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Old 10th October 2012, 18:11   #1
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Default Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal?

Hi...
This is my story...
Currently I am working for a Pvt. Ltd. Firm in BIDC, Gorwa GIDC.

1) I got offer letter signed by DGM of this company on Jul 28, 2012. this letter did not have any financial commitment or figures. In a separate excel sheet printout, CTC shown to me was Rs. X.XX lakh. HR lady claimed that I will be getting Rs. XXXXX as bonus this year. The excel sheet she gave me did not have anybody's signature.

2) On Aug 1, 2012 when I joined, they gave me appointment letter. This appointment letter was signed by M.D. of the company and had salary of Rs. ABCDEF/- per month. This was singed by M.D.

When my first salary came, I was shocked that it was less than Rs. ABCDEF. It was less than half of what was claimed in appointment letter signed by M.D. I went to HR for clarification. This happened in end of August. No solution came out and I kept on working with the best of my efficiency and thought that this was my Fate.
Now in October they are now asking me to sign a new Appointment letter where in my salary is very less. Less than even what was claimed in excel sheet given to me on July 28, 2012. I am given just two options, first to sign a new Appointment letter dated August 1, 2012 in this month or lose job.

To the best of my knowledge, signing a new Back Dated appointment letter is illegal and also my salary is being reduced.

Now, I have not asked for more money at any point of time, despite being paid less than what I am legally entitled to.
HR and my boss jointly raised this issue and now are asking me to either sign a new appointment letter dated Aug 1, 2012 in the month of Oct, 2012 else get fired.
Openly, my boss said that I can also take harsh steps if I want to, but the organization being big, wont be affected.

Do tell me your views so that I can cope with this blunder made by HR.

EDIT : I am open to new appointment letter with less salary, but the new letter must be of Oct, 2012 and not Aug 2012.

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2012 at 08:27. Reason: As requested
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Old 10th October 2012, 18:34   #2
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

First and foremost, haven't you asked them why the letter is dated August and you are being asked to sign it now. Something smells fishy here.

I'm no lawyer, but I don't think it is illegal to sign a back dated letter. But in your case it might be because you are already an official employee of the company since July and the July appointment letter has a signature even though it does not talk about finances.
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Old 10th October 2012, 18:34   #3
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

While others (and much better informed than me) revert on your query, IMO the reasons for the new appointment letter is quite clear, isn't it - if the old appointment letter mentions the original salary amount (ABCDEF) without any specific caveats/conditions, then they are legally bound to pay you that amount for the past two months, even if they decide to fire you now in October.

On a side note, keeping your query aside (back-dated appointment letter being valid or not), do you really want to trust them with the new appointment letter, considering the past record. What's to stop them from making it even worse in the coming days. Sorry if this fuddles your current scenario than clearing it up.
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Old 10th October 2012, 18:39   #4
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Don't let you self be arm-twisted, don't sign the letter. With you previous offer letter and payslip send a legal notice to the company.

Even if you are reluctant to take the legal route don't sign it, find a new job rather. There will be no end to harassment if you let them have their way nor will you ever be able to hold your head high in the company.
Also let you boss know that if a case is filed then, the firm being big might remain unaffected but he will be a party to the case being a co-conspirator and will not escape unscathed.
If it is really a big company and its just a blunder made by HR then it is the HR who should lose the job and not you. Write to all the senior management contacts that you know of. However my gut feeling is that senior management is a part of the conspiracy otherwise why would one sign the offer letter without compensation figures on it. Also I have not come across an offer letter having monthly salary figures on it.
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Old 10th October 2012, 18:59   #5
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Most manufacturing companies are having a tough time. Ask your boss/HR/MD for the reasons. They have been unethical and owe you an explanation. If you dont find their reason compelling you should leave. They could play this trick with you whenever they desire.
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Old 10th October 2012, 19:31   #6
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by huntrz View Post
Don't let you self be arm-twisted, don't sign the letter. With you previous offer letter and payslip send a legal notice to the company.
+

This is some good advise! Do not sign anything. I have had instances where HR/MD's etc have made mistakes. This is not how it is normally resolved. Seems dubious to me. Get the hell out of there soon. It's a sign of things to come.

