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Atlassian fired me while I was taking care of my wife who is fighting cancer (shitlassian.com)
1426 points by mparnisari 34 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 733 comments



I worked at a company that had unlimted PTO when suddenly one day they revoked the policy because they said some people were abusing it. The new policy was still very generous (6 weeks PTO per year) so no one complained. Fast forward a year later and we were hearing things from executives and managers like, "you know you don't have to use all you're PTO, right?". I'd ask, oh, it will rollover to next year? The reply: "No, it won't. But that's really the wrong way to think about it."

So it turns out people were taking much more time off now than when PTO was unlimited. They started denying request and making up trivial rules, like 2/3 of your team must be available at any time (regardless of the team size), oh, and those rules weren't in the official policy. Good luck trying to get specifics in writing.

Eventually they changed back to an unlimited policy but secretly told managers they should start denying requests after x number of days have been used. I think it was five weeks, which again is still generous but it bothers me because the intent is to hide that number in hopes that people will use less. I also get no tracking for how many days I've already taken unless I go through my requests and count the approved ones myself.

The unlimited policy is definitely a scam at many companies. Most of my team has been denied requests for reasons that don't exist in the written policy, like, "you recently had PTO already." Honestly I'd rather have a policy that only allowed 3 or 4 weeks with a minimum mandatory that each employee is required to take at least two weeks off per year.


I worked at a startup where the CEO reverted the unlimited PTO because one asshole engineer took 2 months off paid leave and then came back and quit immediately. We were angry at the engineer, not the CEO, because it was clear what he was doing was taking advantage of the company's generosity.

When I worked at Uber engineering which had unlimited PTO, I took between 6-8 weeks of PTO every year. Most years was at least 6, but one year I took 8. No one batted an eye. I think it all depends on company culture or maybe team culture.

I would never work for a company that denied me a PTO day, even if it was a single day. I would never irresponsibly take PTO but I would also make sure that I took at least 4 weeks off per year no matter what. The secret is taking 1 week off per quarter, and then another 2 weeks off during Christmas. That automatically brings you up to 6 weeks.

But make no mistake, unlimited vacation is a way to keep PTO off the books as a liability. In California you cannot lose PTO that you have accrued. They can stop accrual however once you reach a certain level. Once you max out on accrual, you are giving the company money, which is stupid so it's important to consistently take PTO.


Hang on, I’m in danger of understanding something.

If you get 5 weeks PTO and never take any then leave after 2 years, I assume it gets paid out?

If your contract is for unlimited PTO and you never take any and leave after 2 years, what do you get?

Edit: Thanks. Yikes. Unlimited PTO actually seems worse than a specified allowance from where I sit.


That's exactly why so many companies are enacting "unlimited" policies.

What they do is say "It's unlimited, but if you take more than 4 weeks it has to be approved" or something and then that way they can cap you like they did before but also not pay you out if you leave because wink wink it's "unlimited".


This reminds me of "unlimited" cell phone plans where you can use as much data as you like, but at some point the data gets slower and slower.


Those plans are much better than plans that are strict cap and then no data, which are better than no limits but if you use more than your quota it costs a ton and by the way the usage information is delayed at least 7 days.

I do remember seeing the plans that said unlimited (tiny print slow after 30Gb) and that's misleading... better to put the 30gb in big letters, but I just want like 1 or 2 gb fast... Just switched to a hard capped plan cause it was half the price though and a higher cap and I haven't hit the cap in a long time.


I'm ok with that. I'm still on an old data plan that throttles me after I got the limit for high speed data. But they don't hide that limit or my usage, and it's really cheap.

I don't want to pay for unlimited data, and I don't want to lose data after hitting a cap.


Everyone is ok with being sold something that they understand, most people are not ok with being sold something that screams "UNLIMITED" and then uses fine print to limit your seemingly unlimited plan.

Maybe the plans you're describing could spin the feature as "throttled for your pleasure" or some such. I'm sure there are marketing people that can come up with a positive way to spin it that isn't a borderline falsehood.


If I throttle your car to 5mph, is the distance it travels unlimited?

Bandwidth is the same, if you set a speed limit, you are also setting a distance limit.


Only if you're maxing out all the time. I had a plan with a similar sort of thing, even after using up all my "fast" data I had enough bandwidth for regular browsing and streaming music.


Skype iirc used to have an "unlimited" talk time capped at some ten thousand minutes as fair use.

I am pretty sure even today if you have a phone call on Google voice that goes over two hours or so, your call will drop. I like it better this way because I can call back immediately after being disconnected.


The difference is that they are very reasonably up-front about "first X GB at 4G speeds" where the PTO thing is going to have a shrowd of mysteries and unwritten limits.


Unless a union is involved, firms do not enact policies that make them less money. Unlimited PTO removes a liability.

If there are specific policies that demarcate how an employee uses PTO to the degree specified in this blog post, I would argue that the firm does not have "unlimited PTO" and in fact accrues a vacation balance.

Awaiting the class action in CA.


As just one example, a few years ago our company changed parental leave to 4 months from 6 weeks. Is that making them the same or more money?

I think companies do things like Unlimited PTO because although it may mean some people take more leave than before, other people take the same or less and there's no liability, so it may net out roughly the same but sounds better to new hires.

I don't think every company is extremely cynical as you're suggesting. As others here have mentioned, it depends where you work - we don't bat an eyelid if people are using 4-6 weeks plus holidays, in fact we check to make sure people are actually using their PTO.


Can you name this company? They sound like good people.


Yep as a business owner it's a great way to get out of paying PTO.


Sounds like this is just a lawsuit away from not being a thing anymore.

All the former employee would have to do is to illustrate that the 4 weeks was enshrined in policy somehow, then boom.


Companies would just react by adjusting their HR rules to comply with the court decision. This sort of thing happens all the time.


Some states don't require the payout and companies there will not unless posted like in the employee manual.

Some stats do and that is where this could be ducking worker rights.


Yep as a business owner it's a great way to get out of paying PTO.

These are all just the slow crawl of American businesses towards irrelevance.


I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that your business isn't doing well.


> If you get 5 weeks PTO and never take any then leave after 2 years, I assume it gets paid out?

Even in this case, it depends where you live and sometimes what your contract says. California requires it, but most states don't.


Yep in California PTO and vacation get paid out. They can not do use it or lose it. They can cap how much of PTO and vacation you can have at one time. Sick time does not need to be paid out. The whole scam of unlimited PTO is so they do not have to pay out when you leave. Then can not roll over your PTO or vacation at the end of year but if they do that, they have you pay you out.


Seems pretty cynical. Isn’t this trick easily defeated by taking regular PTO instead of hoarding it?


Yes you never want to hit your cap. At some of my older jobs people would be like oh crap I gotta take two weeks off starting next week. I much rather have defined PTO. My last role and current role are "unlimited PTO" I take about 4-5 weeks off with out issue. But you are taking a risk for sure going to company with "unlimited PTO".


At a company I worked at in St. Louis I was pairing with the owner on the PTO system when we noticed I was at the cap that day... we were using my data as the test. He made me go home right then and there. We implemented the system emailing HR when people were nearing the cap so we could make sure people didn't work too much and lose vacation.


California companies and work culture largely discourages taking PTO, so it tends to accrue.


Really depends on the company and in big companies it depends on your team. My very first job out college had vacation and sick time. You could take your vacation at any time no questions asked. It was really nice but they paid less than everybody else. But the work life balance was much better. You saw a lot of people with families come and work there and take paycut. It was interesting seemed work well for them.


I can give a comparison to Germany. Here at least 25 days PTO a year are mandatory for each full time job. Anything below that is illegal, most companies offer around 30. Sick days don't count into that. Even if you're on a planned 2week vacation and get sick for three of those days, those three days can't be subtracted from your annual PTO days. You have to get a confirmation document from your doctor though, which is of course free. If you don't take your PTO, it will be transferred to the next year, but most companies try to avoid that. You can usually decide if you take those days within the first three months of the next year, or they have to pay you out. You are usually not free to choose when you take your PTO and it's normal to only take one or two weeks around holidays like Easter or Christmas and the rest for individual occasions.


> If your contract is for unlimited PTO and you never take any and leave after 2 years, what do you get?

In all the "unlimited PTO" jobs I've had, nothing.


nothing, that's part of the motivation for companies to offer it.


You get nothing because you've accrued nothing.


Yep, you figured it out. Preset PTO must be paid out (at least by CA laws), "unlimited PTO" pays bupkis if you don't use it. If the workforce routinely under-utilizes the PTO (which is easily achieved both culturally and managerially) the whole scam is pretty clear.


Nothing. That's why they don't have to keep it on their books.


It depends on if your company capped how much you could accrue. However much you accrued should be paid out.

Nothing.


> one asshole engineer took 2 months off paid leave and then came back and quit immediately. We were angry at the engineer, not the CEO, because it was clear what he was doing was taking advantage of the company's generosity.

I don't understand why you're mad at someone for using a benefit he's entitled to?

Unlimited PTO means you should never have to work if you don't want to. Otherwise it's not unlimited.

If there's a limit just state it upfront.


Well, this is kinda like complimentary condiments or whatever. Technically you are allowed to abuse it to the wazoo, but in practice it just means "Take a reasonable amount, we're not stingy". There obviously is an unspoken "we're all grown ups here" type of social contract in these sorts of things. Abusing it is going to come at the cost of the commons, and in the GP's case it did cost them the perk, so being angry at the abuser seems justified.

One of my co-workers a few years ago decided to go to Japan for 3 months, but that didn't fly with my company and it ended up being mostly an unpaid sabbatical (despite the unlimited PTO policy). 3 months later, the guy extended his stay and let us know he wasn't coming back. There were no hard rules anywhere in sight, but the way this played out seems perfectly reasonable to me.


Some people are just missing that part of their development that helps them to intuitively grasp what counts as abuse when there are no clear written rules. You can't just ask them to be reasonable. I worked for a company that ordered free dinner for folks who stayed late. No limit to what you can eat, but if you're feeling a little hungry, grab a slice of pizza! Well, sure enough a few people ruined it for everyone by taking armfuls of pizza home with them, enough to feed 10 people. I'm talking multiple whole pizza pies, boxes and all, straight to their cars. "It was for employees, and there were no written restrictions" was the justification. So, that perk ended.


It's interesting how inconsistent and asymmetric these intuitive limits seem to be. Pushing employees to work extra hours, easily $X000 in time? Perfectly acceptable. Abusive JIRA-powered micromanagement? That's just how it is. But $60 worth of pizza!? How could a reasonable person possible justify that?


I would find not having defined benefits extremely uncomfortable.

Saying that you have unlimited paid leave when that is obviously untrue and leaves the policy open for abuse by both employee and employer. I'm sure the example stating that less leave was taken when it was "unlimited" was because people understood that there were limits but didn't know what the limit was and didn't want to trigger management. Once things are defined, of course people will think that it's ok to take the maximum leave allowed.


Consider that your employment contract doesn’t even specify how much work you will get done. Isn’t that a much more extreme degree of freedom than number of days of PTO? It’s between you and your manager to figure out what your expected amount of output is. Given that, isn’t PTO just one of many factors in that ongoing negotiation?


> Some people are just missing that part of their development that helps them to intuitively grasp what counts as abuse when there are no clear written rules.

I think the guy who quit after two months' leave knew perfectly well it was abuse; he just didn't care. Or maybe he felt slighted by the company in some way (unfair resolution of a conflict, promotion denied, underpaid, whatever) and this was his way of getting even with them.


How can it be abuse? If 2 months leave is part of package then surely it's up to them how they use it. You wouldn't criticize them for using all the money they get paid would you?


The problem isn’t taking two months off. It’s taking a large chunk of time off, then immediately quitting.

That means the team was down an engineer for basically an entire quarter, without notice. That wrecks schedules and causes headaches for your coworkers who now have to figure out how to make up for the lost time or figure out what work to cut from the schedule.


So it is an HR problem. They need to extend the cancelation periods in contracts..


No, HR doesn’t schedule work or features. It’s practically impossible to pad timelines for the case where an engineer decides to effectively pad their two weeks notice by an additional six weeks except for large companies like Google.


> Some people are just missing that part of their development that helps them to intuitively grasp what counts as abuse when there are no clear written rules.

2 months is clearly abuse, but I'm worried my CEO or HR will have a far less generous definition of abuse. I'm already reading a thread about 4-6 week vacations where I get at most 2 weeks.


> There obviously is an unspoken "we're all grown ups here" type of social contract in these sorts of things.

It's absolutely not grown-up behavior to remove terms from an explicit business contract (employment agreement) and move them to an implicit, unwritten "I know it when I see it" social contract.

