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Old 06.07.2011, 13:01
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Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

Dear All,

I wonder if you can kindly give me advice on this matter as it is causing me unrest:

I was made redundant unfairly by my old department
I was put on a redundancy program.
Monies were paid out of the redundancy program to me.
However, I immediately accepted another role in the same company.
I kept the monies as I see this as severence payment from my old department for unfairly squeezing me out.
Now the HR department is claiming that I should have paid the monies back to them (this is over 1.5 years ago)
I have told them I was under the impression it was severence payment, they said they will consult legal on this matter.

Can someone kindly tell me what my legal position is on this? Do they have any rights for sueing me even though they were the ones who had paid this to me - rightly or wrongly? My old department did try to unfairly squeeze me out.

Thank you very much in advance!
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Old 06.07.2011, 13:17
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

In CH you have no right to any reduncy payment, they just have to pay your notice period.
So the payout was negociated, it was payable on whatever terms were agreed at the time. Let them take legal advice & see what they say.

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Dear All,

I wonder if you can kindly give me advice on this matter as it is causing me unrest:

I was made redundant unfairly by my old department
I was put on a redundancy program.
Monies were paid out of the redundancy program to me.
However, I immediately accepted another role in the same company.
I kept the monies as I see this as severence payment from my old department for unfairly squeezing me out.
Now the HR department is claiming that I should have paid the monies back to them (this is over 1.5 years ago)
I have told them I was under the impression it was severence payment, they said they will consult legal on this matter.

Can someone kindly tell me what my legal position is on this? Do they have any rights for sueing me even though they were the ones who had paid this to me - rightly or wrongly? My old department did try to unfairly squeeze me out.

Thank you very much in advance!
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  #3  
Old 06.07.2011, 13:29
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

Sorry you're right - redundancy is an english terminology. Rather the company called it a coaching program where after the program, if you didn't find a job within that period, they paid out a lump sum to you.
The problem is I was hired by another department after the coaching program.
Do they have a right to sue me as they claim I shouldn't have kept the monies.
My claim is that this money is for severence payment.

I'm really worried and need advice possibly from someone on the legal side.

If anyone who is a lawyer here and knows the Swiss employment law, can you please give me some advice or refer me to some lawyers specialised in this field..please - thanks!
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Old 06.07.2011, 13:30
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

was this from one of the banks?
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Old 06.07.2011, 13:32
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

Yes. I can't tell you which one but yes it is a bank.
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Old 06.07.2011, 13:40
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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Sorry you're right - redundancy is an english terminology. Rather the company called it a coaching program where after the program, if you didn't find a job within that period, they paid out a lump sum to you.
The problem is I was hired by another department after the coaching program.
Do they have a right to sue me as they claim I shouldn't have kept the monies.
My claim is that this money is for severence payment.

I'm really worried and need advice possibly from someone on the legal side.

If anyone who is a lawyer here and knows the Swiss employment law, can you please give me some advice or refer me to some lawyers specialised in this field..please - thanks!
So whats the problem? You found a job after the coaching program. It sounds to me like you understood what was happening
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Old 06.07.2011, 13:45
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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So whats the problem? You found a job after the coaching program. It sounds to me like you understood what was happening
And it sounds like the coaching programme was a resounding success.
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Old 06.07.2011, 13:45
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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Yes. I can't tell you which one but yes it is a bank.

well if it was ubs then the process is clear, the money is only yours if you actually leave, if you find another job within the bank then you have to give it back.

Judging by the way you have asked your question you already know the answer anyway.
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Old 06.07.2011, 13:54
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

just wait and see what happens. no need to rush into obtaining legal advice before they have even asked for any money back.

in the meantime start saving some money
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:04
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

Yeah but can they sue me because of it? Is there a basis to argue that this monies should have been paid to me rightly for unfair dismissal by the other department?
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:06
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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Yeah but can they sue me because of it? Is there a basis to argue that this monies should have been paid to me rightly for unfair dismissal by the other department?

did you ever actually leave the bank? or did you just move departments? if the latter then they never dismissed you, did they
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:12
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

IANAL but officially it looks to me like your weren't unfairly dismissed, you were made redundant. If you have to pay the money back if you find another job in the same company, that's what you have to do. They only have to sue you if you refuse to pay the money back.

You need professional legal advice.
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:13
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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Yeah but can they sue me because of it? Is there a basis to argue that this monies should have been paid to me rightly for unfair dismissal by the other department?
post a scan of your severance agreement so i can answer your question. obviously there's no way to tell without reading through it.
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:14
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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paid to me rightly for unfair dismissal by the other department?
There is no concept of 'unfair dismissal' they can at any time give notice as indeed you can. No reason required.
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:17
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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You need professional legal advice.
All he needs to understand is the basis that the money was paid. If the conditions were filled then it's the OP's money, if not then he will probably have to give it back.
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:27
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

You should contact an attorney, if it is a significant amount.

I am assuming that you have spent the money as it has been a few years.
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Old 06.07.2011, 14:32
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

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In CH you have no right to any reduncy payment, they just have to pay your notice period.
So the payout was negociated, it was payable on whatever terms were agreed at the time. Let them take legal advice & see what they say.
If they are still your employer and by the sounds of it they are, then I would try to keep them happy and do as they say. No point to get lawyers involved as you still need them, otherwise you might get made redundant again under another obscure reason.
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Old 06.07.2011, 15:07
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

Thanks to those who replied. It is my understanding that I have no foot to stand on without having to give this monies back?? In the UK where I'm from, employees are entitled to redundancy payments after working for the company after a certain period - this does not seem to be the case in Switzerland?? In addition, in the UK, to dismiss employees the employer would have to go through a process of giving warnings to their employees. I did nothing wrong here. They can't just try and get rid of people without real reason can they??

The annoying thing is, the department effectively tried to get rid of me and had I found another job in another company, I wouldn't need to even consider giving this money back. I still think it is a bit unfair especially what the other department did to me and in a way, I still feel I should be compensated for this. So ideally I would prefer not to give this monies back but don't want to be sued for not doing so. Or else be sued for some other reason e.g not telling them I had this money even though they paid me...if you understand what I mean?
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Old 06.07.2011, 15:09
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

That is indeed the problem- as you will be seen as a trouble maker, sorry. Go and discuss this with them, explain the money has gone, and ask for terms for longterm repayment. Good luck.
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Old 06.07.2011, 15:20
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Re: Paid redundany, accepted job in same company

It sounds a lot like the US where, when I was laid-off late last fall, I was given a severance, a parachute and some perks of a job finding service, etc...some of which was bound from the original company which was acquired by the current company. The catch of the whole deal was that I had to sign a rather lengthy legal contract stating that, in addition to my needing to honour the NDA for 2 years, that I would have to return the severance if I found a new job in the company in 90 days or less. Didn't you have to sign something? Maybe you should re-read it just to be sure.

Of course, suing you is likely more than it's worth, but they might punt you which could be a problem in terms of getting a job here as Zurich seems to be a real small place.
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