Last edited by Technocrat : 11th October 2012 at 02:49. Reason: Please quote selectively as it helps our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 10th October 2012, 20:09   #7
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Bad...why do organizations do this. It definitely not a ethical practice. In my view - you should first ask why the salary figures are reduced? Was it a mistake (which most probably is) or someone has taken a decision to reduce your pay immediately after joining, etc.,

Irrespective - you have following options;

1) If they give a convincing reason and and you are ok to take a cut in salary - you can sign the back dated letter (no harm in that and I have seen this in many organizations where there was a mistake and it has been corrected by stating the clear facts to the employee).

2) If they do not provide a convincing reason or a reason at all;

a) If you do not have job elsewhere and need this monthly income - you can still sign the back dated letter and work for them until you find another employment. I am sure while asking you to sign the new letter - they will ask you to return the old letter back. I would recommend you to take a copy of it and keep it with you. While leaving the organization - pls. do send a mail to top management with the proof.

b) If you are not dependent or can find a job quickly; You can say I will not sign the paper and demand salary to be paid as per the agreed terms. Tell them that you will complain to Labour commissioner with the proof and as well to the PF or ESI department. I am stating PF/ ESI because they should have remitted your due % PF/ ESI as per your original letter and they wouldn't have done it - which is a big headache to them if PF/ ESI departmet starts auditing for all their employees. You could later publisize this matter in social media sites as well.

In case - if you are fired, insist and demand proper notice period or compensation in lieu of that (which would have mentioned under termination clause of your appointment/ offer letter).

So - pls. think through your options and decide accordingly and let me know if you need any help.
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Old 10th October 2012, 20:13   #8
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikram_d View Post
First and foremost, haven't you asked them why the letter is dated August and you are being asked to sign it now. Something smells fishy here.

I'm no lawyer, but I don't think it is illegal to sign a back dated letter. But in your case it might be because you are already an official employee of the company since July and the July appointment letter has a signature even though it does not talk about finances.
Virkam_d,
You are indeed correct. And my fear is that I might be fired the very next moment I sign that letter. Moreover, they can/might involve me as a person committing financial fraud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
While others (and much better informed than me) revert on your query, IMO the reasons for the new appointment letter is quite clear, isn't it - if the old appointment letter mentions the original salary amount (ABCDEF) without any specific caveats/conditions, then they are legally bound to pay you that amount for the past two months, even if they decide to fire you now in October.

On a side note, keeping your query aside (back-dated appointment letter being valid or not), do you really want to trust them with the new appointment letter, considering the past record. What's to stop them from making it even worse in the coming days. Sorry if this fuddles your current scenario than clearing it up.
First of all, no sorries ninjatalli! In fact, I wholeheartedly appreciate your help and your view is of immense value to me, specially considering the situation I am in.
Yes, it might get worse in coming days. You are correct and things are fishy here. I did tell them that in case they fire me, I would be asking ABCDEF-the amount they paid to me per month. I got reply that you wont be getting a single penny if you are fired, and I can consider my own options. Words from the mouth of my boss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by huntrz View Post
Don't let you self be arm-twisted, don't sign the letter. With you previous offer letter and payslip send a legal notice to the company.

Even if you are reluctant to take the legal route don't sign it, find a new job rather. There will be no end to harassment if you let them have their way nor will you ever be able to hold your head high in the company.
Also let you boss know that if a case is filed then, the firm being big might remain unaffected but he will be a party to the case being a co-conspirator and will not escape unscathed.
If it is really a big company and its just a blunder made by HR then it is the HR who should lose the job and not you. Write to all the senior management contacts that you know of. However my gut feeling is that senior management is a part of the conspiracy otherwise why would one sign the offer letter without compensation figures on it. Also I have not come across an offer letter having monthly salary figures on it.
Yes, senior management is certainly part of this conspiracy and that is feeling I am getting too. This is a Pvt. Ltd. company and hence these things are common is what I am being told. Proudly the HR claims that there have been such instances at more than point of time. Yes, I will be telling my boss that he might face problems. And if he faces charges or anything, the firm might fire him too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoombiee View Post
Most manufacturing companies are having a tough time. Ask your boss/HR/MD for the reasons. They have been unethical and owe you an explanation. If you dont find their reason compelling you should leave. They could play this trick with you whenever they desire.
Forget explanation, they are blunt to even say that I can take a legal route if I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alter.e.go View Post

This is some good advise! Do not sign anything. I have had instances where HR/MD's etc have made mistakes. This is not how it is normally resolved. Seems dubious to me. Get the hell out of there soon. It's a sign of things to come.
Correct Alter.e.go, these are signs of what I can expect in future.

