Yes, employers can change the rules for at-will employees - Albuquerque Journal

Yes, employers can change the rules for at-will employees

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.”

Dear J.T. & Dale: My company just announced that they have changed their policy. They announced at the end of last year that they would allow us to work remotely if we wanted to but might adjust positions. Then I heard they could lower pay, but still, I didn’t feel like going back into the office. Now it came out that they’re planning to change that ruling and are going to demand a hybrid work schedule where everyone comes in three days a week. Can they just change the rules like that? What can I do to fight this? — Kip

J.T.: Absolutely nothing. As an at-will employee, they can fire you at any time. They can also change the rules of your employment. If you don’t like it, you can go elsewhere.

DALE: Although that sounds harsh, I can’t disagree. The good news is that your management is clearly willing to alter their policies, and I think they will soon be changing them again. First, they might discover that they’re going to lose key employees — maybe you? — and back off. But, more likely, there are almost certain to be more waves of COVID-19 to come, and the company may need to jump back to remote work.

J.T.: Meanwhile, though, I can tell you that I expect to hear a lot more of companies demanding that people come back to the office on a hybrid schedule. Why? While they understand that people feel they are productive at home, way too many executives and managers are feeling that the lack of in-person collaboration is hurting their businesses. And honestly, while you say that you love working from home, I think you should seriously consider going back part-time. There is something to be said about being with other people, and I actually wonder if the total isolation of all-remote working is going to affect people long term. So why not give it a try? Then, if you still really hate it, you can always look for a fully remote job. I would caution you that such jobs are going to become more and more difficult to find. So keep your options open by making the best of your current job and also keeping your mind open.

Best Of The Month:

J.T.: It’s been a while since we offered up our look at career resources. That’s because the dramatic shifts in the workplace have created such a stream of urgent issues that we didn’t want to pass up any opportunity to answer questions.

DALE: However, there’s an annual survey called the Job Seeker Nation Report that we’ve been eager to dig into, and let’s get a start today. We’ll add in other results in coming weeks.

J.T.: The survey is from the folks at Employ, parent company to Jobvite and others, with help from the research firm Zogby. One of the things that caught my eye and confirmed what I’d been seeing in the workplace: 30% of new employees left their new employer in the first 90 days. Asked why, the respondents had various disappointments, the main one (at 41% of those who’d left) that the “day-to-day role was not as expected.”

DALE: Here we have this burgeoning job market, with more open jobs than people to fill them, and at the same time, we have this massive rate of new job failure. Why? Most of the blame probably falls on employers for having failed to set appropriate expectations, perhaps being desperate to fill jobs. But the new-hires get in on the blame, too. So, let’s review the questions an applicant needs to ask, including, why is the job open? What’s the team’s turnover like? What kind of people do best in the job? Who doesn’t do well?

J.T.: And try to meet some team members, even if it’s social media, to figure out the real work and culture.

DALE: Do not worry about asking too many questions — if a hiring manager isn’t eager to answer such questions and you take the offer anyway, you’ll soon be asking yourself one big question: Why did I take this job?

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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