1) I was hired last week of January as a typist for a FamLaw firm -- I had assumed there would be training regarding FamLaw in Australia as my experience is more on corporate disputes/commercial litigation UK (trained) or Australia (basic knowledge).
2) First week of "training" was actually tough as they (call centre) used a "free" Linux-based operating system and documents created under Open Office was not compatible - formatting such as fonts, tables, margins and spacing -- looks different when loaded into MS Word. Also, problems converting from Open Office format to PDF (PDF conversion necessary when providing copy to other party's lawyer so they cannot modify the document prior to negotiation/approval from both sides).
3) After one week and upon client's (Australian famlaw firm) insistence, I was provided with a computer, evaluation copy of Windows, Office, eval copy everything, including transcription software and audio converter.
4) By third week, it was very obvious that there was really no such proper training -- hence, any enquiries/requests for clarification was usually met with a snarky/sarcastic and overtly racist response from client. This continued even when I clarified that my previous client, who provided some basic legal training was a UK corporate firm, and I reminded them that they had to teach me Australian FamLaw as I went along/during the course of the job. Linawin ko lang, nagbabasa din naman po ako -- yun mismong laws, nagreresearch ng precedents, et cetera -- I've worked as a legal support associate before and I'm pretty independent -- when I ask for clarification it means it's something that I really find challenging and working on it on my own time is going to cause delays in meeting the deadline, so I decided time to ask.
5) Fourth week - attempted to resign due to abovementioned reasons -- racism, software problems (requests/follow up on expiration of evaluation copies ignored by company. I had to purchase a license on my own, using my Visa card when I could not work properly anymore as I could not use the software).
6) I would like to state that from my first week onwards, there was various side comments from other employees of this company (call centre), apparently there was resentment that the company sourced externally? They (the call centre agents) thought a legal support role was "petiks" and mentioned several times that a lot of them applied for the "non-voice" post and that the company should have chosen someone who wanted a transfer and not hired externally.
7) Office air-con not working properly to add to woes, and call centre agents used the office I stay in as some sort of recreation room/tambayan when the aircon was working, so it was very noisy and distracting.
8 ) Aside from the racist/snarky comments, there was so no definite start/end time at work. Shift was supposedly 9am to 6pm but the client started looking for you at assigning tasks as early as 7.30am and as late as almost 8.00pm.
9) Requests regarding aircon maintenance/checking and advising other employees to avoid using the office where I stayed in as a "tambayan" was met with indifference.
10) Client's assigned tasks escalated from simple typing to research, actual drafting of legal documents -- which can be Minutes, Pleadings, Financial Statements (for submission to the Court) et cetera -- basically I was hired as a typist but had duties that would fall under a paralegal role.
11) First resignation attempt, employer negotiated a "raise" but when I accepted, was told that "the company was not even earning money from me" from the outset (even when I was earning what was my training compensation) -- apparently offered the raise to prevent having to hire and train a new hire. Client also toned down sarcastic/racist remarks during this stage.
12) Two weeks later, back to same bullshit attitude from client. Promised raise which was to be given after the training period (first month) actually enforced during the third month.
13) By late March/Early April -- verbal notice of intent to resign, immediate supervisor kept stonewalling. there was a lot of applicants (including some referrals I made shortly after I started) interviewed by HR and noted as "passed" but immediate sup never endorsed said persons for final interview with the client.
14) Mid-April sent by email formal notice of intent resign -- cc'd senior operations manager to ensure that immediate supervisor would have no choice but to tackle the problem of finding a replacement seriously.
15) Early May -- lots of applicants but no definite answer from immediate supervisor if there was to be a replacement. Alternating racist to "praise" emails from various lawyers on client's side attempting to convince me to stay.
16) Mid May -- advised client that I was no longer able to continue -- combination of internal/external issues, racism, internal office politics, working conditions unacceptable (by the second month, the aircon probably worked only 2 days out of 5 -- office had no windows and ventilation consists of opening one and only door -- torture for someone asthmatic), had to buy licenses for software out of own pocket. Did a restore on office computer to put it back to original state -- but left licensed copies of software (did not uninstall). Note that I never requested reimbursement for these software licenses. Asked IT from client's side to disable my remote access profile to avoid data security problems -- was acknowledged and remote access profile disabled on the same day.
17) Late May -- accomplished Clearance form. Around the same time, got a very heated email from client complaining -- apparently they assumed (as they were told so by my immediate supervisor) that I would work until there was a replacement and after I had trained that person -- so they were expecting me to work indefinitely for as long as the my immediate supervisor could not find a replacement.
18) I did not finish my 30-day notice period, if you would based it on my 2nd resignation letter, as I quit 4 days short of the full 30 days. However, if you would could the first resignation letter and various verbal statements that I was resigning and that they have to find a replacement -- I have worked out more than 30 days -- I stayed with the company for almost 4 months (4 days short) but I have given notice and repeatedly advised that they need to find a replacement as early as after the first month.
19) Previous employer now stalling release of back pay/2316. Question, regardless of company policy, I am entitled to 13th month pay right? And they have no right to keep stalling the release of my back pay? I tried to stay for as long as I could until they could find a replacement. The long-awaited replacement never came as they never took the process of hiring one seriously -- pakitang tao lang ikana -- actually they hired a replacement almost a month after I left -- which is why the client is complaining as they had almost 1 month wherein they did not have a remote typist (alila is more like it) and that they had to train the replacement, as they thought (and they were promised by the call centre) that I would be the one to show the new hire the ropes.
Sorry po kung mala-nobela ni Rizal, clarify ko lang.
I have already moved on to a new (better company) and the new company's client is also dealing in corporate disputes/commercial litigation so better fit for me. Ang issue ko lang po is the backpay na walang definite yes, you will get the last cut off and 13th month on (specific date). Puro lang excuses from the HR and accounting.
Pwede po ba ba ako magfile ng complaint? Since 1 month after na nun mag-accomplish ako ng clearance and wala pa definite update sa backpay ko -- alam ko kasi usual 30 days lang yun waiting time for that, bilang ng 30 days from the date na nasubmit mo na yun accomplished clearance form.
I have also read up a bit on the labor code -- I am not after separation pay as I have not worked there for a full year -- I am after my 2316 first and foremost, kahit forego na yun last pay (last cut off worked and possible 13th month) Note that I also had disputes sa mga mali-maling deductions nila -- I was getting the same pay after the raise they gave (compared to my probationary salary before this bullshit call centre) so I had na an idea kung ano dapat yun tamang deductions for 27k gross comp per month.