1) Today I bow down owing to market conditions, there is no guarantee that I wont get fired.

2) In future, they might ask me to sign another document, for God knows what reason.

3) I am not paid as per the amount claimed by letter signed by M.D. Now, I have paying slips of earlier months, and this thing might get caught in Audit. May be they are scared of this and hence asking me to sign back dated letter. If I sign it, it means i am also getting involved in an activity which is to cover up financial error ( which is/might be illegal ). I dont want to be party to an illegal/covering up plot.

4) Both HR and my Boss, they agree that despite the problems I am reporting to work and doing my job well. In person ( and personally ) they appreciate this, but in case of this letter, I have no options is what they claim.

A BIG THANKS TO ALL FOR REPLYING WITH YOUR VIEWS AND HELPING ME IN NOT-SO-GOOD TIMES.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 10th October 2012 at 20:16.
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Old 10th October 2012, 20:16   #9
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Forget explanation, they are blunt to even say that I can take a legal route if I want.
Start searching for a job and quit immediately once you get one. For catharsis, you could just send a mail and stop going to work. Dont bother about notice period.

Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2012 at 21:41. Reason: No SMS language on Team-BHP please
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Old 10th October 2012, 20:29   #10
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

You are in a situation where the other party is caught on the wrong foot so to speak. They are reneging on an agreement and coercing you into agreeing to terms not in your interest. You need a very aggressive and sharp lawyer who will get you your rights.

I can not even begin to understand your predicament as your situation is not one would wish for. However do not repeat do not submit. Stand firm and assert your rights and let them know in no uncertain terms you will litigate. Please believe me those who do such things, do so with the hope that they will get away with it because the victim will submit. Once that hope is belied because the victim stands up they start talking sense.

Also it is obvious that these people are not the kind of people you should bank your and your family's future on. Move out and find a better organisation to work for the earliest you can.

People will tell you - you can not fight these people, best is to compromise for the sake of your family etc etc and that is what your employers are banking on. The moment you listen to such advice or even consider it, you have lost the fight.

Last edited by RS_DEL : 10th October 2012 at 20:31.
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Old 10th October 2012, 20:48   #11
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Default

This is ridiculous. Talk to a good lawyer immediately.
However, you should never agree to anything or sign on anything like an appointment or offer letter unless it is signed and sealed by relevant authority.

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2012 at 08:27. Reason: Removing quoted post which has been edited
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Old 10th October 2012, 20:53   #12
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

If i may,

Short answer to a long post. Find another job.

A company that does this, is at best unethical and its not worthwhile investing your valuable time and energy in betterment of such an organization.

A commitment made, either in writing or oral, signed or unsigned is a commitment. Any organization that makes a mockery of commitment is not worth working for.

My 0.02$.
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Old 10th October 2012, 21:20   #13
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

from what I understand, you already have a appointment letter with ABCDEF as salary. Just send a written query as to why you were not being paid for your work.


And yes, just get another job.
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Old 10th October 2012, 22:46   #14
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoombiee View Post
Start searching for a job and quit immediately once u get one. For catharsis, you could just send a mail and stop going to work. Dont bother about notice period.
Here, time is certainly not the luxury that I have. Before 13th, I need to sign or lose job. When my boss realized what is going on, he removed the HR lady who made false statements and commitments from this case, another HR lady who is working with my firm as a consultant is brought in the case to deal with me. My boss himself moves out of the case.

The HR lady who is consultant is for sure considering a permanent employment with my firm and is trying her level best to pressurize me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RS_DEL View Post
You are in a situation where the other party is caught on the wrong foot so to speak. They are reneging on an agreement and coercing you into agreeing to terms not in your interest. You need a very aggressive and sharp lawyer who will get you your rights.

I can not even begin to understand your predicament as your situation is not one would wish for. However do not repeat do not submit. Stand firm and assert your rights and let them know in no uncertain terms you will litigate. Please believe me those who do such things, do so with the hope that they will get away with it because the victim will submit. Once that hope is belied because the victim stands up they start talking sense.

Also it is obvious that these people are not the kind of people you should bank your and your family's future on. Move out and find a better organisation to work for the earliest you can.

