Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit

Subject: Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 15:06:09 -0700

I don't know about you, but the only way I'd be willing
to work the same extra hours as engineers and their
managers without extra pay is if I'm employed on the
same salary and equity/profit sharing basis as they
are. I don't work "for free," except when I volunteer
my time to certain causes I believe in, and my
employer's bottom line is not one of those.

I also don't know the details of Dani Hoenemier's case.
It's possible that she was a "lesser-qualified tech writer,
paid less than $36/hr" whose employment was by the
hour, and if that is the case, then under CA law she
and others employed on the same basis should definitely
have received OT. If, OTOH, she was a $100k/year
salaried professional employee as Sun maintains their
other writers are, I would expect that Sun probably
followed the usual procedure when one company
acquires another (providing each employee with a
written letter of offer that spells out the terms of
employment under the new company), and as a
professional and an adult she was able to read it and
decide for herself if the terms were acceptable, if she
needed to try to negotiate better terms, or if it was just
time to move on.

Gene Kim-Eng



----- Original Message -----
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
> Dani made an interesting point on the blog--nothing precludes a
> techwriter from donating free work, staying late to work with an
> engineer who is also working late.
>
> Can a lesser-qualified tech writer, paid less than $36/hr, actually do
> the work, or will it take twice as long and be less accurate? That is
> a question the hiring manager has to resolve.
>
> The hiring manager who makes those decisions with the law in mind has
> to plan for overtime pay if workload and writer's productivity suggest
> it. This may not be a blame point in the lawsuit, but is generally
> true in any case.
>
> Being able to predict a writer's productivity and overtime
> requirements may not be a science, but where overtime liabilities are
> concerned, the manager needs to factor them in. I don't think it works
> to say "I won't be authorizing any OT", because that is the twin
> gesture to "I won't be working any OT", and an impasse ensues. That
> doesn't get the work done.
>
> If that putative hiring manager can hire only people who profess
> abiding loyalty and waive their right to OT pay, then I guess (but
> don't know) that's within the law. But without that, I think the law
> does prevail. We're a nation of laws. The people, and businesses are
> just passing through.
>
> BTW, I think the blog brought out the fact that this is about state
> laws, not national laws. That's a useful point.

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References:
Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Eric J. Ray
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Rob Hudson
RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Jodie Gilmore
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Janice Gelb
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Ned Bedinger
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Ned Bedinger
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Ned Bedinger

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