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Businesses IT Idle

Bank's Severance Deal Requires IT Workers To Be Available For Two Years (computerworld.com) 602

dcblogs points out this story at Computerworld about a severance agreement that requires laid-off IT employees to be available to help out for two years. The article reads in part: "SunTrust Banks in Atlanta is laying off about 100 IT workers as it moves work offshore. But this layoff is unusual for what it is asking of the soon-to-be displaced workers: The bank's severance agreement requires terminated employees to remain available for two years to provide help if needed, including in-person assistance, and to do so without compensation. Many of the affected IT employees, who are now training their replacements, have years of experience and provide the highest levels of technical support. The proof of their ability may be in the severance requirement, which gives the bank a way to tap their expertise long after their departure. The bank's severance includes a 'continuing cooperation' clause for a period of two years, where the employee agrees to 'make myself reasonably available' to SunTrust 'regarding matters in which I have been involved in the course of my employment with SunTrust and/or about which I have knowledge as a result of my employment at SunTrust.'"
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Bank's Severance Deal Requires IT Workers To Be Available For Two Years

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  • by dudpixel ( 1429789 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:09PM (#50762927)

    "I'm sorry, it seems I've forgotten how to fix that. Good luck"

    • by linuxgurugamer ( 917289 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:15PM (#50762977) Homepage
      I've had a traumatic brain injury, I've lost my entire memory for the time I was working there
    • by Fotis Georgatos ( 3006465 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:20PM (#50763001)

      Yes, THIS.

      "Sorry, my memory has failed me. What are you going to do? will you fire me? ;-)"

      That clause is so ridiculous, that this kind of response would make even the judge chuckle with content!

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:35PM (#50763071) Journal
        Aside from just being an unbelievably gigantic dick move; this arrangement seems rather foolish on the bank's part: I suspect that they are correct in thinking that they have enough leverage to get the contract signed; but they can't seriously imagine that (even if the terms hold up in court) they'll be able to compel competent, motivated, actual-best-effort assistance under terms that are such an overt screwjob. And for something like software engineering or complex IT projects, do you really want people with good reasons to hate you and absolutely no incentive to do more than bare minimum touching anything? You've already axed them, so they have no incentive to do anything more than whatever is required to avoid legal action.

        You'd think that it would be much more sensible(even if some asshole bean-counter thinks that it looks like leaving money on the table) to not fuck them over; so that they might actually be willing to do some contracting for you in good faith and with actual effort.
        • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:40PM (#50763085)

          >and to do so without compensation

          Would seem unenforceable.

          I've been asked to sign "unconscionable" severance papers before, including ones that forbid me from revealing the existence of such agreements - obviously, I didn't sign - and there were no negative consequences for me.

          If nothing of value is offered in return, it's not a contract. Goodwill of my former employer who has stopped employing me with minimal notice and no promise of future return doesn't count as "of value."

          • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:53PM (#50763131)

            >and to do so without compensation

            Would seem unenforceable.

            Indeed. Compelling someone to work for less than minimum wage is illegal. For instance, unpaid internships are generally illegal in America.

            If nothing of value is offered in return, it's not a contract.

            I believe the thing of value is the severance check. When my company last did a layoff, the terminatees were give one month of pay for each year of employment ... unless they refused to sign the severance agreement, in which case they got zilch. Everyone signed, but it was a very standard agreement, with no weird clauses ... basically an agreement not to steal anything and an agreement not to sue.

          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            If nothing of value is offered in return, it's not a contract.

            If nothing of value is being offered to you, and you've already been informed you are being severed, then you should just refuse to sign.

            A severance agreement is supposed to involve compensation. If there's no compensation, benefit, or protection being provided to you, then it makes no sense to sign, just because they'd like to see it signed.

            • It doesn't really matter. If there's no consideration offered by the company, they can sign it 10 times in blood and with their children's names too. It's still unenforceable. It might be funny to see them try.
            • by tburkhol ( 121842 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @06:35AM (#50764293)

              A severance agreement is supposed to involve compensation.

              And that's exactly the way this one works. These deals are something like "Your job has been made redundant, effective today. We can offer a one month contract to train a foreign worker in a newly created job with very similar responsibilities to your old job and a further three months salary equivalent if you agree to make yourself available for consultation over the next two years."

