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Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: GGD
Date: February 22, 2009 11:14PM
What would you do if the company that just terminated your job asked you to pay back part of the severance check? I don't think they're in a very strong bargaining position.

[www.dailytech.com]
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: ajakeski
Date: February 22, 2009 11:43PM
Error made with MS software?




I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell? -Homer.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: February 23, 2009 12:05AM
That is the sign of a well run company.



Ways to improve web conference image and sound quality. [forums.macresource.com]


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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 23, 2009 12:24AM
what are they going to do, fire you?
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: GGD
Date: February 23, 2009 12:27AM
Quote
Racer X
what are they going to do, fire you?

I'd tell them to just deduct it from my next paycheck.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: slbett
Date: February 23, 2009 12:28AM
I have to wonder how many layoffs were made from Vancouver campus they built to get around the H-1B visa limit or said another way "to get cheaper employees".
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 23, 2009 12:40AM
they are pretty close to getting rid of the H-1B visa loophole, or making them really proving that no one in the us is available to fill the position
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: February 23, 2009 03:04AM
“We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you.”

I think an extra "we" should have been inserted as it looks like they are asking the unlucky laid-off employee to apologise.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: rgG
Date: February 23, 2009 06:05AM
Quote
voodoopenguin
“We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you.”

I think an extra "we" should have been inserted as it looks like they are asking the unlucky laid-off employee to apologise.

No, I think they want you to enclose a nice note of apology along with your remittance. grinning smiley





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: Michael
Date: February 23, 2009 06:47AM
This is why I don't do direct deposit.

Those laid-off MS employees who have direct desposit might find that MS just might make it easier for them and take back the extra on their own!
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: February 23, 2009 06:56AM
The wife says that if they gave you a check and a letter to sign agreeing to all the layoff terms then that's it. Show over. M$ loses because it was their contract and the employee agreed to M$'s terms of release. Tee hee he, snicker, snicker....

I say take it out of the pay of the Moran who decided to get rid of the Macs and go all PC.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 23, 2009 07:04AM
The wife says that if they gave you a check and a letter to sign agreeing to all the layoff terms then that's it.

I'm curious as to what those terms are, exactly.

If the pay out is greater that terms stated, then the employees might be required by law to pay back the money, similar to a bank accidentally depositing too much money in your account.

It may be Microsoft, but right is right. Being a fly on the wall in their HR office might be interesting.


On a rather humorous side note, a poll accompanying the TechCrunch article suggests that almost 75% of the 8,000 total voters would ignore the letter and keep the cash – and only 13% would immediately give the money back.

Imagine my surprise. If that had been Stevie instead of MS, I wonder how much that would change the attitude here.






I am that Masked Man.

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Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

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We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 23, 2009 07:43AM
If they could give me back some of the time I worked there then sure- I would do it.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: February 23, 2009 07:47AM
Quote
RAMd®d
The wife says that if they gave you a check and a letter to sign agreeing to all the layoff terms then that's it.

I'm curious as to what those terms are, exactly.

If the pay out is greater that terms stated, then the employees might be required by law to pay back the money, similar to a bank accidentally depositing too much money in your account.

It may be Microsoft, but right is right. Being a fly on the wall in their HR office might be interesting.


On a rather humorous side note, a poll accompanying the TechCrunch article suggests that almost 75% of the 8,000 total voters would ignore the letter and keep the cash – and only 13% would immediately give the money back.

Imagine my surprise. If that had been Stevie instead of MS, I wonder how much that would change the attitude here.

Let me clarify. If the terms in the letter agree with the amount of the check then M$ is out of gas. You're right that if the check is higher than the terms state, M$ will still have some agita trying to get it back but it might be legally theirs. In that case it would clearly show it was an error and the poor jobless person may be required to reimburse the giant evil cash rich corporation from the meager stipend the State will offer for the next 26 weeks. Or they may just settle for 6 pigs if you have them.

The wife detailed a story that happened at her place (a major publishing house) where they let someone go and the Payroll dept kept sending that person weekly pay checks for 2 months. The company couldn't recover because of the fact that they terminated/laid off and it was their error. I'm no lawyer but I think public sentiment will play a part here too.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 23, 2009 08:50AM
If the terms in the letter agree with the amount of the check then M$ is out of gas.

