A reader writes:
I submitted my resume in response for an ad to be a Risk Management Training Specialist for an insurance company who performs safety, health and risk management training. I went through a three-step interview for the position of Risk Management Training Specialist. I was offered and accepted the Risk Management Training Specialist position, and gave notice to my other employer.
However, on my first day at the office during new employee orientation the job description that my boss (who interviewed me) presented me with was a job description for a Training and Development Specialist. The new job description was a trainer who presents, develops and markets to clients leadership and human resource training, and has nothing to do with risk management or safety.
Is this job description switching common? Are there legal ramifications?
Um, have you pointed this out to your manager?
To answer your direct questions -- which are so not the point -- no, it's not common. It's legal; employers can reassign you at any time. You can decline to be reassigned, of course, although that might mean you're out of a job, unless you have a contract. However, that's not really the point here. This sounds like a mistake, not a deliberate attempt to trick you into working in a different job against your will.
The proper way to handle this was on day one, by immediately saying, "I think there's been a miscommunication. The job I was hired for and accepted is Risk Management Training Specialist."
They could have been hiring for both, gotten things mixed up, and if it's a large company, not noticed that they had put the wrong new hire in the job. You likely could have had this fixed instantly by speaking up.
But if you didn't and you're now days or even weeks in, it's much, much weirder. Have you been doing the other job, the one you weren't hired for and perhaps know nothing about? In any case, you can still speak up by saying, "I should have said this on day one, but I was hired as a Risk Management Training Specialist. Can you tell me how I ended up as a Training and Development Specialist?"
Moral: When something happens that seems wrong or confusing to you, the answer is not to stay quiet and wonder if it's legal. The answer is to speak up and ask about it.