People will tell you - you can not fight these people, best is to compromise for the sake of your family etc etc and that is what your employers are banking on. The moment you listen to such advice or even consider it, you have lost the fight.
Thanks for a very true and inspiring post. There are many who are now asking me to bow down, which I will if the letter is of current date. But almost nobody is supporting me for not signing docs. This matter of new appointment letter is going on since beginning of this month. would be now getting more firm on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
This is ridiculous. Talk to a good lawyer immediately.
However, you should never agree to anything or sign on anything like an appointment or offer letter unless it is signed and sealed by relevant authority.
Correct Shankar.Balan. Will be contacting a lawyer tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
If i may,

Short answer to a long post. Find another job.

A company that does this, is at best unethical and its not worthwhile investing your valuable time and energy in betterment of such an organization.

A commitment made, either in writing or oral, signed or unsigned is a commitment. Any organization that makes a mockery of commitment is not worth working for.

My 0.02$.
They are now literally turning away from what they had earlier said. Earlier, all claims were being made about what I will receive in this year. Now, I am not getting close to rs. 50,000. When asked for clarification, I get two answers from my boss :
a) Its a rule in India
b) Its on management.

So today he claims its management, next day the same amount falls under rule. Again the next day, its on management.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
from what I understand, you already have a appointment letter with ABCDEF as salary. Just send a written query as to why you were not being paid for your work.


And yes, just get another job.
This mail would be sent tomorrow. I would first be asking for my unpaid salary and also asking as to why I am being asked to sign a back dated letter.


Once again guys, thanks a lot! Words fall short of the amount of help you are giving to me.

Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2012 at 21:42. Reason: Please use QUOTE the right way. We don't permit answering in BOLD within a quote
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Old 10th October 2012, 23:14   #15
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Default Re: Need Help/Advice : Is signing a BACK-DATED Appointment letter Illegal ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Hi...
This is my story...
Currently I am working for a Pvt. Ltd. Firm in BIDC, Gorwa GIDC.

1) I got offer letter signed by DGM
Each paper in an appointment letter must carry initials or official company stamp, if not the full signature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
2) On Aug 1, 2012 when I joined, they gave me appointment letter. This appointment letter was signed by M.D. of this company and had salary of Rs. ABCDEF/- per month. This was singed by M.D.[/IMG]
A senior official would typically sign a document given by someone credible in the Co, and an appointment letter is an insignificant doc from MD's perspective. But yes, if he is sane, he must insist that his deputy initialize any document before placing it for final signatures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Now in October they are now asking me to sign a new Appointment letter where in my salary is very less. Less than even what was claimed in excel sheet given to me on July 28, 2012. I am given just two options, first to sign a new Appointment letter dated August 1, 2012 in this month or lose job.

To the best of my knowledge, signing a new Back Dated appointment letter is illegal and also my salary is being reduced. [/IMG]
Most likely it is a goof-up done by HR. Reason they are asking you to sign a back-dated letter is because they want to expunge the incorrect letter from the records. This is proven by 3 facts. One, they paid you lesser salary, which they think is the correct salary so error hidden in accounts here. Two, they admitted that Audit will catch them so the revised letter will actually replace the old letter. Three, if you sign the new appt letter in current date, they will be bound to pay you higher salary from Aug till date, which they basically want to hide.

Getting a back-dated letter signed is not illegal, but unethical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
HR and my boss jointly raised this issue and now are asking me to either sign a new appointment letter dated Aug 1, 2012 in the month of Oct, 2012 else get fired.
Openly, my boss said that I can also take harsh steps if I want to, but the organization being big, wont be affected. [/IMG]
No company can sack you unless you commit a fraud or physical violence. If you want, you can become a prick for them for as long as you want. Many might disagree but it's jolly well possible for a smart fellow. It might take a toll on you if you are emotionally weak. Also, it can possibly spoil future prospects because references spread and a new employer won't bother to dig too deep for your sake, & rather look for an alternative so best to avoid a confrontation here.

You wont gain a thing by going into litigation. Your company wont suffer because it's bigger than an individual. Your boss wont suffer either because he not your 'principal employer' so making him a party will at best ensure his presence for 1 or 2 hearings and nothing more!

Look for a better job & find peace of mind, I suggest.

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2012 at 08:28. Reason: Editing quoted post which has been edited
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