Obviously there's some actual limit that your platonic grownup has in mind, between 2 weeks and 40 weeks of PTO per year. Just write it down.


Yes, xkcd had a great comic on the toxic attitude of abusing the ambiguity of a gentlemen's agreement:

https://xkcd.com/1499/


It's not, because people won't easily benefit from taking unlimited condiments, while they would easily benefit from real unlimited holidays.

Holidays should come with some limits, eg. no more than X weeks per year, like it was in the past.

I get it, the government made a stupid rule (forcing PTO accrual in the contract between employer and employee) and companies were creative enough to find a solution to bypass that rule and made it sound attractive on a job ad. In an ideal world we would just have an explicit upfront amount and no government interference.


In a world without "government interference" you wouldn't have leave, you'd work every day of the week, and you'd work 12+ hours a day.

Being paid out leave, and having leave accrued isn't a stupid rule. It's a law that's made in reaction to companies writing an upfront amount of leave into contracts, and never allowing their employees to take that leave.

When you side with no regulation, you side with abusive employers, not for "common sense winning out". People will abuse you as much as they're legally allowed to.


>In a world without "government interference" you wouldn't have leave, you'd work every day of the week, and you'd work 12+ hours a day.

If this were true, none of us would be earning more than the minimum wage.


Roughly 1 in 5 workers do earn just that or very close to it. Easy to forget working in tech. But labor laws aren't just for in-demand techies. They are for everyone, including your cashier.


You are moving the goal posts. The original post said:

>...In a world without "government interference" you wouldn't have leave, you'd work every day of the week, and you'd work 12+ hours a day.

The claim is that without a government rule specifying otherwise, we would be working every day of week for almost all of our working hours. The government does mandate a minimum wage - if the original point was true, we would all be paid at the minimum wage. Your "1 in 5" percentage seems high, but as you point out, most people are paid more than the minimum wage.


Wasn't governments that won the 8 hour workday. It was unions.


> Holidays should come with some limits, eg. no more than X weeks per year, like it was in the past

That's anchoring bias. Unlimited does have some nice properties (e.g. very generous allowances in many cases, and the possibility of spending unaccrued time, for example)

If we're in talking about ideals, I'd just ask for people to be more transparent about what the actual dynamics are: if taking 2 months vacation where everyone else takes 1 week affects metrics tied to promos, then say that upfront so people can make a conscious decision about whether signing up for asshat culture is worth the brand prestige or career trajectory potential or whatever it is that people value.


"In many organizations, there is an unhealthy emphasis on process and not much freedom. These organizations didn’t start that way, but the python of process squeezed harder every time something went wrong. Specifically, many organizations have freedom and responsibility when they are small. Everyone knows each other, and everyone picks up the trash. As they grow, however, the business gets more complex, and sometimes the average talent and passion level goes down. As the informal, smooth-running organization starts to break down, pockets of chaos emerge, and the general outcry is to “grow up” and add traditional management and process to reduce the chaos. As rules and procedures proliferate, the value system evolves into rule following (i.e. that is how you get rewarded). If this standard management approach is done well, then the company becomes very efficient at its business model — the system is dummy-proofed, and creative thinkers are told to stop questioning the status quo. This kind of organization is very specialized and well adapted to its business model. Eventually, however, over 10 to 100 years, the business model inevitably has to change, and most of these companies are unable to adapt." [1]

[1] https://jobs.netflix.com/culture


This is so well-written. Now I want to work at Netflix!


Wasn't that the point? They're talking about being mad about someone taking 2 months of PTO off and then talk about how they always take 6-8 weeks cough of PTO with no one batting an eye.

So the reason for being mad is the company and team culture. The first company had a clear unspoken culture that actually using the benefit was off limits.


On that same point, I see a lot of turnover throughout my career and would say about 50% chance someone goes on medical leave and actually comes back to work. We basically start recruiting expecting they’ll not return. It’s obviously correlated with that persons income and ability step out of their employee compensation. But, especially with first time mother’s in their >30. They’ve been saving for it and often hold a key position within the organization by this point in their career. Or perhaps that’s just what I’ve observed at several companies.


Probably because it changed the workload or leave approvals for the remaining staff

Depends on your mental model, some would say the company should be staffed to account for x% on leave, thou account for a person taking 2 months is likely out of reach for smaller companies


> Once you max out on accrual, you are giving the company money, which is stupid so it's important to consistently take PTO.

Early in my career I never took a vacation, so I maxed out. I realized that I'd be losing money by being maxed out, so I worked out a deal with my boss to take every Friday off from May to September that year. Four day work weeks all summer was pretty nice!


I'm a FIRE type personality, which means I would like to take the hit now to be better off in the future.

What that meant at my first real job was that even though I would have liked to take time off during the year, I liked the idea of having time off saved up better.

Since we couldn't carry days over, that meant that around the middle of November I told the team, happy holidays, see you all next year.

On January second, my boss told me he would never let me do that again. Which was sort of my first clue that employment conditions could be negotiated on a one by one basis.


I'm not at all a FIRE type person, and don't tend to trust these sort of casual time off in exchange for time worked up front agreements, but I like what you did there. In my area, compabies aren't required to pay tech workers overtime. Thanks EA!


What does FIRE mean?


financial indepenedence, retire early. frontload all your money making and then reach a point where you can statistically expect to die on the day you reach 0 money left.


That second part isn't a requirement. Fire doesn't require you to spend all your money, and indeed, that's generally a bad idea...


Genius. I'm asking to do this tomorrow.


Another option is if you can alternate every other friday and monday you'll get 4 day weekends every other weekend. This can really be refreshing too.


Just be careful. When I went to part time I made the mistake of choosing Monday as one of my days off - most public holidays here are Mondays so I missed out.


Ive explicitly chose wednesday as my day off for that reason.


yeah, I reached maxout, and switched to taking every Friday off. It was wonderful.


Let me tell you the song of front-lin nurses where summer vacation must be requested in March, time off for March break be put in before the end of January and Christmas/New Years requests must be put in September. Oh, and you have to alternate once every year.


I can see a stiffer policy in critical care, (or assembly line) types of jobs that have to be organised to fill the position well in advance to train-in/hire/book via temp agency the workers so they know when you are going/returning so things work well on a continuous basis. Some companies have a full shut down and people get some sort of bonus for scheduling their 2, 3, 4 weeks then. Often line changes/upgrades/model shift etc are done efficiently so the line runs flawlessly at startup. High tech jobs, esp startups often have novel policies that are rarer in the average industry. Lots of interesting points of view in this thread.


I definitely could see health care borrowing ideas from manufacturing for scheduling. LEAN/Six-Sigma has indeed been applied to this world.

However, innovation is sometimes stifled because care providers being compared to assembly-line workers is taboo.


In this case, I applaud the engineer. He called the company's bluff. Though, I believe quitting immediately was a bit too much.

Don't falsely advertise to lure people! Be clear about your vacation policy.


> He called the company's bluff

It wasn't a bluff. Unlimited PTO has never meant taking months off at a time.

I've never met an adult that needed clarification on what unlimited PTO means. Nonsense like this just ruins it for everyone else.


If a company is advertising unlimited PTO as a positive part of their compensation, but intends to give you 10 days in 1.5 years I guess it isn't a bluff...they just think you are stupid. He =outlines how he was told that the expectation was to take 20 days off a year- don't give employees some benchmark unless it is followed. I've definitely worked at companies that publish the average or median taken as a way to guide employees about what the true quantity of "unlimited" is. I agree that most of us understand unlimited PTO a bit better, which is why most of us would never be as honest as he was with his employer. I would definitely counsel anyone in his situation to get whatever PTO approved FIRST, come back for a few days, and then request FMLA straight with HR. Your manager should understand that what you use your "personal" (not "vacation") time off isn't their business. Be cheerfully vague about PTO prior to approval. Before and after any kind of leave, take notes on all conversations with date/time, outlines of subjects and direct quotes. This is actually something all employees (and really managers, but managers already have the company and HR in their corner) should do with any and all one on ones. A manager telling someone they can't approve PTO because they aren't going on a fun vacation but rather staying home with family, and then mis-directing them to take their FMLA before exhausting whatever PTO could have been granted, and then denying them any additional PTO after the FMLA is insane. FMLA is not a Federal Government program to subsidize a private company's PTO expenditures. I would also love to know how this ruins anything anyone. Are fun, vacuousvacations being ruined by people with real problems having a reasonable expectation that unlimited PTO policies would include the sorts of extended/bereavement leaves that used to be offered in separate policies?


Unlimited can also mean erratically occurring. Plenty of 2 job + 2 kid families have sudden 'parent must be at home' times, when families/friends are suddenly not able to fill the instant need. Look at how many people complain how Amazon fired them where a parent had to be absent for such an emergency - they then go from bad to worse in a heartbeat - AND they now have no job at all. I feel enormous compassion for these people, and I can do nothing at all for them.


Taking care of children, much like being sick yourself, is not vacation. Staying home to do so shouldn't reasonably be deducted from your vacation days, regardless of vacation scheme.


True enough, it is a sick day. Sadly US labor relations has been cast into a them versus us scenario - recall the worker riots in US and UK history. This has it's roots in the relics of 'royal rule, kings - god linked etc = workers are to be out down, and of course slavery follows. Japan and Europe treat the workers as partners in an enterprise, US/UK and Canada in the past cast the worker as the enemy who wants to steal the bosses $$ by underworking and overcharging for that work - thus we have Amazon's labor relations - to a degree. Amazon is a middling abuser, however, Amazon is rapidly improving, as we see, when they sit down and think about traditional roles. Of course, labor wants an enemy to rally against. Recall how the UAW steadfastly refused boards seats on the car makers board? I think union management wants an adversary. They do not want to see 100% of all financial and management matters. They would be able, as board members are entitled to, see the details of all costs, wages, benefits etc., so they would know how much an auto-maker can afford in reality. Makes you wonder. This board seat process works very well in Japan and Europe - on occasion the unions see that a manufacturer has a valid need to lower labor costs and the unions agree, and the car makers agree to restore wages after a depression - after all, no-one benefits when the company goes broke.


People probably should just have 2 months off a year, I don't see what your problem is. It would be way better for everyone's mental health, this guy was just smart enough to take it, probably in an effort to see if it would help them feel fine about staying at the company afterward.


~320 hours isn't an uncommon amount to bank, I had more than that when I left my first tech job after 2 years. Albeit I didn't just take time off at the end I went the payout route but that's not really an option for unlimited PTO. I also took over a month off at the end of every year at then next job as they had decent total time off but didn't allow it to be rolled over year to year so I wouldn't say taking a month or two off is ridiculous in it's own right either.

Hard to say if it was actually unfair or not given the lack of background details (e.g. were they only there for a couple of months working the minimum needed or where they there for 2 years working heavily) but nothing about what was said so far actually seems unfair. "unlimited pto" should be about flexibility not about trying to silently lower the amount of PTO people take.

My current place now is much smaller and has unlimited PTO. I just act like it is no rollover front loaded and arranged my major blocks throughout the year up front. Throughout the year I'll make additional minor requests for unplanned things. Unfortunately many others don't do this and even though nobody is ever denied very few come close to using how much I get approved on Jan 1 and they'll just leave without it.


> Unlimited PTO has never meant taking months off at a time.

Isn't that exactly what it's supposed to be? To give people an ability to work whenever they feel like working. It's not like the company just wanted to give people few more days of vacation like everyone else. They wanted to "stand out" with unlimited amount.

Not to mention that 2 months vacation is something that can easily happen even under normal circumstances (at least in Europe). If someone gave me "unlimited" amount of vacation I would certainly use more than that.


This is pedantic, and goes to your point of “never met an adult…”, but what exactly does unlimited PTO mean here if not “whatever you want”? What is the cutoff for what a “responsible adult” does? Is two weeks at a time okay? Is it okay if I do that in June and then August?

I’m not trying to justify a 2 month paid vacation, but this kind of clarification is all up to who’s doing the interpreting. The 60 hour week boss who never takes vacations may think anything beyond National holidays is excessive.

If I want to travel to Brazil I’m not going to spend 38 hours round trip to go for just a week.


How many people have you asked what it meant? Because I'd be willing to bet the answers would be all over the place with respect to how many weeks are ok.

I for one won't take an offer that includes "unlimited" PTO because it's a lie, and it means I can't compare the offer to my current job, and an employer offering it has a good chance of being underhanded. If they're not, they should be willing to put a specific number in my contract.


I also worked at Uber as an engineer and could barely take off a few days to visit my family during Christmas. I'm not even Christian but I at least thought that would be a good time. I guess it was very dependent on department.


Of course we got rid of slavery many years ago... We just call it different things now.