True enough. That's the corollary.


M$ will still have some agita trying to get it back but it might be legally theirs. In that case it would clearly show it was an error and the poor jobless person may be required to reimburse the giant evil cash rich corporation from the meager stipend the State will offer for the next 26 weeks.

Again, right is right (which leaves another corollary). Corporations are under fire for lack of accountability, but they *should* give away money that the recipient may not be entitled to? And I say may not because state law would cover that and I don't know what applies.

You don't get to have it both ways. Taking from the rich is not an entitlement.


I'm no lawyer but I think public sentiment will play a part here too.

BS. The law either applies or it does not. Of course were this to go to a jury, stupid people could set aside the law. And a judge could set aside a stupid verdict.

I'm betting if the "evil cash rich corporation" was Apple, there would be a whole different spin on entitlement.

MS might choose to let it go. If they do, great. If they don't, pay The Man.

I will be interested to see of the "entitlees" have law on their side.






I am that Masked Man.

All you can do, is all you can do.

There’s trouble — it's time to play the sound of my people.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: slbett
Date: February 23, 2009 09:01AM
Yes Racer, that may be true, but moving to Canada also eliminated the United States's H-1B limits all together.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: February 23, 2009 09:10AM
With my luck, I would have been one of those who was shorted on their severance pay. Maybe MS could make up a list of all former employees who received too much money, make up a second list of all former employees who received too little, provide contact information, and let the former employees do the exchange among themselves. If you got too much, you could just give it to someone who got too little. Doesn't that sound fair? smiling smiley
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 23, 2009 09:32AM
. . .no backsies. . .



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: February 23, 2009 09:51AM
Quote
RAMd®d
Taking from the rich is not an entitlement.

Perhaps not according to the law. But the law is not always the only or final arbiter in these matters - and public opinion can make a difference.

The truth is, M$ (or Apple, were the positions switched) can more than afford this error. It can afford to allow its error to benefit those who are being deprived jobs without so much as blinking, and it would be good press to do so. Why? Because to pursue the newly jobless to reclaim unintended bonus severance money seems mean-spirited, petty, and low. And you know what? It is.

Morality isn't just about following the law, or even about honoring a contract to the letter, no matter what. We left that conception of justice and right in the Old Testament. Good for M$ for screwing up, good for the laid-off employees for getting extra cash, and good for all of us to see how it plays out. I suspect M$ will back off.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: Mike Sellers
Date: February 23, 2009 10:37AM
Quote
Jack D.
The wife detailed a story that happened at her place (a major publishing house) where they let someone go and the Payroll dept kept sending that person weekly pay checks for 2 months.



Did they get to keep their stapler?
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 23, 2009 11:54AM
We left that conception of justice and right in the Old Testament.

Only some of us did.

And now some of rely on the concept of rationalization to "justify" entitlements.


The truth is...

...that taking money that you are not entitled to is wrong in many jurisdictions, regardless of whether or not the source can afford it. It's no surprise, secret, or revelation that MS or Apple can "afford this error".

Some people here and elsewhere would similarly feel that if they got too much money in change from a retailer, that they're entitled to keep it. After all, "they" can better afford it than "we". It's all about the entitlements.

The truth is-- in many jurisdictions, this is no different than a bank putting too much money in your account. It's sometimes referred to as an unjust windfall. In this case in may be just a breeze, but no less potentially unjust.

There may in fact be something legally binding that requires MS to honor the payments. In that case, good for the "down trodden". There may be some public outcry because MS wants to recover their money (again, assuming there is a legal right to do so). MS may let the matter go, but I seriously doubt it will be because of public pressure.

And I seriously doubt public pressure would have any influence in the court system in a matter such as this.

I too am curious to see how this ends.






I am that Masked Man.

All you can do, is all you can do.

There’s trouble — it's time to play the sound of my people.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: GGD
Date: February 23, 2009 12:33PM
Quote
RAMd®d
And I seriously doubt public pressure would have any influence in the court system in a matter such as this.

