law seems very much to protect the individual in these cases. Since going on sick leave, I have spoken to a number of people who have also been in or are going through this situation, several of them with my company. I'm disappointed to hear though that my company seems to take a very heavy-handed view of sickness due to stress and several of my friends have had letters threatening legal action for contractual issues etc. I know the circumstances differ but it seems that they like to take a partisan shot at any employee who falls under boots of their fear culture.

I do know that I have been able to start to BREATHE for the first in 2 weeks and I don't intend to ever go back to a situation as stifling, oppressive and pedantic as that again. No more dizzy spells. I am doing much better but I think going BACK into that environment will start the whole circle again. Time to find a new career and I am really looking forward to that.

Legal advice in Switzerland is very expensive but my company luckily has an independent employee advice line and I spoke with a lawyer. There's also something called the Permanance Juridique in Geneva, but I didn't explore that option. I think it might be like Legal Aid in the UK.

Thank for your very helpful advice to everyone who came back on this issue for me. Hopefully this thread might help someone else in a similar situation.
__________________
It's not God I have a problem with, it's the fanclub ...
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Momus for this useful post:
Reply

Tags
banking, employment, fire, fired, social security




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Employment Law FAQ Link Guest Employment 4 10.06.2011 11:42
Job Advertising and Employment Law in Switzerland Tubbies-Mummy Employment 6 03.03.2009 15:54
Employment Law Advice rich98 Employment 9 08.12.2008 18:23
Swiss employment law binding for every company? swissmiss163 Employment 5 21.05.2008 14:04
Hire and fire law related questions Mozilla Employment 0 12.01.2007 18:23


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 03:58.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0