> took 2 months off paid leave and then came back and quit immediately

That's absolutely common practice in places where you can accrue PTO without limits. People rest with compensation they earned and then leave re-energized. And that's a good thing.


You either take accrued vacation as a lump sum and take the tax hit or just take time off and get paid as you would.


While I was at HubSpot during the initial rollout of their infamous $30k developer referral program, I remember one person getting a referral, paying out the $30k, and then taking PTO until they quit 90 days later. The developer who was recruited was already set from a previous equity cashout and had effectively retired.

Both programs got dramatically reformed after that, though naturally retrospective profiles of the program give it a much shinier glow.


Strange you can take paid leave during a probation period. I'm guessing no probation?


Yup, have seen similar thing where we hired and SWE and took 2 months off stating he need to take care of sick parents in India. He came back, 2 days later he resigned & joined FAANG.


How is the engineer a asshole for utilizing one of the company perks? It sounds more like they were being underutilized and had management material written all over them.


It's the good old "tragedy of the commons":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

Also known as "that's why we can't have good things"... :/


It’s often potentially a slight financial trick as well. At least it can be. Depending on structuring it can a tinnnnnny one time pickup on profitability due to not having a vacation accrual balance sheet liability any more. Aka 1)when you leave no payout, and 2) the one time reversal of that acrual can(*) impact profit. Do the math with payroll at 40% of revenue that can be a ~2.5% one time pickup in profit margins. Slightly less tax adjusted and fully rolled back.

Just saying it could be even more nefarious than you intended to convey :)


I personally would hate to lose unlimited vacations, or more specifically what Atlassian provides. I like the freedom of not worrying about how much vacation I have available. It allows me to take random days off or take a long planned vacation.


I wonder what would happen if California just passed a law that called for unlimited PTO to be paid out (using some pretty high implied accrual rate, like 8 weeks a year or something).


I don't know how it would work in cali, but in the UK I'd pitch at statutory minimum holidays (25 days+bank holidays) OR average time off taken at the company, whichever was higher. I'm sure an employment tribunal would take either.


Slight correction: UK statutory paid leave is 28 days. Bank holidays can be counted as part of the 28, if given as paid leave.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights


Every company I've worked at forces you to take your vacation if you hit the accrual cap. Simply preventing you from continuing to accrue seems like a terrible policy.


> We were angry at the engineer, not the CEO, because it was clear what he was doing was taking advantage of the company's generosity.

In other words, we tried to scam him on "unlimited" vacation which isn't, but he scammed us back by taking us at our word and treating it as if we weren't actually lying. Indeed, what a jerk.


>I worked at a startup where the CEO reverted the unlimited PTO because one asshole engineer took 2 months off paid leave and then came back and quit immediately.

The CEO made a dumb bet and lost. You can't be mad when you offer unlimited PTO and people use it.


> The CEO made a dumb bet and lost. You can't be mad when you offer unlimited PTO and people use it

This is such a dumb take. Unlimited PTO does not mean you take two months off.

I'm tired of everything needing a footnote and qualifications because people like you only understand things in the most superficial sense.


But 2 months off could be a totally reasonable amount? If you worked for 2 years without taking PTO, taking 2 months off to avoid burnout seems like a normal thing to do. Some people prefer to take bigger, longer vacations rather than smaller more frequent ones.


> But 2 months off could be a totally reasonable amount?

Sure. Leave of two months should obviously be coordinated with your leadership, which this person didn't do.

Which makes your comment moot.


>Sure. Leave of two months should obviously be coordinated with your leadership, which this person didn't do.

How do you know that individual wasn't approved for the 2 months? I missed that part of the story. Do you not believe an employee has the right to resign from a job, or are they a slave for a certain period of time after taking a vacation?


> How do you know that individual wasn't approved for the 2 months? I missed that part of the story.

Context clues: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Context_(language_use)

> Do you not believe an employee has the right to resign from a job

Of course. Nobody said any different. Are you confused about the thread you're responding to?


I appreciate your honesty that it is complete conjecture on your part that the 2 months hadn't been coordinated.


If that's what you think context clues means, I can't help you.


By the fact that the two months of PTO didn't result in an immediate "you are fired for not coming to work", I take the position that it was approved PTO, and (thus) coordinated with (some) management. I do not see any context that supports another interpretation.


As my dad has always told me, you have no idea what agreement the other employee had with the company, so never speculate.


Well what does it mean? the words are pretty plain and clear. I've never worked in a place with a unlimited PTO policy, so I have no idea what it means and would need clarification. Most of us work in technology and understand that in most cases the devil is in the detail.


Yes, the words are pretty plain and clear. You can take as much time off as you want, within reason. There is no cap.

Need a few days off for a break? Go for it. Want to take a two week vacation a few times per year. Approved!

Think you can take two months off and disappear? Nope. Some people were born without a nuance gene and don't understand this distinction.


>Think you can take two months off and disappear? Nope.

Apparently you can, because he did, and it worked.


If by "worked" you mean pissed off everyone and ruined your reputation and career, sure!


If it's your first job, then sure maybe.

I've done something similar, walking off a bad job at the most critical time they needed me. Would you like to know what happened? I used one of my many other references, and within two weeks I had a job for 20% more money making six figures. Your value isn't attached to what some idiot CEO thinks of you.


You made 20% more and broke into six figures. Congrats, you're an average tech employee with baggage. Everyone that remembers you will be a hard no on future interviews.

Congrats I guess.


Thank you! This was many years ago, and I've held several jobs since then, 1000+ miles away from there now. It has not impacted my career the slightest, but thank you for your concern! I don't have some superiority complex against those making a median wage, so your sarcasm really isn't an insult at all. It's quite a good living, and I don't begrudge those making more.


It it doesn't mean that, why not say "up to 2 months PTO"? If you say "unlimited" and mean "limited", then yes, it needs a footnote, just as if you said "we're going to pay you $200K per year" but then paid only half and said "what, are you crazy? I'd never pay so much as $200K, surely you know I didn't mean this, do I need a footnote over every tiny thing?" No, not every, only in cases where you say one thing, but mean completely different one.


See that word "unlimited"?


Oh, you can be mad. But you shouldn't be a jerk about it.


Honestly as a long-tenured employee, I'd be more happy with a modest, capped N weeks / year, with an explicit XX week sabbatical every M years.

It's difficult to get that "hard reset" you need every once in a while with a 1-2 week vacation [which to be fair, is already fairly privileged], and even if you have 4-5 weeks / year ["generous by US standards"] it can be hard to take more than a couple of weeks at once because you need to save a week or so for Christmas, a few days for your anniversary, a couple of days for you or your spouse's birthday, three days to close out Thanksgiving, etc etc.


> 1-2 week vacation [which to be fair, is already fairly privileged]

Sucks not to be German. 6 weeks a year that gets used is pretty humane.


Western Europe in general. Something between 4-6 weeks is pretty common. Not having at least 4 weeks of paid vacation sounds bonkers?


I think the funniest part of discussions like this on HN is all the Americans who are somehow... proud? for not taking any paid time off, and then the ones that are weirdly grateful for getting a pittance of time off from their employer?

Listen, PTO is money is salary.

Not taking PTO is leaving money on the table, it's the same as being proud that you're not receiving your full salary for your work, or being grateful that your company actually paid the agreed-upon salary this month.

But some people don't make that connection, because they're conditioned by shitty labour rules in the US.


Yoke to the plow, baby. Or spend all your time grinding the yoked yokels. Puritan work influence still strong.


Same in Australia and New Zealand. The US is the odd duck here, both legally and culturally.


I enjoy taking my month (20 days) off each year. I even have the opportunity to double it and take it at half pay if it suits. Work to live, not live to work.


Canada says... hello.


The UK also gives people 6ish weeks (5 weeks to take when you want, plus 8 fixed bank holidays). I grew up in the US and am American more than I am anything else. I've lived in the UK for a relatively short time (6 years, under 20% of my life) -- but that's been my entire professional career. It's cultural differences like this that lead me to believe that America will never feel like "home" again -- I now can't imagine living somewhere where 6 weeks of vacation time seems like it's far outside the norm.


You might have misunderstood the 6 weeks. That's 6 weeks actual vacation.

Bank holidays (different depending on the federal state you're in but minimum is 9 - in Hesse) are on top of that.

To be fair 30 days PTO is simply the standard in tech jobs. Minimum by law is 21, which some other industries do stick to.


5 weeks is 25 days and not at all uncommon in tech jobs, sadly.


The UK minimum is "25 days, including Bank Holidays". Most decent places will make that "25 days, plus Bank Holidays". One place I worked did "25 days, plus Bank Holidays, but since we need in-office cover, you can work a Bank Holiday and take that day off somewhen else."


The UK minimum is now 28 days.

Since bank holidays can be included many places have stuck to 25 + bank holidays, though.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights


Thank you for the fact-check.


Australia is 20 days as well, some companies voluntarily offer 1-2 weeks more. It accrues if you don't take the leave and must be paid out if you leave, there are no caps. But most companies will force you to take leave if you have accrued 40 days as it affects the balance sheet.

Sick/Personal leave is min 10 days/year and also accrues with no cap but is not paid out if you leave. In addition there are myriad of unpaid leaves for causes like bereavement, natural disasters, domestic violence etc.


Don't forget long service leave. A uniquely Australian/New Zealand leave offering. After 10 years you deserve a nice long break from the office. Came about due to the excessively long travel times back in the day to Europe.


Depends on your state, in mine it's 7 years - looking forward to my 6 month half pay sabbatical next year!

(For those unfamiliar with LSL, I could take 3 months full pay if I wanted but half pay for double the time is my choice.)


My employer just let me take it piecemeal, like any other leave. Looking back that was probably worse for both of us. LSL is a good excuse to improve your bus factor.


I could take it piecemeal once it's accrued, but I just don't think that's a good idea. It's quite an opportunity to take a long period off work paid and I intend on honouring it.


Yeah, that's the good stuff.


I don’t know if it’s still the case (it’s a long time since I lived in Australia) but at one point Australian workers were actually paid _more_ while on vacation. About 17% more. The rationale is that there was no opportunity for overtime while on vacation, and the extra pay on vacation was to make up for that.


Only for some Awards.


Do lot of people stay for that long at one company?


So I found this article that says in 2018 it was around 17% (and rising) of employees are at an employer 10 years or more and similar for 20 years and more https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/we-don-t-job-hop-a...

Also note in some states where it's after 10 years you actually start accruing the leave after 7 years and if you leave the company prior to 10 years you get paid out for the amount of long service leave you have accrued. Again from the article at 5 to 10 years tenure is around 18%

Even with low participation it would be political suicide to make long service leave harder to gain or even try to take it away. Probably why Victoria actually made long service leave kick in after only 7 years.


23 years and counting... I've taken one block of 6 months long service leave (1/2 pay) and will be taking another block of a couple of years.

It all depends upon what your priorities are. Mine are working to live, with a minimum of ratrace.


the minimum is 4 weeks. But it's true that it is usually closer to 5 or 6 weeks.


I was an executive manager at 2 different startups that originally had "unlimited" PTO. In both of cases it felt wrong to me: The reality is that PTO is never unlimited. Like, if it was unlimited, someone could come to me and ask for 40 days of PTO and I'd have to tell them yeah. Or what about taking every Friday off?

The result was that, lazy/low-performing people would take the most PTO while high performing more dedicated people would sometimes NOT take 1 day in a year (I had to remind/push them to take PTO at the end of the year for their own sainity!!).

Personally, I prefer companies that tell me "25 days of PTO" or 20 or 30 or whatever. That way you everyone including the managers know that every employee WILL be out of the office that time, and it becomes a RIGHT of the employee instead of a charity of the manager.

Ultimately, in these two startups changed from "unlimited" to something between 2 and 4 weeks of PTO per person.


I'm a contractor, and I do pretty well.

I bill by the day or by the hour. Client's choice. I even round down to the nearest even hour each day so I don't ever have to have that icky feeling of "did I really bill them right this week?" which would just distract me.

When I work 14 hours in a row, that's what I bill. If I'm in the zone I push it till I fall over. It's worth it for the client. If I'm having an off day, I go home early and bill 4 or 6 hours.

If I'm billing by the day, I just bill by the day. Whether it's 14 hours of working or 4, it evens out and if I'm unsure, I'll bill half a day. The important part is that the work gets done. And if I work a Saturday, you bet it's billed.

Now, why do I say all of this? Because when it comes to time off I vastly prefer my situation. Sick for months? I'm not worrying about whether my PTO qualifies or whatever. I just don't get paid. This has happened recently and when I was healthy again my clients were happy I was able to help again.