              Don't agree to train your replacement, and you're out of a job today, instead of next month. Find that you've forgotten all your old skills when they call you a year later, and they can ask for that 3 month severance back.

              This is where a union would be useful. If the company offers that deal to 100 individuals, it's in each person's best interest to take the deal. If one or two uppity fools decline, it doesn't impact operations. If everyone declines the "deal," then the company is fucked. A union is the way to escape the Prisoner's Dilemma that is salary negotiation.

          • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:11AM (#50763625)

            If nothing of value is offered in return, it's not a contract.

            I've tried to tell people this many, many times here on Slashdot. You might be surprised at how many people said I was nuts.

            Don't forget, also, that a contract is supposed to be negotiable by both parties... otherwise it's pretty much impossible to call it an "agreement". A take-it-or-leave-it "contract" offered by a corporation is often considered a "Contract of Adhesion", over which judges traditionally give greater weight to the signer's position.

          • I have to assume that they're getting some lump sum payment as part of the severance package, and getting that payment is contingent on agreeing to offer support later without *further* compensation.

            Otherwise, you'd be an idiot to agree to it-- enforceable or not-- and who wants idiots providing operational support down the road?

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )
            It does seem unenforcible but it's still an excuse to harass you by lawyer until you do what they say or serve as an example to others. It's the sort of thing that attracts fines to companies that try such things in other countries. In this case there is likely to be zero consequences for the pricks that are trying to impose this.
        • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:46PM (#50763377) Journal

          Am I the only one thinking this would be a great chance for some epic trolling? Show up in some nasty t-shirt that says something like "pussy hunter" smelling like beer and do a "super" job, if you define "super" as "halfassed and wrong".

          Hey they said be available, i couldn't predict that they would call when I had been on a bender and was having issues, could I? ;-)

          • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

            I can imagine the number of possible alternatives that people can show up as. Fully armed stating "where I go my gun goes" and so on. Even better if you have clothes that smell of cattle and horses exposure for at least a month. As long as it's not explicitly stated in the contract anything goes as long as it's legal.

            Or you can get a 900-number "this call costs $50 per minute" and only provide support via phone.

        • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @08:01AM (#50764531)

          Well, see, they had to bring in all those H1-B workers because they couldn't find qualified Americans!

          Sorry. There's no "Irony" mod.

          • by cob666 ( 656740 )
            This is also the first thing that popped into my head when I read the story. H1-B workers are only supposed to be brought in if there are no American workers that are capable of doing the job available. If that's so then why are you letting the current workers go but keeping them on retainer? Surely they are capable of doing the job if you are keeping them on retainer, thus the H1-B workers is in violation of the intent of the H1-B program.

            This looks like an incredible opportunity to take legal action a
      • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:53PM (#50763133)

        "Sorry, my memory has failed me. What are you going to do? will you fire me? ;-)"

        No, they're going to sue you for damages for negligence, using the contract to keep the legal process going long enough to force you into bankruptcy.

    • Here's the solution to your problem, just run this simple command and everything will be fixed:

      sudo rm -rf /

    • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:10PM (#50763237) Homepage

      Not only is this "just deserts", but it's also quite probable. Institutional and architectural information tends to fade quickly, at least for myself. 6 months into a new job and I will only have passing knowledge on the systems. 1 year out and I'm back to almost square one with a weird sense of deja-foo ( on purpose ).

      So fuck them. Take the money, develop amnesia and when they come calling, create chaos under the guise of "being helpful".

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      And don't forget, backups run faster when directed to /dev/null

    • by shione ( 666388 )

      Common law already has an eminently sensible solution to this problem - You can’t enforce specific performance on a labour contract. If the IT workers performance is poor, the bank needs to find a new IT worker. End of story.

    • by pslytely psycho ( 1699190 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @04:50AM (#50764079) Journal
      Oh, yes, I remember now, we need the CEO to urinate on the servers to cool them, yes, I'm certain that will fix the problem....
  • Sure.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:10PM (#50762939)

    Okay, sure, I have to cooperate and provide help completely free of charge. But that doesn't mean I have to provide competent help, or that I will actually remember everything.