I too am curious to see how this ends.

One thing that's not clear is the number of cases and the typical dollar amounts in each case. Wouldn't Microsoft need to go to court separately for each individual? Taking that approach might cost more than they're trying to recover. Maybe small claims court would be a possibility.

I think a lot will depend on how the whole transaction took place, and there's not much detail. Did they screw up in computing how much to offer for severance and decide that they offered too much after the fact, or did they offer a certain dollar amount but then accidentally paid more than the actual offer.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: February 23, 2009 01:29PM
Quote
RAMd®d
It's all about the entitlements.

The conflation of "entitlement"-seeking with the position of those who favor the former employees here is unfair. You're implying that the people who think M$ should concede here are operating from a frame of "getting over on the system." But your choice to frame it that way ignores an incredibly important fact: in this circumstance (lay-offs), the company has all the power, and the former employees have none of it, including the power to challenge their dismissal. To many of us, this smacks of fundamental unfairness. So for M$ to get burned by their own incompetence strikes some of us as more than a clerical boo-boo, or a chance to "cheat the system" and grab an unearned entitlement. It is, through accident or providence, a small example of poetic justice.

Quote
RAMd®d
MS may let the matter go, but I seriously doubt it will be because of public pressure.

And I seriously doubt public pressure would have any influence in the court system in a matter such as this.

Actually i wouldn't be surprised to see M$ let it go because of public opinion (not the same as public pressure). It's not good in the current environment to look like a heartless corporate machine, and M$ already has a pretty bad rep. Like you i doubt that the public would affect the courts on this - which is good - but judges in our system often have considerable room to exercise judgment in cases that aren't cut-and-dried. A kind-hearted arbiter might find that M$'s obligation to mind its Ps and Qs outweighs the laid-off employees' obligation to return an excess severance payment. I, for one, would cheer for such a ruling.

It's possible to believe that the rule of law is valuable without believing that strict, black-and-white interpretation of statutes and regulations is the only way to achieve justice.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 23, 2009 05:11PM
You're implying that the people who think M$ should concede here are operating from a frame of "getting over on the system."

It's one thing to say "it would be nice if evil MS were to forget the whole matter". It's another to say that MS *should* forget the whole matter because they are evil and are just getting a karmic @#$%&. That *is* a rationalization and *is* about somebody getting over on the system, assuming the former employees aren't legally entitled to keep the potential over-payments.

You can call it David beating Goliath, but if the recipients are not legally in possession of the over-payments and choose to keep them, then it's still about perceived entitlements.


It's possible to believe that the rule of law is valuable without believing that strict, black-and-white interpretation of statutes and regulations is the only way to achieve justice.

And in those cases that *aren't* black and white, such latitude is a good thing. It seems to me that this is not one of those cases. A jurist should make decisions based on law, not emotion. If there is no existing law to cover a situation, then precedence may be set.

I don't know that anybody was unfairly laid off, though certainly it happens. If a judge or other arbiter has a legal basis which to deny MS their funds, so be it.

As GGD points out, it might be financially ineffective for MS to pursue legal avenues, if applicable. That would be their choice. They *might* take public opinion or pressure into account but I don't see that happening. They, like any number of other businesses have had to RIF people. It's not as though they are responsible for the housing collapse. Selling an arguably bad OS is not quite the same as putting people in homes they can't afford and skipping off without any responsibility, to let owners fall beneath the dominoes of flagging economy.

Once all the details and circumstances are known, I think it will be a fairly cut and dry legal matter. If MS has no legal standing, or if they decline to take any action, that's fine by me.

Not that MS would care.






I am that Masked Man.

All you can do, is all you can do.

There’s trouble — it's time to play the sound of my people.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 23, 2009 06:51PM
Quote
RAMd®d
a karmic @#$%&

Zoinks - gotta figure that would leave a mark!



It is what it is.
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Re: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: February 23, 2009 07:30PM
RAMd®d,

At the risk of of kicking this thread to the other side, do you think the Supreme Court ruled appropriately in the Lily Ledbetter case?



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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