This weird sorta dance around time off (sick days, PTO, government holidays, dealing with a manager under pressure for the quarter, etc) makes a bit of sense for the working poor, but I don't understand why so many software developers bother. Just bill what you work and if you want a day, week, or month off take it. I'm sure if more developers asked to work this way large corps would be happy to accommodate them.


> I'm sure if more developers asked to work this way large corps would be happy to accommodate them.

Oh, yes the penny pincers in accounting will just love the fact that their budget calculations for the next year will entirely consist of statements like "whatever our 1000 code monkeys feel like working even if it exceeds the amount you are willing to pay if they get into 'the zone', best case you wont have to pay them at all because none showed up".


I'm not saying your comment was in bad faith, but if you have a thousand developers working for you I'm pretty sure the law of large numbers brackets your outlay.


But setting a fixed amount and accounting for the few unavoidable out layers brackets it even more.


I am a contractor/consultant, and I do occasionally consider going back to permanent employment. What stops me every time is the dread of returning to just 25 days off.

I don't do much dynamic hours like above as I work with/manage others but I do take 40ish days off a year. 2 weeks at Christmas and Easter, 3 in the summer, and 3-5 days off for some of the kids half term holidays.

I prefer just informing the clients when I am unavailable and that is it. Never had an issue since going solo 9 years ago.

There are many downsides to being a contractor, but time off is an upside, if you can afford it.


Exactly. I hadn't even considered kids because I'm childless. I imagine it would be so much fun to actually spend some real quality time with them in the summer or during the holidays.


What would happen if you negotiate leave as part of your employment?


I hear this, but when I was a consultant, I found it difficult to take any time off. When I took time off, I wasn't billing, and when I wasn't billing I was leaving money on the table.


That sounds like your situation but not general advice. Mortgages are required to be paid monthly a sudden loss of income would hit many hard.


Obviously for this stuff to be workable you need to way more than what's needed to cover living expenses and have long term savings.


If you want to retain your freedom, don't sign yourself up for overwhelming debt.


The whole point of being an employee rather than a contractor is to have a stable income and not run the risk of e.g. suddenly having no money because you're sick for months. (Speaking as a European who would expect legally protected sick pay as a matter of course)


It sounds like you're someone who is comfortable in dealing with uncertainty. I think most people desire certainty and stability, so they want employers and the government to 'guarantee it' (even when the guarantee is illusory).


> Sick for months? I'm not worrying about whether my PTO qualifies or whatever. I just don't get paid.

How is that different from quitting or taking an unpaid sabbatical and hoping the job still exists? I mean, your clients may have found a new contractor in those months.


If PTO was really unlimited then nobody would have to come in at all. Which obviously wouldn't work in practice.


My employer noticed that people weren't taking enough PTO, even with an unlimited PTO policy, so made new minimum PTO requirements. Each employee is required to take at least 2 days off per quarter and at least 2 weeks per year. People have actually started using it.


A company I worked for required everybody to attend anti-corruption sessions (and later made it part of the induction process). A fun fact is that a reliable indicator of corrupt behaviour is never taking time off. If you're cooking books you don't want to let anybody else looking at them.


Huh, that's interesting and wouldn't have occurred to me. Even without that, there's value in testing the "bus factor" of critical roles. So, Jane wants to go on vacation and everyone's panicking because work can't get done without her around? It's much better to find that out now than when Jane switches jobs.


This is probably why the UK banking industry requires everyone to have at least one unbroken 2-week vacation every year.


Nice, this seems like the best way to do it. Fight workaholism, threatens the long term success of the business.

The problem is without other changes you likely incentivize people to take "PTO" but still work.


I've made it a personal goal to lead by example on this.

Coworker: I'll be out of office for my friend's wedding next week, but I'll check in sometimes to make sure everything's OK.

Me: Oh no you won't! Go have fun and stay away. We'll be fine for a few days.

Chalk it up to enlightened self interest if you want. When it's my turn to be on vacation, I don't want to feel obligated to check in. Therefore, I don't let the people who report to me do it, either.


I used to work at a company that, like everyone else, tracked PTO days. But I'm kind of a pain in the ass so I never bothered, plus, I worked ridiculously hard and came in at least one day every weekend and sometimes both Sat and Sun (plus most nights in general). Anyway, the head of HR asked me to start putting my PTO days in the system and I said sure, just let me know where I can submit the overtime slips. They got the point...it helped that I was good at my job.

I've always liked the "treat people like adults" policy with unlimited PTO and no formal tracking. If someone can't manage PTO and is abusive of it, my guess is they either might not be a great hire anyway, and if they are, what are you accomplishing by bothering them?


I'm quite confused at your response. Why are you so proud to give a company all your time, including nights and weekends, and for no additional costs?

Then when asked to take PTO you asked for money instead of holiday, despite working nights and weekends?

wat


Seems you misunderstood their comment. They took time off but never logged it in the system. HR asked them to log the days they took off, they said sure but I also get to log my overtime and get paid for those then.


Ignoring the fact that they are considered an exempt employee (at least in the US).


Probably illegally misclassified as exempt, you mean.


How do you figure? Technology roles are well understood to be exempt, no? Don't get me wrong, I think it's stupid and should be changed, but it is what it is (for now).


Do you figure a software engineer is likely to not meet the criteria for classification as exempt? I’ve never heard that called into doubt before.


I did well and was promoted and given raises and bonuses - that was kinda the point of working hard, not to get more days off. I just didn't like people making PTO a thing, it struck me as juvenile. I used plenty of PTO days, one summer I took every Friday off, but I didn't like the idea of being tracked like I was a child. My simple thought was if people do a good job, who cares about PTO tracking.


I see. That's much clearer, thanks.

Although the point of documenting PTO is both useful for you (to quantify days off as you may be taking much less than you thought!) and the company (was behead meant to be in work today?! What if there's a fire alarm and headcount is needed?)

Congrats on the promotion and raises! I agree that ideally working hard should lead to those outcomes.


Unfortunately "adult" does not have a universal definition in this context.

However I'm with you... I'd never work somewhere again (circumstances permitting) that did not offer me the flexibility I need to perform well. Sometimes that means I take a Monday and do nothing because I'm not recharged and my brain isn't being productive. Sure I could try to force something out, but honestly that doesn't benefit me or the company. My output would be poorly thought through, and I'll grow resentful. The tradeoff is, when I'm in the zone on something, it tends to consume me a bit and I'll gladly work until I'm done with it, nights or weekends be damned, because it's interesting.

Knowledge work is not a "show up and punch the clock" gig. Brains have off days and inconsistent output. When the quality of the thinking matters, and impactful output scales way beyond the cost of the individual employee, it pays for employers to be flexible.


Companies like "unlimited" PTO because it doesn't put a liability on their books (e.g. 6 weeks of PTO x N number of employees amounts to a large liability).

What companies doesn't like though is when you put restrictions on it.

What I've seen as a middle ground is to have unlimited PTO but if you take more than 3 consecutive weeks off, it must convert to a leave of absence.


I like the word "liability" you used here, because in Germany (where I've worked for the last ~5.5 years) there is another perspective of 'liability': an employer has to ensure that their employees take their vacation and adequately rest, else they expose themselves to legal liability. This isn't just about vacation - but also rests during each working day (I think it's 30 mins for < 9 hour workdays), and between working days (at least 11 hours between the end of day X and the start of day X+1).


I was travelling by bus and we got delayed. The bus stopped 15 minutes before reaching the destination because the bus driver had to take his 30 min rest. The rules are pretty strict especially for drivers.


so, the middle ground is, "unlimited" is not, at all, unlimited.


In California PTO is considered part of salary. You either take the vacation or else company will pay you the vacation days or all your days will be rolled over to next year.

Thats why most of the companies in Bay Area have unlimited PTO to bypass this law.


CA allows employers to put a cap on accrued vacation. See https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_Vacation.htm

> Q. My employer's vacation policy provides that once an employee earns 200 hours of vacation, no more vacation may be earned (accrued) until the vacation balance falls below that level. Is this legal?

> A. Yes, [and a bunch of examples]

They're only required to cash out your vacation at the end of your employment, and rolling over vacation isn't really a thing because you accrue it incrementally with each paycheck. See "Q. How is vacation earned?" in that link for more info.


It is like unlimited benefits. As soon as you put limits on it, some people start to look at "using them up."


The counterpoint is also valid: don't have policies which, if used, would be untenable to the company.

The best places I've worked have had PTO policies, no rollover (but flexibility for longer trips), and (critically) managers who would gripe at you at the end of the year if you didn't use your PTO.

Expectations were clear, everyone was on an equal playing field, and PTO was sized to something the company could afford everyone making use of.


> don't have policies which, if used, would be untenable to the company.

I am ambivalent on this. Some benefits are a bit like insurance, I don't mind not using them fully but I am glad its available when I need it.

The big issue is that it has to be available when I need it and it can't just be a scam.


I think that's where policy + manager discretion for overages is the better approach. Your manager should know if you and your team are killing it.

"Unlimited PTO" just sounds like make believe land.

And if it's not an actual, usable, guaranteed policy that doesn't negatively impact your career... then why are we deluding ourselves and creating a policy vs culture mismatch?


Agree completely.

Years ago, when I was first married (like several months after getting married), my husband needed surgery. The surgeon thought it might be pancreatic cancer.

The board gave me all the time I needed, no questions. And, the day of the surgery, a colleague from work spent the day at the hospital with me. A free day from the board and director.

Now it's true that I worked every day husband was in the hospital - I mean, he was sleeping most of the time so why not work? But they knew I would work since that's what I did. I delivered for years.

I was incredibly grateful they allowed me to take the time. Am still grateful. But I was also in a position where I could take an unpaid leave or quit. Neither optimal, but family comes first.

Would the organization have done the same for other staff? I don't think so. I had been there the longest and busted my ass for them, loving the work every single day.


Coincidentally, I quit a consulting job that wouldn't give me (unpaid) time off to be with my mother through surgery for pancreatic cancer (positive outcome, so far).

Had saved enough that finances permitted, and I still feel great about the decision.


Having gone from limited PTO to unlimited really helped me realize that I'm a hoarder. When PTO is limited, I rarely take it, but when I had unlimited I was much more liberal about actually using it. I went from average 1-2 weeks per year to 5-6, mostly by taking random days here and there, ducking out early to have a fun afternoon with the kiddo, etc.


I don't understand unlimited PTO. I mean, why not just take every Friday off, then? There is almost never a point at where where there's no work to be done; it's never going to be a case of "as long as you get your work done, you can take time off"... because there's no such thing as "done", just "prioritized".


If you can be competitive with peers and get enough done to continue progressing in your career with every Friday off, why not? The limit for me has always been my own productivity (and availability for meetings), and I think at a certain role level it's a reasonable expectation that you be measured in outcomes and not time spent at desk.


There are still expectations on the amount or level of work to be done. If you're meeting those and not blocking others, there's no reason one couldn't take more time off.

It's certainly a tricky thing to sort out, though. As you noted, "abuse" is possible, but defining what constitutes abuse is nearly impossible.


You call it "hoarder", I'd call it "low risk tolerance".

I'm sort of the same. I never had unlimited PTO, but I tend to save my time off for cases where I actually need it. Saved my bacon a bunch of times, before I started working remotely, with teams/companies that don't mind me taking off half a day to run some important errands, as long as my total work hours add up to the correct number each month.


GP is the opposite. He figures out how to use all his allocated time when he didn't bother to before.


Reminds me of the story in Freaknomics of a Daycare that instituted a late fee. After the fee was instituted, the number of parents being late went up!


Sounds like a situation where you go from feeling like an asshole to the daycare employees to utilizing service that you paid for.


That is exactly the conclusion they drew.


Exactly. I haven't seen it as much now I'm in the U.S., but when I worked in Australia, it was very common for your 2 weeks of paid sick leave to be seen as "vacation". Most people who had sick leave left come December, were suddenly sick for a few days before the end of the year.


The sickie is an Australian tradition.


Depends on your role / age / situation.

When I was younger and working more junior roles and moving from role to role every year or 2 (generally headhunted) there was a use it or loose it mentality. You wouldn’t take the day off the moment you had a sniffle / didn’t feel 100%.

However once your older, have kids and are at the role for more then a few years, that sick leave is often “banked” for when the kids come down with whatever is going around the schoolyard this week


My first job had advertised flexible work timings - you can come and go as you like, as long as you put in 8 hours.

Once I joined, I was told flexi-time means you can come anytime before 9 am and leave anytime after 6 pm.

lol


> Honestly I'd rather have a policy that only allowed 3 or 4 weeks with a minimum mandatory that each employee is required to take at least two weeks off per year.

