I'm a call center agent in the BPO industry. In the office we bid for the schedules we prefer base on our performance on a Quarterly Basis, so if you are a performer you get a good schedule. I am a consistent performer.
I've been working with the company for almost three years now. I met my boyfriend here on 2010. We were working in the same team for one year, for that timeframe were already in a relationship. And we were part of a Performer Team.
All of sudden the Department Head, in the third quarter bidding of 2011, announced that there would be changes for the upcoming bidding. Instead of Individual Bidding it would be a Team Bid. At the same time, all agents who are relatives and are engaged in a romantic/personal relationship can't be working in one team nor in one shift. With the implication of conflict of interest. This has been in the Company Policy way before but they never put a stress to it even when we were Onboarding, it was not a big deal. Though it states that relatives and supervisory to agent level relationships may not work together under the same management. But relationship between colleagues is just discouraged but not prohibited.
So if you are working in the same team the person who has a lower scorecard, which in my case was my boyfriend, would need to transfer since it is a Team bid. Those who were affected, including us contested to the said prerogative because its hard for them to prove that there would be any conflict of interest if you are working in the same level. If it was on a supervisor-agent level we would understand since manipulation of data would be evident. And it would be unfair since you've worked hard to get a high scorecard for you to choose a good schedule which is something that they didn't consider. If both of you are performers one would need to sacrifice and would be required to transfer to a new team. Back then if you are in the morning shift it means you have a high scorecard because it is difficult to get a slot for that schedule. So my boyfriend even if he was performing needed to transfer to the night shift. Because he was not even allowed to transfer to a different team in the morning even if his scorecard permitted him to do so. So we just complied since there is nothing we can do about it.
The issue began on how it was implemented. Since the management doesn't know everybody and their personal lives they don't have a way to determine who are the agents engaged in personal relationships. So only a few of us, whom they know, were affected. They even promised a powerpoint point presentation specifically pointing out that we are not allowed to engage in romantic relationship but management was not able to show it to us till now. We raised this issue again to the management even to the HR Head of the company to no avail. Their resolution is for us to submit the names of the persons whom we know are in a relationship, who intentionally kept it a secret so that they would not be affected, which they would keep as a reference for the next bidding. There was also this case where a manager was impregnated by his direct subordinate but since they kept it a secret it took at least 6 months for the guy to transfer since the manager's belly was already obvious. But this instance was known by the management but they didn't act upon this immediately not unless we stressed this to them. They even hired new employees who are relatives and assigned them to the same department which was incoherent to what they are implementing.
On the onset of this year 2012 we were glad that this would be over since we would be given a chance to bid individually but then again they changed the bidding process. Instead of morning and night shift. The bidding was in clusters. There would be four clusters. And again they told us that we can't be together in one cluster. We have at least 16 schedules available through out the year 4 for each cluster with different time and off. And what was worse the team that you will be part will be the team that you will be with for the rest of the year. So it means if you got in a performer team you get the best schedules all throughout and vice versa. So I made my bid and my boyfriend just copied it even we know that they would not allow us to be on the same cluster. And again another problem arises. I have a higher scorecard than him. He got in my third bid and I got in my seventh which was so unrealistic and questionable. We forego of the situation since they would never listen to us. Sadly to say I currently belong to a non performer team. So I'm forced to accept this for almost 9 months now. I have the worse schedule, weekdays off. Even If I'm currently performing, there is no sense for it. This is really demotivating. We are still trying to convey this issue to them to no avail.
All we're asking is for them to let us bid for the schedule we deserve but they won't grant it to us. This is still ongoing, new relationships are being formed, others get married, others even already broke up, relatives working together without the management knowing. We feel we are already being "singled out". For more than a year now, starting June 2011 those who kept their relationships secret continued to work on schedules they prefer either it would be on the same team or same schedule. Without the company experiencing any threat to the welfare and profitability of the business. Which I can say is a proof that conflict of interest doesn't exist if both parties are working at the same level.
These are some conflict of interest examples they cited on why they are doing this:
Absenteeism- if you come to think of it, it is contradictory. Because if they would be on different rest day and schedule its more likely for one of the parties to not report to work compared if they share the same rest day.
Manipulation of Data- There is no data to manipulate, both of us have the same tools and access to the same information and work responsibility.
And putting us on a different shift even doesn't change anything per se since we are still handling the same type of calls, deal with the same type of customers no matter what time you logged in.
I think they should have a sound basis for what they are doing. They should have an objective definition of what conflict of interest is. And a strategy on how they would be able to fairly implement it. So basically they created a policy that they can't properly execute and apply equally across the board.
If we file a case do we have a chance like for moral damages or discrimination?