  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:11PM (#50762943)
    seems to be a lot of missing information here. I would assume part of the severance package is some sort of final payment, otherwise no sane individual would agree to such terms. depending on what that final package was this could be a completely insane illegal request for free labour or it could be a quite reasonable request that they were compensated for up front in case it eventuates.
    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:52PM (#50763127)

      I too find it slightly odd the article doesn't even mention what the severance package benefits are. This is almost certainly compensation for what's likely at least several months of pay after termination. Unless I badly misunderstand the legal issues involved, I'm pretty sure there's absolutely no obligation to accept the agreement if they're willing to decline the severance package.

      When I was laid off, I signed an "I won't sue you" agreement for a couple of month's pay. I was being laid off for legitimate financial reasons (i.e. too many expenses, not enough revenue), and the company was honest with us and tried to be up front about everything. I certainly wasn't planning to sue them, so I didn't mind signing.

      Don't misunderstand, I'm not defending the bank here, especially since they're laying off these folks and outsourcing the work, but I think some people may be misunderstanding how these severance deals work - there's often some conditions as a part of the package. I've just never heard of conditions like these before.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:21PM (#50763269)

      Employers aren't required to give you anything when they let you go, other than your final paycheck for whatever time you've worked but they haven't yet paid. However sometimes they will give you a "severance" which is additional pay. It can range anything for a meager token to a pretty hefty chunk of change. Generally better employers will offer one. Also employers will sometimes use them as a way to get people to leave voluntarily to avoid forced layoffs.

      Usually, they don't come with strings attached. This one is extremely irregular. Either the severance package is really good so they expect people will take it despite the shit condition, they figure their employees are really desperate for money and will take it anyhow, or they are really out of touch.

      Personally in a situation like that I'd be really tempted to do as other have suggested and take it, but then act like a completely forgetful idiot whenever I'm called in and generally be completely useless. Realistically I'd probably strike the availability cause in the contract and sign it. If they countersigned, great I get money with no strings, if they refuse I'd walk without the extra money because I don't need those conditions over my head.

      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        I my area 30 days or severance is required.

      • by bitingduck ( 810730 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @12:03AM (#50763453) Homepage

        Employers aren't required to give you anything when they let you go, other than your final paycheck for whatever time you've worked but they haven't yet paid.

        It depends. If they've got 100 or more employees and they're laying off 50 or more in one geographical area it's likely considered a mass layoff and they're required to publish a 60 day notice under the WARN act [dol.gov]. Usually the way companies get around it if they want to give no notice is pay everybody for the 60 days that they would have still had a job. They could say in the severance "we're paying you to keep working for us for 60 days, but we don't want you to come in unless we call you" and that might not be considered unconscionable. But paying you for 60 days and expecting you to be on call for 2 years? That probably won't fly anywhere.

    • by atticus9 ( 1801640 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:26PM (#50763289)
      Per an earlier agreement by SunTrust the severance package was a lump sum $100,000, I'd probably sign it

      http://www.sec.gov/Archives/ed... [sec.gov]
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @12:27AM (#50763509)

        Wow, thanks for finding that.

        It looks like SunTrust says "in 2 years we will pay you $100k if you do do the following" from which it looks like:

          I agree, beginning on September 1, 2009 and continuing for a period of twenty-four (24) months immediately thereafter, to provide assistance and to make myself reasonably available to SunTrust and its employees, attorneys and/or accountants with respect to investigations, audits, litigation or potential litigation regarding matters in which I have been involved in the course of my employment with SunTrust or any subsidiary and/or about which I have knowledge as a result of my employment with SunTrust.

        so just legal stuff. But really I've never heard of that for non-execs. Maybe the ones they signed (this was from 6 years ago) was different.

      • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:48AM (#50763701) Journal

        Per an earlier agreement by SunTrust the severance package was a lump sum $100,000, I'd probably sign it

        I don't think that the linked agreement would be applicable to the IT guys. Did you see the job title? "Vice Chairman".

        Actually, I would be very surprised if a "Vice Chairman" would accept $100k for a 2 year non-compete and non-solicitation agreement.

    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:31PM (#50763309)
      I did provide help to a former employer. The employer had experienced prolonged financial distress. I survived numerous rounds of layoffs but #5 or so got me -- I liked the project I was working on, liked my coworkers, was located next door to the university I was attending grad school at and they were paying for it.

