Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Boss changed contract offer, acquired my password

13 posts in this topic

Posted

Hello!

I have some trouble at work and I really appreciate your opinion.

I started working as a research assistant at my university as I graduated from my Master's. My supervisor came to me and asked me if I am willing to get full time employed at the Institute and write a paper on it.

So I agreed and I have rearranged everything like renting a new apartment based on the promised salary and that I am going to be working full time.

I went to sign my work contract and I was shocked to have to work 20 hours instead of 40. At that time my supervisor was on a holiday and I have been told by the secretary that I will get 40 hours when I renew the contract after 1.5 months and that is a restriction of my student visa (which is true) and once I get a working permit then I get the 40 hours. That sounded logical to me. After my supervisor came, we had the first meeting and she said that she will only offer me 20 hours even for later and she didn't know that I would get that much paid and she said: "You even think that you can get paid as much as I do? I did a mistake and I just didn't know. " Then she said, anyways it's a good experience for me and I can even work for more than 20 hours because I would be able to finish the paper and get it published. She has also added that she has a budget and she wants to hire other assistants and that the project manager is using the money for other projects (this is absolutely a lie) !

I felt so betrayed, I thought of writing the project manager but the problem is that he doesn't really work anymore at the Institute (which means that she has no boss at the moment) and I have only met him twice before so in case she knew about it then she can make things worse.

But this didn't stop here! She put a deadline of the work that I have to do. She wants me to deal with German Literature and I can't trust my German on a scientific level (she comes from a latin American country). I objected but she said that this is the scientific field and I have to promise to finish the work even in German.

Then one day she came to me and told me that I am taking too much time to finish my job. She said that even if I get paid for 20 hours I should work for 40 otherwise she doesn't need me and she can do the job by herself. She has even said thaat I should work on holidays and weekends to finish the work and if I don't like it then that's how things work in Germany!

But what made things worse is that when I came in yesterday, I saw my laptop next to her desk (i have my own office) and my password is written on a paper sticking on the laptop!! She can easily log in into my outlook and personal!. She said that I have to sit next to her in her office from now on and she would drop my previous work because she doesn't trust it! I have also asked her about the password and she said that she has the right to access my work and my personal email!!!

I have started looking for other options already but I feel that I am being humiliated over here. I don't know how long would it take me to find something else and I really don't know how to deal with such a character.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Things have certainly gone pear-shaped.

How did she get your password?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Is there a workers' council?

Is there an HR department?

Is there anything in writing regarding the job offer?

Contact the workers' council/HR department, show them the documentation, provide a transcript of the conversations as far as you recall them.

And first and foremost: Change your password.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Please have all legal advice you receive here verified by a legal professional.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I went to sign my work contract and I was shocked to have to work 20 hours instead of 40. At that time my supervisor was on a holiday and I have been told by the secretary that I will get 40 hours when I renew the contract after 1.5 months and that is a restriction of my student visa (which is true) and once I get a working permit then I get the 40 hours. That sounded logical to me. After my supervisor came, we had the first meeting and she said that she will only offer me 20 hours even for later

So you currently have a contract for 20 hours for 1.5 months. It will then be up for renewal. If you're not happy with the conditions of the new contract, all you need to do is simply not sign it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

She has also added that she has a budget and she wants to hire other assistants and that the project manager is using the money for other projects (this is absolutely a lie) !

Funny you should say this (well, not really funny for you, but an interesting coincidence) But I was listening to a report on NDR-Info radio just a couple of days ago that was complaining about exactly this practice, that assistants were being hired on a 20 hr basis and being expected to do more than 20 hrs and the people doing the hiring were hoping to get more than 40 hrs work out of one combined salary. Sucks, if you ask me, but it appear to be increasingly standard in the academic world.

But what made things worse is that when I came in yesterday, I saw my laptop next to her desk (i have my own office) and my password is written on a paper sticking on the laptop!! She can easily log in into my outlook and personal!.

This is a grey area. is it *your* laptop, in which case she shouldn't be anywhere near it, or is it the Universities laptop loaned to you for work? If its the latter, then all your data are belong to them, but its still not acceptable (IMHO) for her to behave like that. You shouldn't have any private data on that machine - buy an external drive or USB stick (and change your password)

I have started looking for other options already but I feel that I am being humiliated over here. I don't know how long would it take me to find something else and I really don't know how to deal with such a character.

I cant make any better suggestion than to say: Moving is probably your best bet. It looks like this woman is determined to make your life difficult and it probably isn't going to get better.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

My partner works in the scientific academic world in Munich.

The only thing I can say that I know a lot of people working on 20 hour contracts but expected to do 40 hours (of course more).

No one complaints because it seems to be "standard". Furthermore I am sure there will be a good number of "replacements" that will be up for this.

I strongly disagree with this approach - a complete lack of respect which will only motivate people to leave academic research.

Before moving here I would never imagine that mighty Germany would be like that :) They have money for "state-of-art" equipment and buildings but are extremely cheap on personnel.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Not defending a dodgy boss, but 50% positions are very common in Germany, while 100% position are exceptions. As a PhD student you can expect to get 50%-75% position anywhere. But of course I would look for such a position elsewhere.

This is because you are supposed to work only 4 hours/day, then you have a right to use your office to work at your dissertation (or go home). But from your description it looks like your boss wants you to work 8 hours/day for 50% salary.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Yeah, no-one doing a PhD gets paid 100% for 40 hours. Whether you get paid 100% for 20 hours or 50% for 40 hours doesn't make a great deal of difference at the end of the day.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks everyone for your replies!

Just to make a point here, I am not a PhD student, I am just a research assistant so that makes a difference I guess!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Unfortunately it does not... half positions are also plenty for post-docs and research assistants.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Unfortunately a 50% position here at the E13 scale is equivalent to what many researchers would get at "100%" in other countries, USA included, for the same amount of work. Research isn't valued, progress (unless it's an app) is stalling, and we're all just whistling past the apocalypse.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi Dramadramaqueen,

The fact that the boss is a bitch is your least problem at the moment. You used to be a student, and your visa is a "student visa". Now, your studies are over, you aren't a student anymore. This has implications on the validity of your "student visa", and has also implications concerning your health insurance.

I am just a research assistant

No, you aren't. They gave you a job as "studentische Hilfskraft", because your current visa status does not allow you to be "wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter".

This "promised" job was supposed to be your first job after your studies, right?

Well, then you better let loose, because they bullshitted you and this place is not the right place. Move on, and you better get your visa status straight before hell breaks loose!

Cheers

Franklan

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

@franklan

I am not so sure. I had written to the Ausländerbehörde when I was still studying, asking if the 120 work day limit on the student visa applied to such student jobs. I remember she had responded (and I believe it also says so in section 16 of the Aufenthaltsgesetz) that studentische Nebentätigkeiten at the university can be pursued unrestricted. Again, this might not be true in this case, since the OP is no longer a student. But maybe he/she still holds the same resident permit and has still not exmatrikuliert from the university and therefore, technically still a student. All this is of course, not to be taken as any legal advice.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0