I work at a marketing company and often work long hours. Sometimes issues come up outside of the office, and I frequently find myself using my cellphone (and personal computer) for work — sometimes to field client calls, but often from my supervisors as well. I’ve tried to discuss with my boss the potential for some compensation, but the request was dismissed because my contract did not explicitly call for me to use it outside of work hours. However, both clients and my superiors continually contact me on my cellphone. I was even asked to put my cell number on my business card. Am I required to do this and if not, how can I respectfully set limitations?

To read the answer, click here: Dilemma of the Month: Professional Work on Your Personal Cell

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My Boss Asked Me to Resign

by Evil HR Lady on February 5, 2016

I am a middle manager without a union who has been told that because of poor job performance, I would need to step down. My boss had offered me a lower level position that I do not wish to fill as I don’t want to work for them any longer. I asked my boss to dismiss/terminate me for poor performance. They won’t dismiss me and have asked me to resign. How can I go about this now? I may need unemployment and really do not think that I should be the one to resign. Any thoughts on this?

Yes. Take the lower level job and focus on finding a new job. Your boss has actually offered you a gift in the form of the lower job. Yes, I absolutely hate it when bosses won’t fire and try to force resignations without offering anything in return, but your boss is offering something–a job.

Now, it’s not a job you want, and it’s a lower level job, but here are the advantages to taking the job and not resigning or being fired.

Finding a job is easier when you have a job. It just flat out is. You don’t have to explain that you were fired or that you resigned without a job lined up. Your resume doesn’t have that awkward gap in it. It’s just easier. Keep working.

Your current boss doesn’t have to be a reference. Most recruiters will respect your request not to contact your current company when you say, “My boss doesn’t know I’m looking.” However, if you resign or are fired, they’ll want to speak to your last company–the very boss that fired you or forced you to resign. If you’re still employed, he never gets a call, and you don’t have to explain your poor performance (until you look for the job after this one).

Money, money, money. Unemployment is great because you get money when you’re not working. It allows you to focus on job hunting. The problem is, unemployment is not as much as your current paycheck. If you’ve got lots of money saved up, then the money part isn’t problematic. But, even if you have a big chunk of cash saved up, why waste it when you can be drawing a full paycheck?

Health insurance. Sure there’s COBRA, and sure, there are the exchanges, but do you really think you’ll be better off on those than on your employer-provided plan? If you have a spouse whose plan you can go on, this isn’t as big of a deal. But, if not, think long and hard about giving up health insurance. We’re a generally healthy family, but that didn’t stop my daughter from absentmindedly stepping in front of a tram.

Exceptions. There are always exceptions to the don’t quit without a new job lined up. If your job is destroying your physical or mental health, it’s time to walk away. But by destroying I mean that literally. Hating it and dreading work is not the same thing as destroying your health. See your doctor if you need an expert opinion.

Good luck on your job hunt.

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3 Things Scientifically Proven to Make You Look Stupid

by Evil HR Lady on February 4, 2016

The last thing you want as either an entrepreneur looking to build a business from scratch or an employee, looking to build a career or find a new job, is for people to think that you’re stupid. Perceptions are not always reality, of course, and we don’t want people to perceive that we’re stupid when we’re not. (Although, in all fairness, we don’t want people to perceive that we’re stupid when we are stupid.)

What makes people think you’re not all that bright?Other than making comments on YouTube, that is?Experimental Psychologist, Dr. Balaz Aczel, tracked behaviors that people identified as stupid. They did this by looking at online stories and by asking university students to keep a diary of every stupid thing they saw. What they found is that stupid behavior fell into three categories. Avoid doing these things and you’ll look smarter-even when you’re not.

To keep reading, click here: 3 Things Scientifically Proven to Make You Look Stupid

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Health and wellness programs are always a great idea, but not everyone at your office has the same physical capabilities. When you give everyone a Fitbit and offer a prize to the person who walks the most steps, you’re inadvertently discriminating against people who aren’t in good physical condition or who have physical disabilities. If the prize is significant or can be considered income, it might even violate theAmericans with Disabilities Act.

So how do you implement a health and wellness program that everyone can participate in? Here are some ideas.

 

To keep reading, click here: Building Health and Wellness Programs That Everyone Can Join

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Top 100 Companies to Watch For Telecommuting Jobs

by Evil HR Lady on February 2, 2016

If the idea your commute being a walk down your stairs appeal to you, then you’d probably love a telecommuting job. Sometimes they can be hard to come by, but FlexJobs just released their 3rd annual list of Top 100 Companies to Watch for Telecommuting and Remote Jobs, which can give you a start on your pajama wearing job hunt.*

Here are the top 100 companies that are advertising for telecommuting positions.

  1. LiveOps
  2. TeleTech
  3. Amazon

To keep reading (and see the rest of the telecommuting friendly companies) click here: Top 100 Companies to Watch For Telecommuting Jobs

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Applying for New Jobs While on FMLA

by Evil HR Lady on February 1, 2016

I work in a hospital where we just hired a new boss 15 months ago. She has literally run people off and fired several others. Her expectations are unreasonable. I have been hoping they were going to get rid of her, but it doesn’t look that way.

I have been needing shoulder surgery and have put it off. I decided to get the surgery done in hopes she might not be there when I come back. That doesn’t look like it is going to happen.

While I am out for surgery, I was informed of a new job in another hospital. It looks like no one has applied for the position.