      Most people found out they were getting layed off that day but received two months severance pay. I actually was told my layoff went into effect in a month so I could finish up some specialized tasks I was working on alone, same two months severance.

      I was asked if it would be OK to call if they had any questions. I said yes, and asked if I could keep a copy of my more specialized source code for reference and of course I would respect the company's intellectual property. The VP of engineering said sure and gave me a signed letter authorizing my retention of a personal copy. The VP was an actual engineer, he knew and trusted me.

      I had a few short phone calls with former co-workers where I answered some questions in the first six months of my departure.

      About a year after my departure I was asked if I would like to return. I did not, I had a new job that I liked.

      If there is a decent severance payout or if there is a reasonable chance for re-hire I would suggest offering some help. Even if not if you think the former boss or coworker might make a good future reference, or you might work together again somewhere else -- networking works, don't dismiss it -- you may want to offer some help too.
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:11PM (#50762951) Journal

    They should have done the honest moral profit center of packaging risky loans and betting against their customers on wall street. Good for nothing cost centers

  • by Curlsman ( 1041022 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:13PM (#50762963)

    Time lawyer up.

    • and if it's one thing I know about folks who've been laid off, they have no trouble affording lawyers. They're certainly not vulnerable after 20 years of outsourcing.
  • After all they can be sued for getting another job to feed their families as they can't work for free or severance pay for 2 years right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:14PM (#50762969)

    Unless the severance included two years full pay ....

    "I'm sorry, I can't get time off my current job" - which isn't 'unreasonable'.

  • Take this job and shove it! I ain't working here no more!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPrSVkTRb24 [youtube.com]

  • one word (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:15PM (#50762975)

    unenforceable.

    Just like the clauses that say you cant go work for a competitor.

    Not sure about the US but in Australia those clauses cant really be enforced. Still companies include them because the rely on people simply believing that they must comply.

    • Re:one word (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:27PM (#50763039)

      They're mostly legal in the US. A few states have cracked down on some of them, and California in particular has cracked down on most of them. But the vast majority of the time, these kinds of bullshit tactics are perfectly legal in the US.

      Of course, there's nothing like a little subterfuge and counter-marketing to make it clear that it's a bad idea from a business perspective. Running ads in every SunTrust market stating that their infrastructure is likely to fall into disarray and become less secure and that you should move your business (and your money) elsewhere would work wonders against this sort of bullshit. The main site for SunTrust Bank is suntrust.com. As I write this, both suntrustbanks.com and suntrustbank.com are wide open. A smear page on a legit-looking domain that explained how they shipped all of their critical electronic operations to BFE could destroy that company at this point.

      Just sayin'. *wink* *nudge*

      To piss off 100+ tech workers and demand this sort of severance ultimatum and leave possible alternate domains open for a smear campaign might as well be called "attempted corporate suicide".

  • Not news? (Score:3, Informative)

    by postmortem ( 906676 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:17PM (#50762981) Journal

    Seems that they have been doing this for 6 years at least. Looks like a "standard template"... see section 8.
    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/ed... [sec.gov]

    • Re:Not news? (Score:5, Informative)

      by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:56PM (#50763151)

      So here's the clause in question:

      8. Continuing Cooperation. I understand and agree that, in my role at SunTrust, I have been responsible for and involved in numerous matters and projects of a significant and/or confidential nature and that, in some instances, I possess knowledge regarding those and other matters that is unique to me and of value to SunTrust or any subsidiary, and that SunTrust or any subsidiary may have need of my continuing assistance in the future with respect to investigations, audits, litigation or potential litigation related to these matters. I understand that SunTrust’s willingness to provide me with the Consideration is expressly conditioned upon the promises made and obligations assumed by me in this Paragraph 8. I further understand and agree that my fulfillment of these promises and obligations hereafter is a condition precedent to SunTrust’s obligation to provide me with the Consideration set forth herein. I agree, beginning on September 1, 2009 and continuing for a period of twenty-four (24) months immediately thereafter, to provide assistance and to make myself reasonably available to SunTrust and its employees, attorneys and/or accountants with respect to investigations, audits, litigation or potential litigation regarding matters in which I have been involved in the course of my employment with SunTrust or any subsidiary and/or about which I have knowledge as a result of my employment with SunTrust. It is understood and agreed that such assistance, to the extent possible, will be requested at such times and in such a manner so as to not unreasonably interfere with any subsequent employment. Such assistance may consist of, without limitation, telephone or in-person meetings with SunTrust employees, attorneys and/or accountants, or the provision of truthful testimony by way of deposition, hearing, trial or affidavit. SunTrust will be responsible for any reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by me in connection with such assistance. I understand that I will not be entitled to any additional consideration or compensation of any kind from SunTrust in exchange for such assistance.

