Busted! After a media backlash, SunTrust axes rule that laid-off workers be ‘on call for two years’ for no pay

US bank SunTrust has pulled a U-turn on a policy requiring laid-off IT workers to provide the company with assistance for no compensation for two years after they have been let go, the company told the Guardian on Friday.

The “continuing cooperation” clause, first reported on by ComputerWorld magazine, would have required laid-off workers to provide the company with information or assistance for up to two years after they were let go. ComputerWorld described the clause as requiring the workers to be “on call for two years” – a characterization that SunTrust called misleading.

When asked about the clause and the employees being offered no compensation for such continued cooperation, Mike McCoy, the company spokesperson, said: “We understand that a clause in our severance agreement was misconstrued versus its use in actual practice and therefore, we have removed it.”

The clause originally read: “For a period of two (2) years following the end of my employment with SunTrust, I agree to provide assistance and to make myself reasonably available to SunTrust regarding matters in which I have been involved in the course of my employment with SunTrust and/or about which I have knowledge as a result of my employment with SunTrust.”

It went on to say that the “assistance” – which could include phone and in-person meetings, testimonies, interviews, trial or affidavits – would “not unreasonably” interfere with the former employees’ new jobs. While SunTrust would cover expenses incurred by the former employees, it would not compensate them for their time.

Read on.

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