January 19, 2024 at 12:57 am

New Owners Tried To Push Key Employee Out, So He Used His Patents To Get Two Years Vacation And Ruin The Company

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Reddit/AITA/iStock

There are too many stories on Reddit about people who are happy at their job, sometimes for years, and then a new owner comes in and everything turns to poo overnight.

OP’s friend had been with his company for over 40 years when a new owner arrived.

A family friend was working at the same company, since he was 26, up to when he was 64, when the below started. (I did get his approval to re-tell the story, just not include anything specific, so I am keeping it anonymous and quite general on the specific details.)

Part of the problem, was the laws in the country increasing the retirement age from 62 to 65 when he was in his early-mid fifties, and then again from 65 to 67 when he was about 62-63.

The old owners were a family and run the business with benefits to the employees.

From everything I have heard, I think they were giving an extra vacation week after every 6 years at the company.

So on top of the standard 4 weeks, he had an extra 6 weeks at the time of the events.

Sounds like a pretty sweet gig!

Also people had access to two weeks of working home office, when the job allowed them to or an extra week off, for those that couldn’t use it. So he was getting 11 weeks off each year.

As a bonus, the family owners were allowing people above 55 to use their vacation time as they desired. All at once (with about a two weeks notice which was just a courtesy, according to the guy) or segmented or even not use it and pile it up for when the retirement time came.

Another issue we have at our country is that when you submit retirement paperwork to the government they take ages.

So it is often the case that they may take over 2 years to calculate what to pay you and start paying you. (of course they pay back that time, but it still is an issue).

For the period they delay and calculate you are getting only the minimum amount.

Wow… that’s a bit wild.

But the guy had already about 44 years of experience and a bit more ahead of him as an engineer, and a well paid one, which meant a great retirement amount.

So the owners allowed for people to gather up their weeks of time off at the end of it and take 20-30 weeks off while submitting their retirement paperwork, so the money being paid would last them longer into the calculation period. Of course some didn’t use it, but many did.

Suddenly, he found himself alone and facing unreasonable demands.

So the company gets sold (because the owners saw some writing on the wall that their profiting wouldn’t last more than 6-7 years more and they wanted out. It was due to old age as well.

New ownership (part of some coca cola subsidiary) takes over and starts removing previous rules.

At the guy’s position there were three of them. Him, a second colleague and a third one. They push out the second (fire him) and the third one has a heart attack literally a week later… RIP. They also go and dock his pay by 15% “because he is making too much for a simple engineer”.

The three of them holded a patent for the machinery used on something specific, a second one on how to make that machinery and a third one on the process of the production of a small but significant part. Old owner had allowed them to put the patents on them when they invented a new (30% cheaper and 75% faster) way of production years ago!!!

So suddenly he is alone on that position at 64 and the company hires 6 people for him to train, on that position. At the same time they give up to the end of the year for all the piled up vacation time to be claimed! notice the wording, “claimed” not used!

So the guy was using between 1 and 5 weeks for the past decade! So he had gathered 87 weeks of time off!!! (including the current year) but they hadn’t looked at specific cases apparently.

So they get him the 6 new people to train and they tell him that he needs to have them trained in 6 months! he still has 2.3-2.5 years until retirement.

So, he took his vacation time. ALL of it.

So he just goes and takes 87 weeks of vacation time, with a 3 hours notice, on a friday evening starting the upcoming Monday (still no advanced notifying is required).

They dont pay attention on it until the next Thursday, when the CEO notices the 6 people sitting around all day and nobody training them.

The phonecalls start. Then emails. Then letters get added to the mix. Then home visits by low ranking secretaries and such to deliver the letters. Then management visiting his home! By week 7 the CEO has visited three times, but the door hasn’t been opened once. His mother in law lives literally across the street (old woman) and him and his wife are taking care of her, so most of the time they are over there and can see everybody visiting their house XD.

The production is actually running on itself, but no upkeep is done on that critical part of it. Week 11 he says that line 1 out of the two breaks down. They start visiting his house 3-4 times a day.