      My gut says that for 95-99% of ex-employees this never matters and for the majority of the remainder it's either a couple emails a few months later asking about where they stored some project no one else remembers.

      That being said "reasonable" is a bit of a fuzzy term, yeah a couple emails asking if I remembered where I put that old script is reasonable, but what about a 5 minute email every week for six months? Or coming in for 4 hours to answer questions for an internal audit? I suspect different people will have very different expectations of what reasonable is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Khyber ( 864651 )

        " I agree, beginning on September 1, 2009 and continuing for a period of twenty-four (24) months immediately thereafter, to provide assistance and to make myself reasonably available to SunTrust and its employees, attorneys and/or accountants with respect to investigations, audits, litigation or potential litigation regarding matters in which I have been involved in the course of my employment with SunTrust or any subsidiary and/or about which I have knowledge as a result of my employment with SunTrust."

        It'

  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:19PM (#50762991) Homepage Journal

    Quite some time ago, I led an IRC channel called #badadvice. As you can probably gather from the name, the purpose of the channel was to give plausible-sounding but hilariously and catastrophically bad advice to submitted questions. The more the responders knew about the subject, the better they were at dispensing bad advice. We did this for free, but our raison d'être was right there in the name of the channel. Anyone taking our "advice" seriously was a moron.

    Guess what? That's the quality of service the bank should be expecting from its former employees. If they have to do it for free, many lulz are going to be had.

  • by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:22PM (#50763017)

    I'd tell them to go fuck themselves. Unless the severance package amounts to 2 years salary then you are basically working for free. Oh and by the way...we want you to train the offshore people. No thanks.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:34PM (#50763067)
      and inflation you'd be very, very lucky if you had the savings to say no. Also, at least here in Arizona businesses have a million ways to weasel out of unemployment, and Georgia isn't exactly well know as a bastion of workers rights. There really isn't a safety net out there, and unless you're very, very lucky you won't be knitting one yourself...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If the terms are unreasonable, walk away.

    • If the terms are unreasonable, walk away.

      Before you walk away, get a lawyer to look at it and advise you. The unreasonable terms may be unenforceable. They may just be an attempt to intimidate you into doing something you don't need to do.

  • That is unbelievably ballsy. I'd want a fantastic severance package to even consider an offer as insulting as "2 years of unpaid on-call for your cheaper replacements".

    Maybe, if the severance package happened to be generous enough to roughly approximate 2 years of being on retainer plus some consulting time; I'd be willing to charitably describe it as 'poorly worded'; but anything less is just bullshit.

    I sincerely hope that SunTrust Banks enjoys a...truly service-oriented...response any time they atte
  • To some extent, doesn't this sound somewhat similiar to the story about Disney replacing longtime IT staff with H-1B workers?

    A story like this, even with only "100" workers, generates heaps and heaps of bad publicity for SunTrust.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:27PM (#50763037)

    I'd sign it, and every time they'd call for help I'd say "Oh yeah, we ran into that before, I don't remember exactly how we resolved that problem in the past, but you can try 'sudo rm -rf /' and see if that fixes it". I'm pretty sure they'd only call once.

    • I'd sign it, and every time they'd call for help I'd say "Oh yeah, we ran into that before, I don't remember exactly how we resolved that problem in the past, but you can try 'sudo rm -rf /' and see if that fixes it". I'm pretty sure they'd only call once.

      Um ... no. Just no.

      Don't be an unprofessional jerk, even if your former employer is one. Karma, etc.

      • Re:I'd do it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:41PM (#50763351)

        I am amused at this mythical "professionalism" you invoke. An employer can treat you like shit and you're supposed to forever be their slave? You are to be a doormat for the one percent, sacrificing your life and happiness for theirs?

