When the Angels beat the Mafia

By Raluca Enescu - translated by Ana-Maria Cirstea - 13 July 2020

There was once this young Romanian lad, let’s call him Marius, who worked for ‘The Greedy Recruitment Agency’. One day, these guys send him to work in a shipping depot for an important, posh corporation. After three days, Marius resigns because the location isn’t suitable. Anyway…

What does Marius discover when receiving his latest paycheck? There’s no sign of payment for those three days or for his unspent holiday pay. Marius cannot afford his rent, loses his flat, and needs to move in with a distant relative. 

Here’s where we come in. We quickly make him a professional CV and help him find a more reliable job. In the meantime, we try to resolve the mystery of The Greedy Recruitment Agency. 

First attempt, I reach Greedy Junior. He starts with the whole ‘Oh, you know, we’re very sorry about the situation, and we know Marius worked those days, but the depot never sent us a confirmation, and this is company policy, until they send us the confirmation, we cannot make any payments, it’s the depot’s fault’ malarkey. 

Hmm, how do I put this? I don’t care whose fault it is, I don’t care if it’s the Queen of England or the Mother of Dragons. If our guy is employed by The Greedy Agency, he needs to be paid by The Greedy Agency. And if The Greedy Agency fails to respect its contractual obligations, that’s not Marius’ problem and he doesn’t need to bear the financial consequences. 

As soon as I convey this message (in more put-together and fancy language, obviously), Greedy Junior vanishes into thin air. He stops answering his phone altogether, and neither I, nor Marius can find him. 

Second attempt, I reach Greedy Senior, Marius’ and Greedy Junior’s boss. Greedy Senior is grumpier from the start: ‘Did you know that Marius didn’t clock in and out of the depot? If he didn’t pay attention, what proof do I have that he was working and didn’t just bugger off?’ Marius tells me this is a shameless lie, he always clocked in and out. 

We try to reach the depot to get hold of Marius’ timesheets and the CCTV recordings from those 3 days. No one at the depot answers. I help Marius prepare a letter for the depot with confirmation of receipt. The depot signs for the letter and promptly drops off the grid. So we have no chance of getting those two sources of proof. 

But we do have another way of providing evidence. Marius worked side by side with two other colleagues those three days. I ask him to contact them for a statement: ‘The undersigned so-and-so, I confirm that I worked with Marious from x till y O’clock.’ I tidy up the statements and send them to Greedy Senior, who then also vanishes off the face of the Earth. 

Rubbish. If there’s no other way, we’ll go to tribunal. We go through the obligatory pre-tribunal mediation which, as often happens, didn’t take us very far. We fill in the tribunal form and wait for a response from The Greedy Agency.

Now, if the Greedies had been slightly cleverer, they would have given the poor man his pay seeing that we had proof and were determined to go to the ends of the Earth. After all, it wasn’t a lot of money, plus they would have gotten away without a trip to the tribunal. But the Greedies decided to be stubborn. 

One day, we get their response out of the blue: ‘We checked all our records and Marius wasn’t even scheduled to work those three days. His witnesses are related to him, and are in cahoots with him to get our money. And we don’t have to give him any holiday pay, since his holiday records ended in December.’

Are you kidding me?

Kurt Vonnegut once said a really cool thing: ‘There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organisation. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organised along the lines of the Mafia.’ It was clear that The Greedy Agency did not take our case seriously. They failed to notice before replying that Marius had quit his job in November, before the holiday records ended. And the whole thing about ‘his witnesses are related to him’ was pulled out of thin air, with zero proof. 

All things considered, I started preparing the perfect case file for Marius. We scrolled through all the texts from the agency, from ‘Come tomorrow’ to ‘I’ve just arrived at the depot’. Marius wrote down a statement with his entire story, as did his witnesses, as did I about my charming phone calls with Greedy Junior and Senior. We added the letter addressed to the depot showing that we asked for all kinds of proof… In other words, we’d done our homework and I sent Marius into the tribunal well armed.

And because of all this, not only did Marius win the case and will receive his money, but he might also be eligible for extra compensation for the entire charade. Compensations which The Greedy Agency could have avoided if they had just shown an inch of good faith. But here’s the catch: it’s really unwise to be both stubborn and dishonest. Liar liar.. 🔥!

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