Two weeks later second line breaks down. He obviously has a lot of friends inside and is getting constant updates. At that point they have only 4 weeks of backstock to keep the rest of production running.

He did come in and help under certain conditions.

It is December, right before christmas and he goes in during week 13. He says he needs to take some things from his locker room (lol) and the CEO starts yelling at him. “You are stopping your time off right now! You are coming back to work to fix everything up!”

So he offers to come back for three days under an agreement that the entire week will be returned to him to use for time off.

The CEO reluctantly agrees and tries to push him also for the training. No budging, only fix things up and go on vacation again.

By Saturday everything is fixed up and even leaves a couple of basic instructions on what needs greasing every week. and he is off again.

Few weeks pass, new year has come around and a line is broken again. He gets called back, and CEO pretends like the previous deal will be used again.

He goes in for 2 days, fixes everything, explains couple more things to the team of six (who by now have other duties, not to be sitting around all day), and when he is about to leave the CEO says “tomorrow at 8 am!”

When they tried to take the rest of his time off, he went to the labor board.

There was nothing they could do.

The CEO accepts unwillingly the deal with the guy coming in, for 3 days every 5 weeks off. If he is needed during his time off tough luck. They should work to produce backstock.

A full year goes by, that way, and the guys is 66 at this point, he has been training the six slowly every 5 weeks (LOL), and he is on his last visit before he takes the last 5 weeks off.

Then, they tried to fire him.

The CEO goes to him and delivers personally the firing notice for the first day he will be back!! He plays shocked and leaves for another 5 weeks.

This one is a problem, because if you apply for retirement, even with half a year early/less, you are loosing signifcantly more than just that small period and he has about 10 months ahead of him for retirement.

His last 5 weeks expire and he goes in to gather his stuff, only a coffee cup was remaining (he knew this was coming and he had taken everything over time). He gets an extremely big payout for the firing with no cause.

So he served them with a cease and desist for his patents.

Next day he sends a cease and desist letter to the company for the use of the three patents!!!

He had talked with the fired guy, who had agreed with this revenge plan. He had also talked with the widow of the now dead friend and colleague, as well, and had both of them onboard.

He had been supporting actually the widow (but he didn’t say anything to anyone, I found out very recently form the other guy about it).

So now the company has to stop using those machines and the method with zero notice.

All the competitors have found and build and patented their own versions of the same and if they don’t find a solution, it is going to cost 40% more and take aout double time to produce the same part of the procedure of production.

So they would need to double the lines, if they go and use the old method, while they look for a new one.

They held out until the 11th hour before cracking.

After just 3 weeks of looking to license the method of one of the competitors and not getting anywhere, stock being extremely low by that point, they struck a deal with the guy.

He will be an external contractor, who obviously keeps the patents to his name, he will be doing the maintenance on his own, will be paid by the hour (what he was previously making on a full day) and he will be on call for maintenance while having one person there at all time for upkeep.

Now, he’s working fewer hours and making a bunch more money.

He went and stole all 6 of the people he trained, and hired them in his new company and put them to work back at that factory again, with almost double the pay htey were receiving. he fully trained them very quickly and he was now getting paid a shit ton.

That CEO was fired for almost stopping production (the deal was struck mere hours before backstock ended) and he also cost the company a ton of money by firing that guy.

At the funeral of the old owner, many of the old employees met up and told their different stories and apparently there were three more similar cases with patent holders, because the old owner treated his team extremely well.

But he apparently was the only one to string them on for almost 2 years by being out on vacation time and getting paid.

All of them had a great laugh, including the widow of the owner and his sister, who were the other two partners in the factory before it got sold…

Retirement has never looked better.

If you want to win at business, you have to roll with the punches.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This was a recipe for disaster.

Source: Reddit/AITA

There’s always one.

Source: Reddit/AITA

You don’t mess with the old guard.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This was a good and satisfying story.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This was a long one.

I’d say the payoff was worth it, though.

If you liked that post, check out this one about an employee that got revenge on HR when they refused to reimburse his travel.