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Old 20.07.2012, 10:38
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Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

Dear All,
A family member of mine moved to Switzerland from W EU to work for a Swiss company in the VD canton since April 2012. She was give a team and associate director position to lead commercial operations. The company is growing aggressively. By the thiem she joined her team was largely overloaded, frustrated. Everyone work minimum 55 hrs a week, she works more than 60 hrs a week.
With organizational management expertise she identified resource risks, chronic issues with planning. Justified recruitment, but her management does not give any support, no resource. She made written communication to management and HR leadership teams about the lack of resources, athmosphere, planning and commercial risks, proposed plans for the company. Her situation has been growing worse, reaching 70 hrs work a week, aggressive comments from reportees and lack of support formmanagement. She is overloeaded, exhausted, frustrated. As she isnew in Switzerland with family, but earns alone, she does not dare to leave the job. Desperate situation. After 15 years work experience, first time she is so disrespected and tools not given for her work. As she did not do anything wrong for the Company, sh does not just want to resign without revealing these facts and to secure her career and life. What can she do? Doctor, resignation, legal? Very very said story I see developping and urgent help wold be needed for a great person and excellent professional. Thank you for your advice.
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Old 20.07.2012, 10:43
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

She could go on stress leave, with a doctor's certificate. She should probably talk to the RAV to see what support they can offer, and what she needs to do if she quits the job. She probably needs to start really cutting her expenditure down so she has a little 'next egg' if she does quit the job, and once she's got everything lined up, she sends management an ultimatum - here's what I expect, and this is not-negotiable, and this part is negotiable, and if you aren't willing to come forward with some changes, I walk...

Middle management can be very much like being the 'meat in the sandwich'. I think everyone's worked for a crappy job some time or another, and learnt that it's not worth sticking it out if you can't see it getting any better!
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Old 20.07.2012, 10:59
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

Can't she simply start looking for another job in the meantime? It doesn't sound like this one will get any better.

p.s.: love the tags
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Old 20.07.2012, 11:19
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

For the record, the practices described above are illegal in Switzerland. The "Obligationsrecht", which includes the labour laws, states that office workers are limited to 45 hours per week. If an overworked employee has an accident (e.g. falls asleep at the wheel on the way to/from work) and the SUVA discovers that massive overtime is symptomatic in the company, they can deny coverage and force the company to pay any damages.
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Old 20.07.2012, 11:26
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

Can you mention the name of the company? I think I know people there!
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Old 20.07.2012, 12:54
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

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Can you mention the name of the company? I think I know people there!
Sadly it sounds like a whole bunch of companies.


To the OP, your family member should really start looking for a new job and in the meantime go back to your HR and continue to tell the same thing. She should also start saying "No" at the office/to her boss to new requests, that these things simply can't get done because of the lack of resources. Then she should start leaving the office at 6pm.
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Old 20.07.2012, 13:37
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

According to this book, any working week consistently above 60 hours leads to lower productivity, as the worker ends up spending more time fixing things broken due to being totally knackered all the time.

First, she must document every abuse. While it is one person's word against another, if you've documented your word, it carries weight. (Been there, done it, got the compensation).

If she feels up to it, she should immediately start a work to rule.
If she doesn't feel up to it - go see a doctor and get signed off for stress. The symptoms are (among others): difficulty in making normal every-day decisions; anxiety at the thought of going into work; disrupted sleep; disrupted appetite.

What is totally vital is she must get it into her head that the workplace she is in is a toxic environment. She should treat it as though the place was filled with radioactive waste, with a safe exposure of no more than 45 hours per week. Maybe less if there's abuse as well. If your work environment really was filled with noxious material, would you worry about keeping your job? No, of course not. Well, the same applies when it's the psychological environment.