In Germany, your idea is the law. You get at least 5 weeks of vacation per year and you have to take at least 2 continous weeks off.


nope in germany the law is 24 work days and if you have more than 12 days off per year it's preferably! advised to allow 12 or work days contiguously (but it's not a hard requirement it only comes into play if an employee wants to take it like that) (people below 18 have different rules) also the employer is required to tell if days off will decay and force them to take them.

and work rules are always in favor of the employee so it can be extended but never reduced in a contract.


Yeah, 24 work days, which is roughly 5 weeks (with weekends) . But the other part is not fully correct. Yes, the law is pro-employee, and you have the _right_ to take 2 weeks of continous vacation (12 free days). But you are also _required_ to do so when possible:

> Kann der Urlaub aus diesen Gründen nicht zusammenhängend gewährt werden, und hat der Arbeitnehmer Anspruch auf Urlaub von mehr als zwölf Werktagen, so muß einer der Urlaubsteile mindestens zwölf aufeinanderfolgende Werktage umfassen.

https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/burlg/__7.html

I was really surprised when I first learned from my manager that it's a two-way law (right and obligation). But then again it is really a pro-employee law, basically forcing you to rest from your work.


It's a candidates' market right now, especially for developers. If my holiday got denied for a trivial reason (or no reason) I would just walk out the door.


I worked at a bigco that implemented 12 weeks of maternity/paternity leave. A good friend was the first person to take paternity leave, he helped his wife with the new baby and their 3 other children.

His director was furious that he took the paternity leave. He started getting bad reviews and was sandbagged when he tried to switch departments. After he left the bigco, another director told him why he got the treatment he did.


The trick is to negotiate unlimited compensation along with unlimited PTO.

Oh wait


Just give me a credit card. I will spend money on things I want, as long as it's within reason. Such a workable system!


I think unlimited PTO policies only make sense with a minimum. The minimum in Australian law is 4 weeks. When I worked in Singapore I also got 4 weeks even though the labor law in Singapore technically only mandates 4 weeks.

When I work with unlimited PTO firms I will just make my intention clear from the start which is to take 4 weeks. Plus the two weeks of sick leave I am entitled to if I get sick. So max I use 6 weeks. But my sick leave accrues. LIke when I left a company I had 6 weeks of sick leave left unused and not paid, which is fine.


I assumed unlimited PTO was BS and then I got a job that offered it and confirmed.

In my industry/level 4-5 weeks PTO is pretty standard, with maybe 1 week allowed to carryover to say Q1 or maybe Q2 of following year. I almost certainly take slightly less average PTO now with "unlimited" than when I simply had that 4-5 week allotment.

With a fixed allotment it is an entitlement you feel free to use. With unlimited managers get into psychological games of trying to shame you out of taking it. Even if you are strong and don't give in, many of your team isn't. A lot of studies have shown "unlimited PTO" is actually used less than the standard allotment for the industry/level studied. I certainly have to wrangle almost every request. Very few people take 2 solid weeks consecutive either.


> So it turns out people were taking much more time off now than when PTO was unlimited.

Is that surprising? I've had 'unlimited' (there must be a better way of saying that: obviously it has 'fair usage') for a couple of years, not counting but I'm pretty sure I've taken less than statutory.

Previous place was seven days over statutory and up to five would roll; fewer than statutory requirement taken would be paid in lieu (by law), obviously I took enough to use it all or roll some over - why let a couple of days go to waste? But when there's just no numbers on anything... if I don't have something to do I don't take it. (That's probably unrelatable for anyone with children, or a spouse who is taking holiday, that makes sense and I'm not knocking it!)


"Not explicitly stated"?


Well that's a slightly pessimistic angle on it. Thinking about it my offer letter might've said something more like 'you decide', which is a bit more correct than 'unlimited' without the ominous threat of an undisclosed limit.

Perhaps I should have actually 'decided' and written something down if only for myself!


I find "unlimited PTO" enough of a warning signal that I think "not explicitly stated" is an excellent description of what it gives you. And, yes, at least one former workplace switched us from "25 days, plus Bank Holidays" to "unlimited PTO".

With pretty much everyone in my team complaining that we preferred an explicit limit than a nebulous non-explicit managerial capriciousness.


I think unlimited PTO is an absurd policy to begin with. Why would you allow that? If people take a reasonable amount of days, then why not just have a generous policy like 6 weeks. If some people abuse how are you going to deal with them? Fire them? No, because you had the unlimited policy...


As an employee at a dot com I despised unlimited PTO. I would rarely take PTO, working through all major holidays etc while others took months off.

The hardest working most dedicated people will get punished by an unlimited PTO policy.

As an employer I offer 20 days/year base +1 day for each year of service. Our official policy is to only allow 10 days to roll over to encourage people to take vacation. We monitor people's vacation and work with them to schedule time off.

The hardest working most dedicated people dont realize they need time off so we make them take the time off.


Right, it seems relatively simple to calculate someone's salary to also include additional 5 weeks of pay per year so that if you have to pay it out it was already budgeted. Alternatively, you could do it in such a way that every two weeks you get paid for 11 days worth of work and all time off is unpaid. Essentially you are getting 26 paid vacation days and you can use them or keep the extra money. It seems like a win-win. Known costs that are over time and extra money for employees or extra time off for employees.


Part of the problem is that California doesn't let companies have use it or lose it policies. Companies need to pay out unused at the end of the year.

And employees don't like accrual cap policies (i.e. stop earning after you hit some figure) that don't let them bank some amount over their annual accrual.


The problem is that unlimited PTO is a loophole that companies use to avoid paying earned benefits. California’s regulations on this are poor because they don’t account for this, not because they’re a bad idea.


I always been baffle by that.

My last job switch, 6 month ago, I explicitly asked to apply that calculation on my shinny new yearly salary. To go from 2 weeks off to say.. 5. ( I really means 6 … )

I got 2.5 and a lesson on budgeted HR cost and resource availability. At least there was a response.

The funnier is : I had to care for a family member too. I took 3 weeks already and they just routinely approved the unpay part of it.


> The unlimited policy is definitely a scam at many companies.

It is so they don't have to pay you for your unused vacation when you leave. It's a financial trick.


Yeah, it makes their books look better as well. No PTO in the liabilities column


American overcorrection is bizare. Years ago I recall hearing regularly that many Americans had no annual leave at all, or the ones who did would get fired if they took it. Now it's the other extreme of unlimited, paid time off?

Just have 4 weeks a year of rolling annual leave and be done with it! These absurd extremes serve nobody.


I don’t like Japan’s default number of days off, but I do like their policy, which is that it is up to the employee when they take time off. The only situation in which a manager could reject it is if it would materially affect the company.

In larger companies that’s obviously never the case for any individual person.

Of course, that’s not quite how people use it, but the law as written is very nice.


Accrued PTO can become a major liability for companies as it is wages that must be paid out at some point in the future. That is probably the main/only reason that companies offer 'unlimited' PTO since it doesn't carry over at year end and zeroes out when an employee leaves the company.


I worked at a place that, until a few years ago, allowed unlimited PTO rollover. You were allowed x days a year on a sliding scale that increased with tenure, but you could roll over all of it if you chose. This was also the kind of shop where some folks had been working there for 20 years, and had worked their way up from the shop floor to upper management. There were people that retired there with 2000-3000 hours of PTO banked, which of course paid out at their current rate. The were doing everything they could to switch peeps to a capped rollover plan.


Another technique that is employed to reduce the $ value of accrued PTO hours of lifers is the 'donate PTO feel-good' plan where people can donate PTO hours to colleagues that are on medical leave and running out of PTO hours. Since the people with massive PTO accruals are usually upper management (who are 'always working' as they never have to clock in and out) and the recipients are not, the company gets to pay out the PTO hour at a much lower wage.


Yes, they introduced that too, after one of the larger natural disasters took a few regional stores and offices offline for a while. It hadn’t occurred to me that this was the real reason but you’re exactly right. Tooth-and-nail capitalist focus on reducing expenses while couched in the language of we’re-all-in-this-together virtue.

It wears on the soul to carry the necessary cynicism of modern life with us.


Sounds like that company has (had?) a serious management culture problem. Without giving anything away, was it a large well-known company, a large obscure company, a small well-known company, etc.? Curious about what kind of company creates such an environment.


> Fast forward a year later and we were hearing things from executives and managers like, "you know you don't have to use all you're PTO, right?".

Funny, they might as well suggest that you don't have to take entire salary you agreed on.


My last workplace had "unlimited vacation" policy which in reality was a no-vacation policy. Everyone was constantly stressed and on the edge of burning out - would not recommend.


At FAANG the PTOs roll over (but there's a maximum cap, usually 1 full year of saving PTOs) + when you leave the company they convert to cash based off your hourly salary.


There was a great money stuff by Matt Levine where he talked about bankers doing vacation arb, where they would not take any vacation early, work through a few promotions, and then get paid out the vacation when they left at the higher hourly rate.


Every time I see a job listing with Unlimited PTO, theres always some accompanying verbiage that makes it sound a lot like that unlimited PTO will be unavailable.


This is exactly why I won't work at a place with unlimited PTO. Sounds great in theory, but in practice theory and practice aren't the same!


My company has unlimited PTO for being sick. If sick for more than 3 days (consecutively or probably within some time) you are required to provide documentation to HR of the sickness.

A (young, vaccinated) colleague caught COVID and was out for weeks, with multiple urgent care and one ER visit (quickly discharged; urgent care thought he might have had a stroke).

As far as I can tell he’s had no problems with the company after providing the medical evidence that he was, in fact, sick during that time.

OP’s story sounds terrible and the company completely toxic. I don’t defend it at all. However, in the US, nationally taking time off to care to others is not what paid sick leave is typically intended for. (In Washington State, where I live, the Family Care Act allows employees to use any form of paid leave provided by their employer to care for sick family [1]; I don’t know how many states have passed a similar laws.)

Taking leave to care for a sick family member is typically a different kind of leave. In the US, the Family and Medical Leave Act (known as FMLA) entitles eligible employees to 3 months per year to, among other things, care for a seriously ill spouse, or treat a serious illness of their own. FMLA leave is completely unpaid but your job is protected during and after that time, and there’s insurance you can buy to maintain your income when on FMLA.

It is illegal for an employer to deny a request for FMLA if you are eligible for it, or to retaliate for taking it [2]. If you are eligible for FMLA and request it or are retaliated against by termination, that sounds like a lawsuit that would be easy to win, as well as getting the company in trouble with the Department of Labor.

But who would want to work at a company with such toxic behavior from management and HR? I’m glad this was exposed, assuming that it’s true. (You never know who is lying and has a hidden agenda or axe to grind that they are not disclosing.)

Good companies offer paid leave for the same activities that FMLA requires unpaid leave, such as Amazon’s 6 months of paid leave for birth mothers and 3 for other new parents. My current employer is offering 30 days of paid leave for taking care of family members who have serious illnesses like COVID and I’m confident based on what I’ve seen so far that they’ll honor it.

There’s no “unlimited vacation” at Facebook or Amazon and I’m glad for that. My management chains at both companies have always encouraged taking vacation, and set an example by doing it themselves. Facebook even allows you to have a negative vacation balance, and I haven’t seen people need permission for taking their vacation at either company, though it would probably be wise to do so if you were playing an important role in a vital company activity that would be happening during your vacation (such as the launch of a major product you worked on, or periodic performance reviews if you’re a manager or have an important role in them). I typically entered my vacation into the system after taking it at Amazon, and would let my manager/peers know only if I was planning to be gone and unreachable for an extended period. (At Facebook there’s a good system for notifying people who want to/need to know when you will be out of the office, which also sets up the equivalent of out of office emails for their predominant form of internal communication, which is via Workplace.com (basically Facebook for Work, and an overall excellent product that I would recommend [3]); so at FB I’d enter it in advance because of those integrations, but unless I was performing a crucial job function at a crucial time, I wouldn’t expect to need to ask for permission, so much as notify my manager of my plans.

During performance or promotion review committees for employees I’ve participated in, we always tried to adjust fairly for accomplishments per day of work vs. expectations and others, to avoid penalizing people who take full vacation or leave. It’s human nature to want to give a better performance rating to someone who worked hard for a year with minimal vacation, vs. someone who was on leave for half the year and also took vacation, thus having fewer accomplishments total; but the performance committees I’ve seen and participated in always tried to be fair and measure performance adjusted for time worked, and if anything erred toward being generous toward those who had been on long leaves.

> I'd rather have a policy that only allowed 3 or 4 weeks with a minimum mandatory that each employee is required to take at least two weeks off per year.