My dilemma is, my employer does not know if I am out longer than the 12 weeks, that I will have my job when I get back. (That is in 3 weeks) My doctor states I will not be able to do CPR until after that time.  Human Resources has stated they can not promise me the job after the time FMLA is done. They will not let me do direct patient care with any restrictions.

Can I apply for this job while I am on leave? What is the consequence of doing so? Can they take my pay back? On one of the FMLA paperwork, it states no job hunting while on FMLA. Is that true? I do not want to be in some legal battle.

I do not want to miss this opportunity. I really would love this opportunity.

I am answering this question even though I’m not 100 percent sure of the answer. I’m hoping someone with a lot more knowledge will weigh in in the comments.

Here’s what I do know. FMLA leave itself doesn’t prohibit someone from job hunting. It does prohibit people from doing things that they shouldn’t be able to do, due to the terms of their leave. So, in your case, if you were out shoveling snow with your shoulder that is incapable of performing CPR, that would be an FMLA violation–since you’re clearly lying about your shoulder abilities.

But interviewing for a job doesn’t aggravate your shoulder, so it’s not a violation of your leave.

Now, the thing I don’t know about is your paperwork stating that you can’t apply for jobs while you’re on FMLA. I don’t know whether that is legal or not. Personally, I would never, ever, not in a million years approve putting that language on FMLA paperwork. Why? Because it seems like FMLA interference to me.

Why? Because are other employees prohibited from looking for new employment? Is it company policy that they fire everyone who goes on a job interview? If so, then there’s no need to put it in the paperwork. If not, then isn’t it a restriction on people on FMLA?

That’s my logic anyway.

But, let’s assume that it’s legal for them to punish you for job hunting while on FMLA. How can they punish you? They can fire you. They can demote you. They can give you less favorable shifts. But, they can only do this if they would do it to people who are also job hunting while not on FMLA. (I believe.)

My advice? Apply for the job. Your company policy will determine if you have to pay back health insurance premiums if you quit rather than come back from FMLA. It’s doubtful you’d have a job offer within 3 weeks anyway, and if you’re not cleared for work, they might well terminate you at that point anyway. (Which is legally sketchy, because ADA kicks in here and it might be considered reasonable to hold your job for another month or two.)

You hate where you work. You want to pursue this new opportunity. It’s doubtful your current company would find out. I’d interview.

But, I’d really like to learn more about the legalities of having that restriction on FMLA paperwork. Anyone?

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Is It Time to Build an HR Team?

by Evil HR Lady on February 1, 2016

An HR team might be one of the last things on your mind when you start a business. Instead, you’re worried about big-picture issues such as developing a business plan and finding investors. Most small businesses have someone assigned to HR duties by the time they start hiring employees, but when is the right time to change from “Bob does the HR paperwork” to “This is our new HR team”? We’ll break it down step by step.

Step 1: The Outside Experts

Before you have enough employees to justify a full-time HR person, you should consult with an employment attorney in your state to make sure your pay policies are legal. The Fair Labor Standards Actapplies to you as soon as you hire your first employee, so be careful here. Draft an employee handbook with vacation, sick time and nondiscrimination policies, as well.

When you’re recruiting, you probably don’t need an outside expert if your focus is particularly on people you’ve worked with before, but if you need to hire someone from outside your circle, consider hiring a recruiting firm to help you out.

To keep reading, click here: Is It Time to Build an HR Team?

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Why You Should Hire a Gossip

by Evil HR Lady on January 29, 2016

Typing that headline makes me cringe. I have a long record or opposing gossip in the workplace (and out of the workplace). Bullies often use gossip to achieve their self-centered goals. Bullies can cause tremendous damage to the workforce, and so can gossips. You know, the mean types who make up stuff and purposely set out to destroy their targets’ reputations? But it turns out that there is good in gossip.

What’s the good in gossip? It controls social behavior. Psychology Professor Frank T. McAndrew, in his article, Gossip Isn’t a Flaw-It’s a Necessary Social Skill, writes that while we’ve seen the effects of cruel gossip, but not all gossip is cruel. Some of it demonstrates social skills.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Should Hire a Gossip

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The Digital Designation’s Death Knell

by Evil HR Lady on January 28, 2016

In early 1999 I had a job interview with a market research firm. One of the things they asked me about was my ability to use a search engine to find information on the internet. Google had just been founded a few months earlier and internet searching was difficult. The fact that I was good at doing internet searches was a plus on my resume-one of the reasons they’d called me in.

Now? Can you imagine someone putting that they could find information on the internet on their resume? Outside of specialized research librarian jobs that would be a ridiculous thing to put on a resume. But, it wasn’t ridiculous 17 years ago. Now, even small children have what was once an actual skill, so no need to mention it.

To keep reading, click here: The Digital Designation’s Death Knell

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Even Tiny Companies Need a Handbook

by Evil HR Lady on January 27, 2016

Large companies aren’t the only businesses that need an employee handbook. Even before you hire your first employee, you should establish your company’s policies and procedures in writing to help protect yourself, your business and your employee. Here are some best practices on what your handbook should cover and how you can distribute it.

What to Include

Include all policies and procedures in clear language. These might be discussion points that come up in the interview process, but it is worth setting forth in writing to reference later. If applicable, you may want to include an at-will employment disclaimer stating that the company or employee can terminate the relationship at any time, and for any (lawful) reason. Here are a number of common points covered in handbooks:

  • What is the vacation policy? Can employees use their vacation time as soon as they are hired, or does it accrue over time? What is the vacation request process? What are the legally mandated time-off policies in your area?

To keep reading, click here: An Employee Handbook Is Important for Companies of Any Size

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