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How to understand that your employer is cheating on you and protect yourself
How to understand that your employer is cheating on you and protect yourself

The most common employer gimmicks range from unpaid internships to illegal firing.

How to understand that your employer is cheating on you and protect yourself
How to understand that your employer is cheating on you and protect yourself

How to recognize an unscrupulous employer

The research service of the portal conducted a survey of about 9 thousand users. He showed that when looking for a job, 65% of job seekers at least once faced fraud from their employers. Most often, this concerned the size of wages, job responsibilities, working conditions and official registration. In 2019, the Rostrud inspectorate received more than 400 thousand such complaints from affected citizens. We will tell you how to recognize fraudulent employers and avoid falling victim to them.

For employment

1. To start working, you need to invest

There are two scenarios when scammers demand money from you before taking office. In the first case, you are asked to buy overalls, pay for training or paperwork. Fraudsters can also demand a deposit for the right to access the "secret" documents of the company or its customer bases. After receiving the money, such employers will disappear, and not only will you not get a job, but you will also waste time and money. Conscientious employers themselves provide employees with everything they need, and protect trade secrets by concluding a special agreement with the applicant.

In the second case, you are offered to invest in a business and become a “partner”. For example, buying and reselling company products, organizing your own "team". This is network marketing, and there is over 70% chance of you making nothing or losing money. Financial pyramids are often disguised as network marketing. Since 2016, their activities in Russia have become illegal.

2. Responsibilities in the job description do not coincide with those that were announced at the interview

You come to get a job as a manager. The employer says that every Wednesday and Friday you will need to wash the floors in the office, and once a week stay overnight instead of the caretaker. There are a lot of managers in the company, but there is no cleaner or security guard.

According to, more than half of the deceived applicants complain about the discrepancy between their real responsibilities and those prescribed in the vacancies. So unscrupulous employers not only lure people into less prestigious positions, but also save on their earnings. After all, no one should pay for duties that are not recorded in the documents. You have the right to refuse to fulfill them or demand an additional bet.

3. No one in the company really explains what you will be doing

You have found a vacancy with good conditions, but it contains only general formal requirements: experience in sales, leadership skills, knowledge of PC. At the interview, they also cannot explain to you exactly what you will sell or who will lead.

This is a serious reason to refuse further negotiations. Under the guise of an ordinary position, scammers can recruit people to work in illegal businesses: financial pyramids, casinos or brothels.

4. At the interview, you must fill out a detailed questionnaire

During the interview, all applicants are asked to fill out a "small" questionnaire on six A4 sheets. In addition to professional achievements and work experience, it is asked to indicate information about the next of kin: the level of their income, contact information.

Do not fill out such forms! Such "employers" do not need workers. They set up interviews to collect information and sell it to spammers. Also, personal data can be used to steal your funds or for banking fraud. Be careful not to find yourself one day among the debtors of the microfinance organization.

The questionnaires are also used in honest companies, but the questions there are usually standard: age, gender, registration, education, previous jobs. Items that are not related to employment, such as information about loved ones, should not be there.

5. You are asked to complete a difficult unpaid test assignment

You pored over a test assignment for three days and three nights, but your candidacy did not fit the employer. You spent time and earned nothing, and after a few days you saw the result of your work on some website.

Test job trickery is common when looking for a remote job. A copywriter is asked to write an article, a designer is asked to create a website prototype, a programmer is asked to fix the code. Then the work is sold on the freelance exchange or even insolently used in their own needs.

In order not to donate your work to scammers, carefully study the task and the company that gives it. Google the site, read the reviews and conclude whether it is worth trusting this employer.

6. The company uses an intermediary system unknown to you for remuneration

The employer tells you that for settlements with the staff, an intermediary service is used, from which you can withdraw money to the card. It’s bad if it turns out to be a system with difficult cashing conditions and a wild commission that lives in a “gray zone”. It is even worse if, through a fake service, scammers get hold of your bank card details.

Also, an employer who maintains non-transparent bookkeeping may face court - and you will be with him. You will have to refund all unpaid taxes and add another 20%. And if you knew that you were getting a black salary (and you could not have known), then the penalty will be 40%.

7. You are offered to work without a salary, promising bright prospects

At the interview, you are promised an above average salary and career growth - but only then. In the meantime, you need to grit your teeth and work for free and without registration. In a month or two, they say goodbye to you, without paying anything.

Regardless of the prospects you are given, rely only on the documents. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that you will be paid. But even documents cannot guarantee career growth.