As a person who was once young, very ambitious, and had no responsibilities or dependents, I would be opposed to requiring that people take so much vacation. When I entered the industry, I wanted to work hard, build things, build a reputation, progress in my career, learn new things, and earn achievements (including one that got me an award and handshake from Jeff Bezos, back when he was CEO at Amazon); I didn’t want to or need to take vacation, and would have preferred higher pay instead. College was largely a 4 year vacation already, except for a few very challenging 400 level CS courses, and during which I had taken several real international vacations with my family. After graduation I was ready to work hard and build my career. The company provided holidays plus an extra day or two were sufficient for me.

What I do wish is that companies were required to pay employees for any paid time off that is offered but not used, as they are required to do when you leave the company, but ironically not if you stay. (By not used I mean such as due to maximum vacation balances or yearly vacation balance resets, as Amazon used to do). Any vacation that would otherwise accrue as vacation balance but doesn’t, due to maximums, should be obliged to be paid as a proportional amount of compensation to the employee; the same if a vacation balance is reset.

I am older now and have responsibilities for people besides myself, and I am aware of the risk of working too hard and burning yourself out, which is why I am glad to have always worked in environments where taking vacation has been encouraged. But for people with few responsibilities that love their job and want to progress in their career as fast as they are able, I do not think those people would be happy with vacation being forced on them. I wouldn’t have been. I do wish that employers were required to compensate employees for any PTO that is offered but not used though. I can understand why some people would not want the law to require this, since it might encourage people to overwork themselves - but we are all adults and some people may be in a situation where they need more money more than they need vacation time; it should be their choice in my opinion.

[1] https://www.lni.wa.gov/agency/outreach/paid-leave-under-the-...

[2] https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/77b-fmla-protec...

[3] I don’t know if it has the same degree of integration via bots that Slack has, however, so if that’s important to your workflow then you may want to scrutinize this aspect when evaluating the product; but the capability for them exists and is used extensively internally.


Right, PTO is compensation.

I always make sure I end the year with a zero PTO balance (no rollover) and I make sure that I encourage my employees to do the same.


Depending on the company, that's not great advice. At my company you cannot take PTO until you accrue it, so if you end the year with 0, then you can't take anything for a while until you accumulate enough time.


> like 2/3 of your team must be available at any time (regardless of the team size),

You don’t think this is a reasonable rule??


Here is the problem with these policies. What happens when just 1 person or 2 people have key knowledge?

My company has/had (the people I know with it left) this problem. Things hinged on one person and a team of effectively 1 or even 2 can never go on vacation.

Now, obviously this should be considered a problem too but other problems can make the 2/3 part unworkable.


I think the issue is that it was used as an excuse to deny vacation. It could also lead to everyone being put on teams of 2. Great, now no one can take a vacation by definition.


Not if your team size is two, for example.


My current team is 2 people. Should we never take a break?


No, because for some reason a lot of people take a lot of time off during summer.


I'll accept that what the author posted is the truth. Atlassian did not give him what he wanted or needed. And now this battle is public, he will never get anything else from them. The proverbial glove has been thrown down and they will fight you on all fronts.

To everyone else, If this happens to you, I implore you to get legal counsel ASAP, and keep it quiet. Find out all your options and strike a quiet deal with your employer. That is the best you'll ever get.

Almost any large company has much deeper pockets than you do and their reputation is more valuable that their ethics. You'll rarely win in the court of public opinion and you'll probably never get hired anywhere again. I say this even if you were 100% in the right.


And now tell us, how would the rest of us know how working for X it's like? Should we just rely on their HR marketing?

By keeping it quiet, the company would be simply getting away with their unjust practices and unprofessional management.

If it's clear that the company cannot see that they are doing something wrong... you'd be keeping it quiet to get exactly what from them?


This person is giving advice from the PoV of an individual comfortable with playing zero sum or even negative sum games as long as they are able to continue winning.

Don't be like this, don't corrode the commons for personal gain. By not speaking out you are endorsing a harmful asymmetry, make no mistake about your personal responsibility for perpetuating hostile norms.


I would normally agree _IF_ the person didn't already have to deal with his wife's cancer. Under the US health system no less.

Some other reason? Meh, it's just a job. But getting thrown into distress, financial or otherwise, warrants looking out for oneself (and family) first.

Choose your battles.


The more the collective situation worsen, the worst all individual cases go. You're advocating a vicious cycle, or I can't see a possible equilibrium.


I think that as long as in general folk do the right thing, if a few folk “unfairly” do the wrong thing because of extenuating circumstances like having cancer (or a family member having that or something else serious)… well, that’s ok.

Calling for universal absolute behaviour from everyone is unkind, and, statistically not necessary for the outcomes you want.

Basically; it’s easy to say “call them out!” when it’s not you and youre not taking any risks.

Pretty nice and comfortable to sit in your armchair and say that…

I think there are a lot of people here to want someone else to do it, but aren’t willing to do it themselves.


Are you just expressing cynicism or are you actually interested? If the latter, you can just talk to insiders.

I had a somewhat curious personal experience at Uber. I went to interview there circa 2016/2017 and got an offer but had to wait for a visa to come out. In the meantime, the Susan Fowler scandal exploded. The hiring manager reached out to me out of his own accord to express his own outrage and how he'd absolutely not tolerate toxic behavior within his area of reach, and that many others within the company shared that feeling.

Turns out he was right: the team I eventually joined was fantastic and indeed there was a very large part of the company that was deeply troubled (and often quite vocal!) about the growing accounts of harassment and injustices. Driven by pressure to get the house in order, this eventually culminated in hundreds of separate investigations, and various degrees of corrective actions (including firing several perpetrators)

Since then, I've heard my share of complaints about higher ups as well (being in a role that involves quite a bit of cross-department communication), so it's not like it's all rainbows and roses, but my main point is that if you ask the average joe in a company, they're often happy to be straightforward with you.


Funny that you mention Susan Fowler, because she acted the same way for the commons.

I'd be probably not be speaking about toxic behaviour with a hiring manager, during a high-stake hiring process. Maybe you wouldn't have either if it wasn't for her whistleblowing.


Yes, to be clear, I hugely respect people like Fowler and others who come forth from vulnerable positions to shed light into problems. IMHO, the cleaning house at Uber was largely thanks to her.

FWIW, I'm involved with hiring and have on occasion been asked by candidates about company culture (and in one case, specifically about the Fowler case). I try to be as candid and transparent as possible with these sorts of topics, because that just seems like the natural thing to do.


I agree with both you and the above commenter. Perhaps it is optimal to keep quiet for yourself, but optimal for the group if none of us keep quiet. A tough problem.


Keep quiet on your real identity and use the anonymity of the Internet to share everything.

Just be careful so it can't be traced back to you. That can be pretty limiting, but it's better than nothing.


I really don't see the point of existing unless we try to make the world a better place. Props to OP for posting this.


Trying to make the world better is a laudable goal but let's not pretend that there is some intrinsic "point" to existence. A point to existence almost implies that you chose to exist in the first place.


For truly egregious conduct, one can avail themselves of the state attorney-general. They have resources and tools that every company must respect. At least in Washington State, there are also mandated exceptions to all company's non-disclosure agreements for this purpose (I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice).

GP's statement has a lot of merit. Going on the attack against a well-resourced opponent should only be considered after long and deliberate consultation with legal counsel. Even if you don't involve an attorney, your opponent may/will. Attorneys are expensive and proceedings may take far longer than someone who believes themselves to be in the right may expect.

The system is imperfect, but it abstracts conflict to a higher and more-deliberate plane than bludgeoning one another with sticks or urging a mob to pick up torches.


You can inform the company (through your lawyer) that their options are a settlement with you in exchange for keeping quiet, or public airing of dirty laundry. The company can then decide if the settlement amount is worth the PR hit.

You don't do this out of the goodness of your heart to inform other people how bad the company is, you do this purely to maximize the probability of receiving any sort of compensation from the company. Most people (?) would only consider this route if they genuinely feel that the company has egregiously wronged them, because it's a big, low-probability-of-success pain, and airing dirty laundry is easier and often more cathartic.

If you have already decided that informing other people is more important to you than a settlement (or have concluded that the effort is not worth your while), then fine, you've made a different decision, and perhaps the commons are better as a result. But if you decide to air the dirty laundry, you'll usually lose the ability to change your mind later.


>You inform the company (through your lawyer) that their options are a settlement with you in exchange for keeping quiet, or public airing of dirty laundry

That sounds like blackmail/extortion. I'm not a lawyer, but the first amendment should protect you pretty well from merely making truthful accusations, but once you threaten money in exchange for not making them it could be construed as a very serious crime.


IANAL - but the legal term would be "non-disparagement" as one of the carrots the lawyer dangles. It's all very legal, very cool, and both side perfectly understand what it means.

Avoiding bad PR is one of the reasons most settlements have non-disparagement clauses, usually paired with a confidentiality clause that says you can't even talk about the settlement (and therefore you can't mention or imply the existence of the non-disparagement clause therein).


Also not a lawyer, but isn't it relatively common for someone to get a payday on condition of not making something public?


Absolutely. But you're not getting that payday through a threat (extortion) you're getting it through a mutual agreement.


That doesn't strike me as a very clear distinction. If you negotiate for more money in return for remaining silent, is that blackmail?


No, it's a negotiation at that point. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm fairly certain that the difference lies in whether or not you make a demand. If you simply say "I'm going public with this info on X date" and leave it at that, it's not extortion. If the other party decides they want to pay you to not do that, it's on them and you can negotiate from there because they made the offer. If you say "I'm going public with this info on X date unless you pay me" it's extortion.


I'm not sure it works like that. You may get away with it, assuming the lawyer never reveals your intent, but this sounds a lot like the "security" extortion rackets of the mob:

"Hey thought you should know, my 'security' company is currently for hire for businesses around town. We heard through the underground grapevine that a lot of folks may lose some product in their bodegas next month. Anyway, nice to introduce you to my 'security' business -- have a great month!"

If you revealed that your true intent was blackmail, and that's what this is, to your lawyer or anyone else then I imagine the intent in combination with the act is enough to nail you.


IANAL, but often it is not extorsion when you are the victim:

Give me money or I will tell the public that you did me wrong -> not extorsion

Give me money or I will tell the public that you did someone else wrong -> extorsion

I believe that the litmus test is whether you are entitled to a compensation or not.

Either can be defamation though.


That explanation does make sense. But Shitlassian guy did talk about things that were done wrong to other people, so I'm not sure he'd be able to pass this test.


I would think of those as supporting evidence.

In my previous classification it would be extorsion to say "pay me or I will add those things to my accusations" but not to say "pay me or I will drag you in the mud as much as possible", that is it would matter whether you keep them bundled together or not.


Yeah, no lawyer worth their license would ever do this.


It sounds like you have an overly idealistic view of how this process works.

Why do you imagine non-disclosure agreements are standard after an out-of-court settlement? It's because "pay me or I'll badmouth you" is essentially always one of the implied threats.

You can call it blackmail if you want (and I'm being deliberately glib here, because I also think it's at least blackmail-esque), but your lawyer and the company's lawyer will absolutely understand that this is how things are done.


His first duty is to his family, so he should have done anything within the bounds of morality to get as much time/money/aid for his wife. That's why I say take the path of privacy to get a settlement.

Also, this isn't an issue of a company doing something illegal or immoral. We are not talking slave labor or dumping toxic chemicals. This is an argument over compensation levels and therefore I don't think he owes the world his story for the cost of making himself a pariah.


Oh I think we read different articles. This is about deception that company used to sell themselves as better places to work than they actually are.

Knowingly missrepresenting the working condition is exactly that: immoral.

INAL but is see no way this would damage his legal leverage... actually the opposite.


> INAL but is see no way this would damage his legal leverage... actually the opposite.

IANAL either, but I imagine posting this gives an opening for Atlassian to sue for slander and ruin the author by taking forever to debate minutiae of every sentence in the article - whereas if the author went after Atlassian directly, the case would be only about what the company did or did not do to them personally.


“I’m not f---ing around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games,” Avenatti told Nike reps, according to court papers. “You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem. And it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/michael-avenatti-guilty...


> Avenatti was arrested in March, about 15 minutes after tweeting that he had scheduled a press conference to “disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike.”

That's one quick police response. Regardless of the merits of the case, I'm scared of the headline itself.


They don't work that fast. It is more likely he found out they were on the way to arrest him and announced that as a way to get ahead of the news.


Somehow since it wasn't mentioned in the article and me being European, I didn't even think about money as a relevant factor in the whole debacle, only about the time involved and needed to be with the family. I cannot imagine being in the same situation, and besides the horrible bad situation, having to worry about going bankrupt.


I am a EU based software dev, who is currently going through a cancer diagnosis & treatment of a partner (her second one in as many years).