        Let's instead contemplate concepts like "righteous vengefulness", "malicious compliance", "taking down the oppressor", etc.

        Um..yes. Just YES

        • Re:I'd do it (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:49PM (#50763391) Journal

          Well, go ahead and see how that works out for you. My guess: you'll be behind bars, while the rest of us will knock the dust off our sandals and go on to the next job.

          Professionalism begins with a sense of self-respect and value of the work we provide for others. I for one won't sully that with sabotage, no matter how impertinent a former employer behaves.

          • by QuasiEvil ( 74356 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @12:19AM (#50763491)

            There's a line between intentional sabotage - aka telling them to delete the working filesystem - and induced incompetence.

            I worked for a small company many years ago (as in about 20 years ago, during college). First there were pay cuts, then paychecks started to be late, and eventually creditors started showing up... So basically I knew I was screwed, but I figured if I quit, there was no chance at unemployment. Let's just say anything done in that last month wasn't exactly quick or robust. The firmware written in those last days pretty much skipped any error checking, met only the barest of requirements, had total crap for comments, etc. Plus, half the time I was sitting there, the programmer/debugger was hooked to one of my projects rather than theirs. As long as there was code on the screen and I was cursing at some board, nobody still there could tell if I was working on their stuff or mine.

            Showed up one day to a locked door and the place cleaned out. My old boss - the owner - called me one day when he tried to sell the technology to another company. Couldn't make it work for the demo and wanted my help. Since I hadn't seen more than 25% of my pay in the last three months, I offered to help for some additional compensation up front. Went in, screwed around for two or three hours, and then declared that something must have gotten fried or jostled when they hastily packed up the place and fled in the night. Basically, unfixable, sorry, and if you want me to repair the hardware it's going to cost a lot more.

            The real answer is that if you want code to run, you should probably burn it onto the EEPROMs before putting them in the product. But hey, with little financial incentives, there's virtually no end to the problems I can't solve.

  • Get ready for it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:33PM (#50763059)

    1: Suntrust is deeply, deeply underwater. Texas Ratio of 17+. That means if they went under right now, their creditors, including depositors, would get 5 cents on the dollar. This is a company deeply affected by the subprime mortgage racket, literally they paid a billion bucks to the justice department to settle foreclosing on people's homes they didn't own or have titles to. It is a company that needs to fail and it's current and previous management needs to be imprisoned.
    http://www.bankregdata.com/allAQmet.asp?met=TXR
    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/06/17/suntrust-settles-with-justice-dept-over-mortgages-talks-continue-for-citigroup-and-bank-of-america/?_r=0

    2: This is not just a desperation move, it's almost certainly a move made by an Indian manager, coming from India, where there are no worker protections, and this kind of deal is going to result in a huge class-action lawsuit after a few months or so of "on-call" support. If you are reading this and from sun-trust, call lawyers, get contacts lists NOW, and strategize to get as much money as humanly possible from these scum. Make sure to discuss pressing whatever criminal charges you can as well, make sure to muck up the case where they are assuredly mucking up black-letter FSLA laws. Make sure the world knows if you're an IT manager from Sun-trust that you cannot manage a department competently.

    3: Now that I know you are off-shoring IT and are badly underwater, I also know you are probably off-shoring accounting. The problem here for the bank is when the new serfs start stealing things; there's no downside since the Indians don't go to jail since they're remote, and they have all the motive in the world. If you have stock get it out NOW!
    .

  • Kiss my large brown ass.
    If the 'severance package' includes a single check equaling 2 years full pay, payable on the day of my exit, then we'll talk. Otherwise? KMLBA.
  • If my bank ever did this, they would lose a customer and most of their other customers

    Fortunately, I never have to worry about that, because they know how the PR disaster would end.

  • You agree to be available. What if I don't agree to the severance deal? They won't fire me?

    There has to be some consideration involved in any agreement. An exchange of something. If the terms are good enough, sign. If not, just walk out. Two weeks notice.

    From TFA:

    "contract requires them to be on call for two years and they agree to not be paid for any time used to assist the company."

    Really? When did they negotiate that? And why didn't the workers just walk out then?