The same goes for unpaid internships. The training or probationary period, their duration, the amount of remuneration and working conditions must be spelled out in the employment contract or in a separate agreement. Not registering an employee officially until he has passed the probationary period is a direct violation of the Labor Code.

8. They do not conclude an employment contract with you

You were offered a job, told about your responsibilities, promised a decent salary. They are silent only about the conclusion of an agreement. We have written more than once about why getting a “blind” salary is bad. Once again, in a nutshell, what this means for you:

  • You can be fired at any time.
  • Payments, including salary, are not guaranteed to you.
  • It will be difficult for you to hold your employer accountable.
  • You will not have paid leave and sick leave.
  • You can be fined for not paying taxes.
  • You will not have a pension.
  • You will not be approved for a mortgage.

9. The amount of bonuses is much higher than the salary, and the conditions for receiving them are unclear

You have been offered a job, the payment for which consists of a salary and bonuses. Everything seems to suit you, but when the time comes to receive money, you may be transferred three times less than promised. It turns out that the salary prescribed in the contract is only a third of the promised salary - the rest is set aside for bonuses and bonuses. But the criteria for obtaining them are not clearly spelled out in the contract, and it is not known when you will reach the desired level of income.

The employment contract must clearly indicate the amount of salary and bonuses, as well as the conditions for their receipt. Rewarding employees is not an obligation, but a right of the employer.

In progress

1. The company uses an opaque system of fines and compensations

You got a job in an office. We were late for the meeting a couple of times, sometimes they came without a jacket. When you received the payment, you were surprised to find that part of your salary was written off as penalties for being late and not following the dress code.

When signing the contract, be careful - the amount of fines may even exceed the salary level. This is especially important when financial responsibility for documents or property is assigned to you. All information about this must be contained either in the employment contract or in a separate agreement.

2. The position in the work book differs from the one held

You were taken to a managerial position, but since it was not in the staffing table, they were offered to register as an ordinary employee. You were promised a lot, and you agreed. Later it turned out that there was no position - there was no promised salary either. You get paid the same as everyone else, and the job is harder. The missing boss adds bonuses with a scratch.

The salary is calculated according to the position held. In addition, the discrepancy between the real position and the one recorded in the labor one will come back to haunt you the next time you are employed. After all, according to the documents, you were not the leader.

3. Recycling is not paid

You got a job at a company for four working hours a day. Job responsibilities included weekly reporting and meeting attendance. And already in the process it became clear that there is simply no time to prepare 50-page reports at the agreed time, and meetings are held at the end of the working day and last for 2-3 hours. And all this is not paid in any way.

Neither IT specialists nor school teachers are protected from overwork. How to treat them is a subjective question. But if recycling happens constantly in the company, it is better if the manager warns about them immediately and is ready to pay for it.

Upon dismissal

1. You are persuaded to leave of your own free will, threatening to fire you under the article

You didn't get along with your boss and decided to quit. He invited you to leave of your own free will, and you want by agreement of the parties. Indeed, in this case, the employer will be obliged to pay you severance pay. But the boss does not agree and threatens to fire him under the article if he does not accept his terms.

Do not give in to provocation. Dismissal under the article is possible only in the presence of disciplinary sanctions, embezzlement, embezzlement or non-compliance with official duties. If you have no violations of labor discipline, then you have nothing to fear. It is difficult to prove that you did not fulfill your job responsibilities. They can be spelled out either in an employment contract or in a special job description. However, according to the Labor Code, the employer has the right to voluntarily introduce the employee's obligations into the contract or approve job descriptions - and many employers neglect this opportunity.

2. You are not paid severance pay

You decided to quit and applied in the middle of the month. The employer signed it, you were paid for the previous month, but they don't want to pay for the current one. The HR department tells you it's because you left of your own free will, and not by agreement of the parties or redundancy.

However, this is a violation. The reasons for paying severance pay are many and may vary. However, any employee, regardless of the reason for dismissal, has the right to receive the remainder of his salary for days worked and compensation for unused vacation. These payments are due to you when you voluntarily leave.

The company is obliged to pay you additional money:

  • with staff reduction;
  • upon liquidation of an enterprise;
  • when it is necessary to change the position, but your health condition does not allow it;
  • when an organization moves and you cannot follow;
  • if you are drafted into the army;
  • if you reinstated the person you replaced in the position;
  • if you have been declared disabled for health reasons;
  • if the organization has changed the terms of the employment contract and you do not agree with them.