Knowing that I have legally mandated sick leave with pay that covers me for some time has helped immensely while going through this ordeal. Not to mention all healthcare costs taken care of by the state (rather than via some weird golden handcuff scheme with my employer).

I simply can not imagine how vadly workers in the US are exposed when the unexpected happens (and it does, unexpectedly).


I thought the sick leave with pay would only apply to yourself, but not when your partner is sick? Though maybe there is some way to get leaves for yourself to take care of your partner I guess.

Also, even though most Europeans like to say what you said, the fact is still that, as a young healthy individual, the possibility of you even getting sick and needing to go to the doctor is actually incredibly slim. I haven’t visited the doctor except for the dentist in a few years but I’ve paid massive amounts into the German health care system, and I would still much prefer the American pay to the European social system. Maybe when you have a family the European way of life would have more appeal, but even then the system is somewhat collapsing as we speak, e.g. the horrible wait to get an appointment at NHS and also to some extent for the publicly insured Germans. I would still trust having resources at my own disposal instead of leaving my fate on a big, public system working the same for decades, which never happens in history.


It's better to not extrapolate it on entire company (a dozen of offices, thousands of employees worldwide, different policies per continent or country).


On anonymous review sites like Glassdoor. Companies care about their reputation on there yet employees who post are fairly protected by anonymity.


I have done this for a company who was knowingly making materially false information to investors. The company merely asked glassdoor to remove it, and they did. It's probably not worth the liability to glassdoor to have reviews that actually show material deficiencies in a company, like lying about benefits.

I've also done this on yelp when I was working as a contractor when I should have been an employee. The company informed yelp I was an employee, so my review was removed (yelp only has a policy employees cannot leave reviews, they had no such policy for independent contractors at the time I left the review). This was doubly insulting because I tried to inform yelp the entire reason I left a review was because I _should_ have been an employee and not a contractor, and yelp informed me I was actually an employee so I could not use their platform!

I also disagree about it being a career ender to publicly reveal serious dishonesty in your employer. The company I work for now usually laughs when I talk about all the shit I've been through and spoken of ( I worked for two very dishonest companies, out of the dozen or so I've been with). If you work for honest people, then they have a vested interest in the dishonest being exposed (its good for their business).


You are assuming he actually has a case. None of the accusations make sense if you read into it for more than a second.

Atlassian discriminates against parents – by not promoting someone right after they get back from a long parental leave.

Atlassian discriminates in hiring – because a candidate the author liked didn't get picked one time.

Atlassian discriminates on PTO – because the author was denied vacation time right after he got back from medical leave.

If you go to a lawyer they will ask for one solid, verifiable claim, not a dozen vague accusations or angry childish rants.


My exact impression too. The article set off some alarm bells in me - it feels tad too lightweight on actual evidence of misconduct, and too rich repetitively making the same emotional points. Could be explained entirely by the author writing it in justifiable anger. Or it could be because they're trying to blow a few situations out of proportion.

I've seen plenty of posts like this landing on HN over the years, and it's not always a given the accused party is in the wrong. While my first instinct is obviously to believe the author, I'm withholding judgement until more details are clear.

EDIT:

I keep in mind an old HN drama about AirBnB, I'll try to look up details and edit them in - but what I remember to this day is, there was an angry post vilifying AirBnB, the commenters believed it fully and became very angry. As I recall, pg himself jumped in to defend AirBnB, only to be booed out. I also recall being convinced the company is strongly in the wrong. Then it turned out the situation was entirely opposite, AirBnB was in the right. I felt really stupid for jumping the gun, not waiting for full story to come out.

(And then, of course, AirBnB turned out to be a socially destructive company, so I don't like them anyway - but for different, and better thought out reasons.)

EDIT2: The AirBnB story I refer to happened in 2011, when a blogger described an extremely bad experience with AirBnB, causing one hell of a shitstorm in general startup sphere (with plenty of big names and news outlets getting involved). There was way too much written about this on HN for me to find what was the resolution now - skimming quickly I'm no longer sure which side was proven to be guilty of what. But I do recall the feeling of first being so sure in outrage, and then ashamed after discovering the story is way more complicated than what it seemed at first.


Not approving more than 10 days in 1.5 years given the circumstances is inexcusable.


Having to argue and persuade to get time off, rather than having a fixed protocol, is simply a red flag also.


>Not approving more than 10 days in 1.5 years given the circumstances is inexcusable

Atlassian should have been more flexible given the circumstances (and maybe they were! The author didn't mention the leave of absence they took, but it's mentioned in their manager's email denying them taking "Vacay Your Way" right after getting back from a leave), but asking for 2 months of PTO all at once is a lot different than taking 9 weeks over 1.5 years. The author did not say they were denied taking any more than 10 days of PTO over that 1.5 years, they were pissed because they felt they were "accruing it" when they were, in fact, not.


But not illegal


If you watch for it, you'll notice that pattern is common with discrimination claims. It's self destructive too because it prevents self analysis and improvement if you believe you didn't get a promotion or whatever because of discrimination. Then the cycle repeats.


+1000

This article should be read with a huge grain of salt.

They forget to mention (or I missed) the 30 odd days of “no questions asked” special leave we got over the past 2 years.

They also don’t mention how, by policy, small leave applications are approved, no questions asked.

I’m a current P5 SWE at Atlassian and whilst I agree that going from P5 to P6 tends to be difficult, I can’t say I’ve observed any of the other aspects mentioned in this post.

I personally have a larger frustration with there being too much time off as I actually enjoy the work I do


Until your last paragraph, I believed what you were saying.


I think it's perfectly possible for one person to be on their org's good side and another to walk into every single branch of a hostile bureaucracy. Especially in large companies, which Atlassian certainly is now. I've seen that in action, side by side, even within the same team.

Neither invalidates the other, because a large company is perfectly capable of both at the same time.


> Until your last paragraph, I believed what you were saying.

I have no connection to Atlassian, but I've been "forced" to take time off, which I neither needed nor wanted. If I'm working a lot it means I'm enjoying it.

I have also taken quite a bit of PTO when needed by the way; I'm not afraid of doing so. But I don't really like the "one size fits all model" when it comes to this kind of stuff.


I have also been forded to take some vacation. It was late in the summer, and I think my boss started to feel that HR might be coming down on him if he let me work all summer :)


You and me both. Prime example of astroturfing.


> I personally have a larger frustration with there being too much time off as I actually enjoy the work I do

Can't you just not take the time off? If it's mandatory I'm sure you could still work while "off". Honestly I have an extremely hard time relating to this sentence.


Where I am we do require people to take vacations, usually if they are going to hit their PTO accrual cap (ie, they really have not been taking vacations).


accrued leave is a liability that a company doesn't want too much of.

For people leaving, accrued leave is something that the person could ask to be paid out in cash, or they can take the leave prior to quitting.

As an org grow larger and larger, they'd need to prepare for these to crunch together - and thus, by forcing leave, they can cap the amount of reserves (cash, and people to take over) they need. It's understandable, but of course, frustrates the employee.


> I’m a current P5 SWE at Atlassian and whilst I agree that going from P5 to P6 tends to be difficult

Which... is fine? It should get harder and harder to climb the ladder the farther you climb, because -- especially as an individual contributor -- it's hard to increase your impact on the company more and more as you climb. And on the flip side, I see plenty of people getting promoted before they are really ready, and become ineffective -- and worse, counter-effective -- in their new role. Then they either languish, get fired, or get fed up and quit. Or worse, they stick around and make things more difficult for everyone else.


So Atlassian actually has 30 days of PTO instead of unlimited, yeah?

Or those "no question asked" is unpaid time off? But then it wouldn't make send because if you already have unlimited PTO why would anyone take unpaid TO.


Aren't these up to the manager to approve?

A different manager can make a completely different experience in a single company. A rule of thumb when things blow out of proportion is that the manager is quite likely to have been a catalyst.


The PTO is unclear in my opinion. There may be something depending on what's written in the contract and what jurisdiction he is in. There's way too little information to judge.


I was routinely physically bullied as a kid and I learnt the hard way that sometimes you just had to fight back even when you were outnumbered and unlikely to come out on top. Why? Because if you can land just one or two punches next time they’ll think twice about whether it’s worth their time.

Even if it’s ill advised, and even if it’s likely to harm OP more financially, only a response as strong as this will make a them think twice about their policies.

What Rosa Parks did wasn’t advisable, but it was the right thing to do. The same can be said of many human rights activists. Not that this is comparable to those struggles, but we all have our part to play in creating a better world.


Employers have deep pockets. They'll win over your legal counsel by dragging it out for years, making you bankrupt.

At least by exposing it publicly, the company is now forced to address the issue in front of... well everyone. And, other people can see if they've been screwed over as well. After decades and decades of employees trying to resolve matters internally and quietly, and just getting retribution, does anyone actually think being quiet is still the way to go?

I mean, that's how #metoo got started, by going public and getting people together to push back on corporate BS. Same applies here, and for all corporate issues.


> the company is now forced to address the issue in front of... well everyone.

No they don't. They'll just release a statement saying "to protect employee privacy, we don't comment on any employee's situation, but we will say that we are committed to treating our employees well and blah blah blah". It'll blow over after a few months, and everyone will forget it.


I’ve never sued an employer, but I have commenced legal action against my deep-pocketed landlord (they were a developer and didn’t feel like following the eviction & compensation laws for doing a rental apartment to condo conversion). I won, without even needing a lawyer.


Companies in general don't care about winning. They just care about costs as well as focus. What would they gain in return for years of legal bills?


They get to continue suppressing current and future employees.

Here's a perfect illustration: You know that recent article that came out about Google not paying their temp employees fairly? Well were you aware of that problem before that article came out? If not, apparently full time Google employees weren't either and are now organizing to fix that.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/sep/15/google-un...

It's win-win for employees to go public.


Every time I read these google employees are going on strike / organizing I which they would describe HOW MANY actual google employees are ACTUALLY going on strike and organizing or whatever.


You can talk to a lawyer or a HR professional and not make it a battle with your employer (or even known by them). You'll just get perspective and learn if your position is valid or not. Better to know the law and your options before you negotiate. Had the writer know what was legally owed to him, he may have taken a more productive path.


Doesn't #metoo prove the system is pretty badly broken?

Maybe for people of privilege this plan works. But it's at the expense of others without.


Good point. I think #meetoo showed that internal corporate oversight failed miserably for women. A lot of women were done wrong by many companies and I'm glad their struggle became known and I'm glad things have changed (but still more change is needed).

This situation is a dispute over compensation (PTO), not an accusation of abuse. I stand by my premise that the best way to help his wife would be to further negotiate with Atlassian for unpaid time off w/med benefits or something similar.


> Find out all your options and strike a quiet deal with your employer. That is the best you'll ever get.

All I see here is "cower and whimper like a kicked dog, roll over on your back and present your belly".


Alternatively, you can see it as

- (Quiet, Lawyer) Watch your target carefully and, when the opportunity presents itself, go for the throat

vs

- (Publicly Yell) Bark loudly at your target with your teeth shown, so that everyone sees you, and the have no choice but to treat you like a rabid dog and put you down.


> (Quiet, Lawyer) Watch your target carefully and, when the opportunity presents itself, go for the throat

The problem is that people tell themselves this is what they're going to do and never follow through. It's the perfect way to do absolutely nothing and convince yourself it's the right thing to do.


Sun Tsu would agree with you.


I think that's a pretty uncharitable interpretation. "Strength" does not have to mean "post a mostly-unsubstantiated rant on a website". To me, strength is quietly gathering evidence and consulting with a lawyer to make your case, and then hitting them hard -- in court -- when you are ready.

Given the choice the offer made, the more likely outcome here is that Atlassian will give him nothing, and he'll suffer some hard-to-detect discrimination from other companies for the rest of his career. To use your analogy, he walked into a room full of sword-wielding wolves, stuck out his belly, and said "cut me, I dare you"... after which they said "sure", and disemboweled him.


> hitting them hard -- in court -- when you are ready

Hitting them "hard" in a way that would be painful for them would be extremely unlikely in court. He hit them hard in a way that could actually impact their company's ability to retain and attract talented people. He also demonstrated some self respect in the process. I have to think that to many people that - combined with a giant megaphone for telling their story - is worth a lot more than a payout.


This is a little harsh. I think it's very situational and depends mostly on whether you feel better about blowing the whistle and helping others or getting some beneficial concession from the company whether monetary or not. In this case, the aforementioned author's wife has cancer and seems to feel some kind of moral obligation to disclose this to others.


I like this summary. Bend over for your overlords, and sell out the commons.


It's called not being an idiot.

I've known people who transition to get a great new job, then pursue a pretty clean case (quietly) against their old company - often with pretty good results.