  • "... at whatever my hourly consulting rate happens to be at the time".
  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @10:45PM (#50763103)

    I'm a SunTrust customer...in fact, myself and my significant other both are. We've got a few accounts there. Well...that is, we have them until a day or two from now, when we will be closing them and taking our money to another bank. (I just spoke about this with her...I told her the terms of the severance package, her chin dropped...literally, I'm not exaggerating...and she's in.) All of you who are on board, able to do something like this to these galactic pigfuckers, and who pledge to do the same...do chime in?

    Who's with me? :)

    • by LVSlushdat ( 854194 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:13PM (#50763243)

      Do yourself a favor and skip going to *another* bank... They're ALL pig-fuckers... Credit unions are the way to go.. The wife and I have had our accounts in one credit union or another for the past 30 years. I'd had mine in one prior to us hooking up in 1985, and she'd had her account in one also, so when we got hitched, we moved them to one credit union. I have ONE exception, where I have a self-managed IRA with USAA Bank, but they're one of the VERY few good banks...

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      I can't boycott them any more than I already am. I joined up with a credit union a decade and a half ago. Prior to that I was eligible for two separate class action lawsuits against national banks for their inventive and apparently illegal ways of fucking their customers. There has been surprisingly little fucking from the credit union. None, in fact. You'd think over the course of a decade and a half, there would be some fucking. Not even a bit of surprise anal at year 10. More like surprise no-anal.

      Anyw

  • by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:06PM (#50763219)
    I live in Norway where one of the largest banks moved their IT operations out of the country to TCS (think Tata) and I immediately changed banks.

    I have some little problems with outsourcing banking... especially to India.

    Laws in different countries are different and enforced differently than they are in your own country. If you've ever visited India and spent any time there, you would know that one dishonest person in the flock can grab a bunch of money and run like hell and never be found. India is huge, has language/communications issues between villages and an enterprising criminal would never be caught.

    India is also the country which brings us "Windows Care" and other similar companies which are call centers to scam people. They call your house (sometimes up to 5 times a day) and make threats and intentionally misrepresent themselves as Microsoft. After tracking their IP addresses to a registered company (it has changed again) and calling their local police department to report racketeering and international wire fraud charges, I was informed that :
      1) Gartner (when paid by Symantec) reported that 90% of all computers are infected by a virus
      2) As such, if you're willing to pay the $300 and give them access to your computer to install anti-virus, it's perfectly reasonable to assume there's a 90% chance they're performing a good service for you.
      3) It is not illegal in India to claim you're someone you're not unless it infringes the cast system.
      4) Thank you for calling... please don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave.

    Would your nations money in the hands of a company located in a country which provides you no recourse against criminal activities taken against you so long as they can provide some convoluted logic as to how they're helping you?
  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:48PM (#50763385) Homepage Journal

    A client signed a contract for services with my employer, and included a clause that I would be available even if I left their employment, binding me to be available to provide information, specifically passwords, but also any information I 'developed, maintained' blahblahblah related to the design and administration of their systems,

    And they let the contract end at the end of the first term, moving to another provider. I answered a lot of questions during and after the handover. No problem, ethical and professional behavior I would have engaged in even without a specific contractual obligation, if the former client made the request.

    Then more than a year later, and after I had left that employer and moved to another state, I was contacted by the current provider. They were frantic to recover an administrator password for a server, change the technical and administrative contacts for the client's domain, and locate backup tapes for the system from a year before, did I happen to have any?

    Well, sadly;

    0. The current servers were all Windows Server 2003, upgrades from Server 2000. I left the system with NetWare 5.1 servers. I never knew the Windows Administrator passwords.

    1. The backups they were looking for were, sadly, Windows Server backups. I didn't 'happen to have any'.

    2. Very soon (days) after this call, I was contacted by an attorney explaining that they would sue me for the information. I explained as best I could what I had, and assured him that I would countersue for expenses, and that I had no useful information for them.

    3. I started getting more calls from this former client begging me to relinquish the domain. I directed them to the current records, where my name and contact no longer appeared. I was powerless. They contacted my former employer, now out of business, and he thankfully dismissed them.