The amount of payments is the amount of average earnings for a period from two weeks to a month. In addition to your monthly severance pay, if you are downsized or liquidated, you also have the right to receive compensation while you are looking for a job. It is also equal to the average earnings and is paid up to two months after dismissal.

3. They want to fire you illegally

You went on vacation, and on your return received a notice of dismissal at the initiative of the employer. This is a violation of the Labor Code.

There are several situations in which dismissal is illegal. A person who is on vacation, on a weekend or sick leave cannot be deprived of the position. Also, the law prohibits the dismissal of:

  • pregnant women and mothers with children under three years old;
  • parents single-handedly raising a child up to 14 years old (disabled - up to 18 years old);
  • the sole breadwinners of a family with a disabled child or three children, one of whom is less than three years old.

Exceptions are dismissal for violation of labor discipline, reduction or liquidation of the organization. A pregnant woman can only be laid off or fired due to the closure of the enterprise.

How to avoid being cheated

Most of the troubles with unscrupulous employers can be avoided even at the stage of job search. It is enough to adhere to simple tips.

1. Ignore jobs with inadequate salaries

A job description can tell a lot about an employer. For example, you are offered the position of an assistant with a salary of 200,000 rubles, while no knowledge or experience is required from you, and the manager is ready to accept you even tomorrow. Think about it, does this happen in real life? The higher the salary, the more a normal employer will put forward requirements for the applicant, and the selection will be tougher and longer. Admission to prestigious positions usually takes place in several stages.

Potentially unscrupulous employer
Potentially unscrupulous employer

Salary "without a ceiling" is also a reason to be on your guard. In the best case, it will consist of a meager salary and bonuses, which you still try to get. At worst, you will find yourself in a pyramid scheme.

2. Learn as much as possible about the company

The more information you gather about the place where you intend to work, the better.

  • Find the company's website. See if the information on it matches what is written in the vacancy. If there is a section "Vacancies", go there. Look at the dates in the site's footer to see if the employer is updating or abandoning it. This is one way to make sure that the company really exists.
  • Check out specialized job sites. If you are looking for a job on a special resource, ask if the company is represented there. See if she has a personal page on the service, what is written there. Not all employers bother adding such information. But it's still a good way to understand if the company really needs staff.
  • Look for testimonials from former employees. It is difficult to understand the real state of affairs by them, because reviews are often written by dissatisfied ones, but it's still worth taking a look. Pay attention to specific claims and how often they sound. “I don't like the director” is not a specific claim, but a subjective opinion. But if several people write at once that the company periodically delays wages, this is most likely a fact.

3. Ask questions and analyze the answers

Feel free to ask questions. This is especially important if you are told that the project is young and there is no publicly available information about it. If the employer is decent, he will answer directly and to the point. But there is no one hundred percent guarantee: scammers can also hang noodles on your ears with an imperturbable look.

  • When communicating by phone, ask for more information about the company and the vacant position. If you do not want to reveal at least a few details and are offered to discuss everything in person, this is a bad sign. Most likely, these are scammers.
  • Compare the stated requirements and responsibilities with those stated in the ad. There should be no discrepancies.
  • Be sure to find out what exactly you will be doing. If you sell, then how, what and where. If you work with staff, then with what, in what room.
  • Ask how the employer is going to shape your relationship. Lack of registration or a request to postpone it is a good reason to refuse the offer. The contract is a guarantee for both you and the employer.

4. Leave if asked for money

You have come to make money, not spend it. The employer must provide the conditions for your work. The cost of education and training is also his concern.

5. Do not divulge personal information

Do not share your personal data with anyone before signing an employment contract if you are not sure about the honesty of the employer. This is especially true for bank card details, phone numbers, e-mail addresses. Yes, even email scammers can use to hack social networks, steal data and money, send spam and viruses. Moreover, do not indicate in the questionnaires information that does not relate to employment: contacts of relatives, income level - yours and your loved ones. This data can be used by fraudsters for spam mailings or financial fraud.

6. Read the contract carefully

Everything that you have agreed with the employer must be reflected in the employment contract. These are working and rest conditions, salary, position, duties and area of responsibility.

Pay attention to how your earnings will be calculated, how much of your salary and how much of your bonuses. The contract must state what the company is rewarding the employee for.

Find out if workers are being fined and for what. These sanctions must also be documented. If the work involves financial responsibility, demand the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the accountable property and the relevant documentation.

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