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Old 02.01.2011, 19:41
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Re: Termination of employment on assignment

Well, the company is clearly playing hardball with you, or at least trying to.

If you have been on international assignment (IA), perhaps HR is just telling you that they want to negotiate the pay package. They are asking you to move to the US and telling you they will not pay the IA package any more. Have you compared the company offer with what the market in the US is paying for your position at that location?

I would look at your employment contract first. I know that if the contract is CH based, and you are overseas on behalf of the company on a "short" term basis, they can not terminate you while you are overseas; they have to bring you back and offer you CH conditions for termination. Given that you are overseas for such a long time (years), the conditions may be different.

They may have given you CH based contract, but was it signed in CH or in CA? Were you hired in CH and then sent to CA or were you hired directly in CA? I would talk to a Swiss employment attorney and get his/her opinion. Because you have been overseas for so many years, it may be that they can terminate you while you are overseas and not have to offer CH termination conditions; but an attorney can tell you definitely. By offering you a position in the US with 35% paycut, HR is covering their tracks somewhat, if it becomes a legal issue in CH.

I also suspect that company HR has discussed this with their legal department and they also have an opinion. Many times HR will try to strong arm the employee into submission, even if they are on somewhat shaky grounds (they do not have to be on solid legal ground). It is easier for them to have the employee submit than to have to look for a new employee through head hunters in the US.

Yes, the potential employees in the US will be more flexible to get a new job.

I think you should discuss this with a Swiss employment attorney. If you get positive feedback from the attorney, then tell the company that they should bring you back to CH and find you something - clearly your position no longer exists, but as a "long term" employee, surely you can contribute positively to the company. Depending on their feedback, you should have a good idea on a) what sort of legal ground they are standing on, b) how you should proceed with further discussions with HR, c) whether you want to take their offer or not. d) look for other opportunities elsewhere. e) explore why HR is pushing for a 35% paycut, etc.

Tough place to be. Feel for ya. Good Luck!
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Old 06.01.2011, 12:47
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Re: Termination of employment on assignment

To me it seems they want to dump you and this is the most comfortable way for them to do it.

Probably I have got a bad attitude but I would count on the unemployment benefit.
If they fire you you are entitled to 2 or 3 months notice period and after a 5 days waiting period to the 70% of your salary for 400 days if I am right. The descriptions are a little bit foggy for me but I think it is worth to look it up.
I have not been unemployed yet I just have some friends who live on their unemployment allowance very relaxed for some time now.

I am not sure if there are any implications for them if they want to hire someone with a visa requirement after they have given notice to someone with a work permit.
However if you decide so that you leave the company (if you sign a US contract you are legally leaving the company) then they do not face any issue if they want to hire a new person.
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