This demonstrates you have power of choice in your destiny (the opposite of cowering and whimpering) and it's practically much easier to job search while employed. And I've seen old managers let go, not because of the case per se but because they were losing staff.

This type of thing? There is going to be some sympathy for their manager having to manage someone like this (who does not sound very professional).

The case is also easy after you leave. You don't need the money as you have a new job, you don't need to keep your (old) job - you've already left. So it's simple, so and so kept trying to get one room for both of us while travelling, here are their nasty text messages, work environment was not healthy, would prefer not to litigate the issue. Done. Now you are really set.


Reserving your firepower for negotiation is the opposite of folding your hand.


Imploring others to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else is a strange pattern I see a lot on these forums.

It's clearly not in your (or any of our) interests to do this, as the obfuscation perpetuates these problems. So what is the motivation behind this kind of post?


It’s lashing out. Sour grapes. Procrastination. The perception of doing something to address a problem but the problem is: the action isn’t the correct one, these words are not directed at the right people.

This should have been a letter from his lawyer to his ex-employer, probably HR.


I interpret it as a pre-defensiveness. Whereas some people admit they wouldn't have the guts but respect people that do, others are trying to convince themselves that the choice they'd make would be the right one.


Sometimes standing up for what is right is more important.

Considering this company directly interfered with his ability to care for his wife, it makes sense for him to write this.

It’s worth remembering humans are not entirely rational. The most rational thing would be for him to of simply quit when they weren’t treating him right.

I’ve done that a few times. And it’s worked very well for me.


So basically, it sounds like you want people to shut up, take what the bosses give, and you want the entire industry to blacklist people for speaking out against abuse.


No. I do not want people to "shut up and take what bosses give". I want people to negotiate in the best possible manner to get the best personal outcome. We do this all the time with salary negotiation.

IMHO, the actions taken by the author, while possibly noble, did nothing to further the benefit of his wife while potentially risking his future employment opportunities. I genuinely want he and his wife to have the best outcome and I just don't see how his actions achieve this goal - in both the short term and the long.

I would have asked for unpaid time off and for Atlassian to continue to pay my medical insurance. That would be a deal which I think could have been reached.


They reached a deal where the employee got unlimited unpaided time off. He was fired.

The risk of you becoming so popular that hr will remember your name and blacklist you everywhere is lower then you think.

Speaking out is freeing and healing. That may be part.


I’m going to have to be careful, because decorum, but you have no right to decide what’s best for him and his wife. Maybe he has a job lined up. Maybe the whole thing was his wife’s idea. You don’t know.

People are fed up being told “heres your options take it or leave it” first by slimy managers, then by people like you pretending to be the voice of reason.


>>> I would have asked for unpaid time off and for Atlassian to continue to pay my medical insurance. That would be a deal which I think could have been reached.

The author was fired if you believe the title of the post, so it's way past asking for time off or insurance coverage.


Companies can absolutely rescind a firing (with back pay) when you give them the right incentives to.


> You'll rarely win in the court of public opinion and you'll probably never get hired anywhere again

I thoroughly disagree with both these points.


> strike a quiet deal with your employer.

I guess the question is, is it the worst your employer will ever get? Sometimes, if you want to win, the opponent just has to lose more. It might not be a good strategy for improving your own life, but it might be a good strategy for doing as much damage as possible to the organization that has wronged you.

Personally, I generally feel that life is too short. But I think the more belligerent approach is probably better for society in general. If everybody went full Michael Kohlhaas when wronged, the world would be a much better place, and people that do so should be commended.


Based on what the author has written, I'm just not feeling particularly strongly here. He has a bunch of unsubstantiated claims, plus some screenshots from Blind (which I don't consider representative or reliable).

If I take what is written at face value, and assume it's true, I think it's pretty bad, but unfortunately not that remarkable or unusual. Unless he's holding back some damning evidence of actual law-breaking, I don't really see how Atlassian will be all that hurt by this.

I already wouldn't want to work for Atlassian because I think Jira and Confluence are the some of the worst products I have to use, and working on those would probably drive me to drink. Reading an unsubstantiated, biased account of their employment practices (practices which may not be "practices" but more an unfortunate one-off edge case) doesn't really move the needle much for me.


I've been in a similar situation as that described by the author, and went shopping for lawyers.

The four lawyers who would even talk to me basically said this:

Even if you have documentation, there's nothing stopping a company from producing an "HR file" that shows they tried to correct an employee's course, and the employee failed to meet expectations.

There are laws in some states where, if you ask, a company is required to send you all documentation they have about your employment. So I did, and was shocked at how out of sync their records were with reality.

What their records showed was a belligerent, reluctant, and untalented employee, one who was given many many warnings.

Which is not what my actual experience. I was routinely praised by my manager for exceeding expectations, had great relationships with everyone I worked with, could prove that my contributions made the company 3x more than they paid me, etc, etc.

But when struck with pancreatitis, they let me go. While I was in the hospital. Their reason: I didn't request the time off. As if that's a thing you do when you nearly die and are saved by emergency surgery.

TL;DR - it's easy to say "lawyer up", but in reality, much harder to fight than you think, even when you lawyer up.

The good news is I work for a company that doesn't just encourage people to use unlimited PTO, they will frequently pay for vacations for people who go above and beyond. Like, 5 star resort, airfare included for 10 days for up to 4 people.

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, they said "do what you need to do", as I was his only caregiver. Feeling a bit cautious given past experiences I went on FMLA so that, should things go bad, at least I'd taken the correct legal steps. After being away for two months, when I got back they said "we have unlimited PTO, so we let you use 5 days of FMLA just so it's official, but paid the rest. Welcome back." So, in a way, the first company described did me a favor, since I wouldn't be at my current company had they not fired me.


I forgot to mention: the company that fired me did offer a severance package, though if I'd accepted it, I would have needed to agree to never talk about the circumstances of my leaving the company.

It was worth every penny I didn't get by telling them I wouldn't sign the severance agreement.


My favorite term in these agreements is the one forbidding you from even mentioning the existence of the agreement.


If you've never signed an NDA that prevents you from speaking about the parties involved in another NDA you haven't lived!


How does this work? Can an NDA prohibit you from talking about itself, or does it have to be structured in a cycle, with one NDA protecting "future NDA", and the next NDA protecting "the last NDA"?


There is always an NDA you can talk about - but that NDA could consist solely of the contents "All agreements signed while employed with so-and-so are confidential" - which restricts even your ability to discuss the parties of other NDAs.


The one I've seen prohibited talking about itself, except with a lawyer.


Interesting experiences, but without the names of the companies (or at least what they rhyme with), what can we actually learn from your story? There’s a shit company and a great company out there, and good for you for ending up at the good one. But this just reads like a form of humble brag.


Knowing the name of the first company doesn't help make my point that lawyers may advise you that you can't win a fight with a crappy company.

I considered naming my current company but didn't want to be called out for promoting it. If that comes across as a humble brag to you, I can live with that.


I don't even know what that means when you say called out for promoting it, good companies deserve name recognition - your unwillingness to name at least the current company is disappointing.


You didn't name them. You could have shared and accepted.


Correct. I didn't name them. I'm not sure what "shared and accepted" means. Mostly the "accepted" part.


The buyout offer


I think you mean severance agreement. Had I talked about how I was fired, I wouldn't have seen a severance agreement from that company.

If I'm misinterpreting what you're trying to say I'd encourage you to make it easy for me to understand.


Thanks for this and wow.

To save other foreigners, googling tells me:

1) FMLA: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave per year.

2) PTO is paid time off.


Playing the zero sum game, yes.

Upvoting because I think it's important to talk about this, not because I agree.

Appreciate everyone else's responses around this being a dark pattern where "bad publicity" gets paid off.

How do we incentivize companies to hire people like this? How do as I founder say "I want people like this so that our company is strong, not weak like Shitlassian?"

Is there a role for more anonymity on the internet?


I think smaller companies might value this sort of thing, but once a company gets large enough to have a big HR department where recruiting reports to HR, people like this get automatically filtered out before anyone with more principles might see them.


That’s not necessarily true. I just got hired by <Megacorp>. I don’t have any reason to think I was pre-screened at all.

The whole thing seemed very responsible. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a secret thing, but IDK, some things just work like they say.

I can’t see it coming up in a background check, since I get the results and a chance to defend myself, but who knows? If / when I got “filtered”, it would probably be later in the process. At some point, we did talk about past employers and why you left… really seem to remember nothing until an offer was extended.

I was actually quite surprised by how responsible they were (at a surface level at least).


In Australia where Atlassian is headquartered there is a govt body names Fair Work Australia where you can complain if you believe your workplace rights are violated. They will try to work with the company and can take them to a quasi judicial body called Fair Work Commission. Next step up is Federal Courts.


Agreed.

Employers want to keep things as quiet as possible and will settle and stay out of court even if your chances are very slim because a one time payout is cheaper than gathering evidence, assembling lawyers, sapping admin time, etc. Unless you go big and then they will take you to court and most likely you’ll lose because you don’t have lawyers on retainer nor the bank.

Then, even if you win, now you’re persona non grata for most HR departments because typically only particular personalities will take on a company and the chances of you being unpredictable are calculated to have gone up. So make sure it’s a retirement payout as your chances for employment went down.

So, unless it’s something egregious and utterly wrong, take your losses and walk away with a quiet settlement.


And that's why tech needs a union. You'll always lose as an employee, on your own.


Agreed. There will be plenty of time to rant after legal options have been explored and allowed to take their course, assuming you're not forced to sign a non-disparagement agreement in order to get what you want.

It's not right, but that's just how things are.


This is one of the saddest comments I've read on this matter. What progress was ever made from taking the stance that "that's just how things are"?


> "you'll probably never get hired anywhere again."

No, you'll never get hired anywhere again with companies that employ the same tactics. Ideally you've just developed an uber-filter to get rid of all the terrible companies in one go.


Truth. Once you burn that bridge, you better hope the fire keeps your family warm and safe for the next few years.

This approach always makes you feel better the second you press "publish" in the post, but regret will seep in every day thereafter.


Playing the zero sum game, yes.

Upvoting because I think it's important to talk about this, not because I agree.

Appreciate everyone else's responses around this being a dark pattern where "pad publicity" gets paid off.

Is there a role for more anonymity on the internet?


you'll probably never get hired anywhere again

How is that? I would hire them. Maybe the people who won't hire someone who spoke out against an employer are not the ones worth working for.


Upvoting because I think it's important to talk about this, not because I agree.

Appreciate everyone else's responses around this being a dark pattern where "pad publicity" gets paid off.

Is there a role for more anonymity on the internet?


>>You'll rarely win in the court of public opinion

I think this is wrong... Likely you could win in public opinion. It will not matter much though because

>>you'll probably never get hired anywhere again.

This is likely true. Winning in Public Opinion will not amount to much when you are homeless and hungry

>>I implore you to get legal counsel ASAP, and keep it quiet. Find out all your options

Which will likely amount of little to nothing... Even if you sue likely the legal fees will eat up much of the award. As with most legal battles the only people that win is the lawyers.


Regarding getting hired again, I went through something very similar to what he did (except my employer was highly supportive, so I had nothing complain about online) and I can't blame him for writing this.

He may have disqualified himself from employers looking for single 20-somethings with a complete devotion to work, but there are managers in the world who are going to understand what he and his wife have gone through. Especially after this last year, we're going to have to understand that some of our coworkers have publicly expressed their pain before.

Perhaps a future employer will include a non-disparagement clause but I'd be surprised if he didn't find a new role that was better suited to his new life circumstances.


In my country, for better or worse, the judges almost always rule in favor of the employee. How about US?


That is probably what I would do. But only because I avoid confrontation, sometimes to my disadvantage.

I admire what this guy is doing.


Why can't he sue them? Just because he made a post does not prevent him from suing Atlassian?


So let 'em cover it up?

Fuck that noise.

They're already well-known as a crappy company.


"Roll over to corporate" is one take.


> I implore you to get legal counsel ASAP, and keep it quiet

If you’re a white male the lawyer will politely tell you no thanks because you’ll never get punitive damages. Why does that matter you ask? Well ordinarily wrongful termination is only subject to actual damages. So if you get another job in a month you can get at most one month’s pay in damages. But wait it gets better! If you can’t find another job because you’re not able to perform those job duties, say because you’re caring for a sick loved one, then the court will deem that your actual damages are zero. Obviously no lawyer wants even a great shot at winning 30% of nothing on contingency.

The only exception would be if you’re in a jurisdiction with juries that are exceptionally sympathetic to the plights of white men and will vote for punitive damages large enough to make it worth a lawyer’s time.

In any event the consult is free so by all means talk to a lawyer, but realistically you’ll get better results by just asking nicely for a separation package.


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