    4. Finally I got a really official-looking letter from the attorney threatening me with all manner of unpleasantness.I am bless to have a dear friend who is an accomplished attorney, retired, and he gave it a cursory look and assured me that it was pure bluster. He even encouraged me to respond with some key phrases that would give that attorney the right way to tell their client to let up.

    5. And I found that the former client somehow managed to file a professional lien against my name. I'm not a licensed professional, engineer, or bound by any fiduciary duty other than ethics and a contract that was long lapsed and had actually been fulfilled. This took three years to remove, and ultimately resulted in censure for the attorney involved, little bits of bad press for the client and their current provider, and a lot of questions from my friends, family, employer, and reporters thinking there was a story there. I tried to keep it quiet. My former employer still doesn't know, and I wouldn't bother him.

    In hindsight, I should have responded to the initial requests with all the info I had, and then, if approached, refused and threatened action if they persisted in asking me questions I could not answer.

    If I were in the OP's position, I would sign. It's not like they could take my severance, and goodwill is either worthless or priceless. Even if they started calling me at all hours, I can fake a disconnect and ignore their calls until the next morning.

    But 2 years is a long time. 6 months is reasonable, perhaps.

    Ultimately, we often have to work for real jerks. A paycheck overrules pride when you have responsibilities..

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When someone even threatens with a lawyer, the correct answer is "I apologize. As this is now a legal matter I am unable to provide assistance except through my attorney. If you would kindly provide a mailing address, I'll be certain he gets in touch with you." And that's that. Most will just give up. These people wouldn't have, but then you'd have selected a decent attorney and nailed their incompetent asses to the wall. :)

      Once someone throws the hardball, quit being nice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2015 @11:55PM (#50763429)

    These kinds of agreements ought not to be necessary. I've been in IT for so long I was there when you soldered together your own microcomputer... video games didn't exist yet.

    I took pride in every system I worked in or supported. If I left a company on good terms, I'd answer any question at any time day or night if they needed me to.

    Hell, I got calls from a company I hadn't worked at for 15 years, 3AM - moron in the computer room claimed my name was still on the list as the Level III to fix the printer bridge... No one else was available. It was in a Hospital - I knew that if that printer didn't work, patients didn't get their meds.

    So I dug out my old ID badge, got dressed and drove over. The guard let me in, told me to get a new badge in the AM, and I rebooted the damn thing (still the same system - just running on a VM in a newer box now).

    I called my old boss the next day (he's the CIO now) - told him what happened, and to take me out for dinner... I got a nice steak and a great conversation out of it. Consulting deals too. And WE updated the list in the computer room :-)

    If I left on less than great terms, then screw 'em. I don't remember unless there's Benjamin's per hour for me to remember.

    Compensate me well, I'll treat you well. Treat me like shit, send my job overseas, and expect me to train my replacement? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.... ummmm, no.

  • by dheltzel ( 558802 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @04:37AM (#50764055)
    I don't see a problem with this -- as long as each employee gets a severance package worth $200,000. I'd view it as a retainer worth about 2 years of salary.

    If the severance is not enough to act as a retainer for my services, then (as others mentioned) I would conveniently forget my old job if ever asked for help. I would suggest (off the record) that a substantial payment at that time could jog my memory, but without further compensation I just can't be bothered to try.

    I did sign a 3 month retainer agreement when (voluntarily) leaving a job. It turned out to be a good deal for both parties. They needed me exactly once -- but wow, did they ever need me then, LOL. Of course, if you are leaving voluntarily, you are in a much stronger position to negotiate, since you have a waiting position and are not facing unemployment and needing a reference.
  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @06:55AM (#50764349)

    Such an agreement can include a significant lump sum of cash _precisely_ to provide compensation for being available, which helps make it an enforceable contract. That can especially include password information, critical technical contacts, passing along DNS management authority, or fleshing out documentation that seemed complete at the time of departure but was missing critical steps.

    I've certainly seen such agreements, usually accompanied by a severance package of several months of pay, when the law required only that they receive vacation pay, and they're certainly not new. I even signed such an agreement a very long time ago during layoffs, since I'd trained the youngster who took over my core role and optimized myself right out of a job, and the severance package was generous enough to cover what I normally would have charged consulting fees for later. I did get a few calls later, especially when someone accidentally deleted my documentation and I pointed them ot the backups.

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