Putting it bluntly, she is no good to her family if she's dead through stress and overwork.
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:13
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

Thank you for your useful advice. Will update you soon.
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:15
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

Thank you for your quick response and good advice. Will update the team soon.
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:16
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

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Can't she simply start looking for another job in the meantime? It doesn't sound like this one will get any better.

p.s.: love the tags
Thank you. Yes she is trying even that, but has very very little time.
Today I heard she was even threathened by some employers at the company. ...
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:17
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

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For the record, the practices described above are illegal in Switzerland. The "Obligationsrecht", which includes the labour laws, states that office workers are limited to 45 hours per week. If an overworked employee has an accident (e.g. falls asleep at the wheel on the way to/from work) and the SUVA discovers that massive overtime is symptomatic in the company, they can deny coverage and force the company to pay any damages.
Excellent point. Everyone should be very carefull then. She asked, how can she then go to "stress-leave"? Thank you for your help.
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:18
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

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Can you mention the name of the company? I think I know people there!
Hi Angela, I will ask but she may not want to reveal it, at least until she is there. Let's see. I hope you had better luck. Thank you,
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:21
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

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Sadly it sounds like a whole bunch of companies.


To the OP, your family member should really start looking for a new job and in the meantime go back to your HR and continue to tell the same thing. She should also start saying "No" at the office/to her boss to new requests, that these things simply can't get done because of the lack of resources. Then she should start leaving the office at 6pm.
Thank you, this is very valuable. Actually, the past few weeks she has given list of observations, risks, proposals to the company and even expressed in writing that their team "cannot take more activities". She also summarized to management, that before her arrival her team had been requesting for more resource for more than 12 months.
Today, the story developped: she got threatened orally: "your career is at risk if you can not meet commercial needs" .... but the cause is all before she joined ... so sad. Thank you...
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:24
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

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According to this book, any working week consistently above 60 hours leads to lower productivity, as the worker ends up spending more time fixing things broken due to being totally knackered all the time.

First, she must document every abuse. While it is one person's word against another, if you've documented your word, it carries weight. (Been there, done it, got the compensation).

If she feels up to it, she should immediately start a work to rule.
If she doesn't feel up to it - go see a doctor and get signed off for stress. The symptoms are (among others): difficulty in making normal every-day decisions; anxiety at the thought of going into work; disrupted sleep; disrupted appetite.

What is totally vital is she must get it into her head that the workplace she is in is a toxic environment. She should treat it as though the place was filled with radioactive waste, with a safe exposure of no more than 45 hours per week. Maybe less if there's abuse as well. If your work environment really was filled with noxious material, would you worry about keeping your job? No, of course not. Well, the same applies when it's the psychological environment.

Putting it bluntly, she is no good to her family if she's dead through stress and overwork.
Veryily ture! The problem, after she suffered for weeks and months, she does not notice any more the increasing stress. I am afraid it will result in a breakdown of some fashion. Thank you for your advice.
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Old 20.07.2012, 21:46
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Re: Arrogant emloyer with low resources more than 60 hrs week career and family risk

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She asked, how can she then go to "stress-leave"? Thank you for your help.
I would suggest she writes down the working environment she is in, and the symptoms she is suffering and goes to see her general doctor. From what you have said, I would imagine a doctor would either sign her off sick at 100%, or possibly at a lower percentage, for example 50%. However that second option might not be helpful as her employer might pressure her to work longer.

However, before she does this, I would suggest that she checks that she will still be paid if she does this. If she has only been employed since April 2012, she is still in her first year of employment and is therefore only entitled to 3 week's sick pay. However, it is important that she knows that the end of her sick pay entitlement does not equal the end of her contract.

If her employer has a loss of earnings insurance (assurance perte de gain), she may well be covered for longer absences due to sickness. But there are different kinds of insurance so she might want to check that sick leave due to stress is covered.

If your family member does go down this route, a useful little book to read is 'Troubles Psychiques et Travail Salariť (the third book on this page). Although most of it is aimed at people with long-term psychiatric difficulties, it does have some information that I think would be useful for your family member. It has a section on what happens when you are signed off work with a psychiatric difficulty (I believe stress counts as such), including more information about sick pay. It also has information about protection against abusive sacking. It gives advice about what your rights are if you become ill as a result of your working environment and are then threatened with being sacked, and also about what you as an employee should do if you feel your working environment is making you ill.

I hope that she manages to find her way through this situation.
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