San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Lazurus has an article in the paper today about how Bank of America predicates severance for workers whose jobs are being outsourced to India on their willingness to train their replacements on how to do their lost jobs.
Lazurus writes: "While many of the bank's Bay Area techies accept the inevitability of their jobs heading abroad, what rankles them is the fact that, in many cases, they're being told they have to first train the Indians who are getting their gigs.
"'If people want their severance packages, they have to train their replacements,' a senior engineer at one of BofA's Bay Area facilities told me. 'There's nothing in writing that says this -- the bank's been careful about that. But it's made clear at meetings what we're supposed to do.'
"Shirley Norton, a BofA spokeswoman, confirmed that while workers aren't being explicitly told they have to train their replacements or risk losing severance pay, they are being instructed that severance pay is contingent on satisfactorily completing their jobs."
The bank is also doing a significant amount of multicultural awareness training, Lazarus reports. BofA says that this is to sensitize U.S. workers to the globalized marketplace, but Lazarus says that workers he's interviewed suspect it's really to prep the company for working with more colleagues overseas.
What do you think? Is it appropriate in an outsourcing situation to link severance pay and training a replacement? Or does that requirement reflect so poorly on the employer as to actually cause damage to its reputation?
Last updated: Jun 9, 2006
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman