Before you go on a sales call, or to a job interview, or conduct a job interview, do you Google the person you’ll be meeting? If you have time, of course you do. If you don’t have time, you don’t, which can leave you unprepared for that meeting. Enter Charlie.

Charlie is a personal assistant that does the searching for you and sends you a report on everyone you’ll be meeting with today.

“It’s there to make you walk into every meeting prepared,” says Charlie App CEO and founder Aaron Frazin. He claims that it saves an average of 57 Google searches for each person you want information on. Charlie App’s motto? “Oh you weren’t doing that before? Now you are.”

To keep reading, click here: Prepare for All Your Meetings in 5 Minutes or Less with Charlie

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Dear Evil HR Lady,
I recently openly criticized the “head honcho” of my company. Amongst 3 or 4 co-workers, I let it be known that that I was growing tired of the consistent homophobic, sexist and racist remarks that the boss makes during company meetings. Of course, my comments made their way back to the boss.
A few days later, I went and had a very honest, forthright and civil discussion with him. I stood by my statement, but assured him that I had no intention of going to HR with these concerns. At this point, I concluded that everything was back to normal. I was wrong.

After 2 years with the company, and not having received one single complaint about my work ethic or abilities, I am suddenly under the microscope. Every move I make or task that I take on are being closely monitored. Petty mistakes are now a major ordeal. My immediate supervisors are constantly inquiring about my whereabouts and activities. It almost seems that they are building a case and getting ready to fire me. Today, I finally brought the situation to HR’s attention. Now crap has really hit the fan.

It was only 3 months ago that my employer told me I was due for a raise on the basis of good work and not ever having heard a complaint about me. I never got the raise, by the way. To summarize: I criticized the most powerful person in the building for inappropriate behavior. 2 years of good work has now been wiped off the table by my employer and everything I do is under scrutiny. Coincidence? I think not.

What’s my next best move? Thanks for your time.

Okay, you made 2 mistakes.

1. Talking about this with co-workers
2. Promising not to say anything to HR

So, let’s fix this. (Which may or may not be possible at this point.)

First, unless you are in a state (or city) where sexual orientation is a protected class, you’re going to have to let the “homophobic” stuff go. The courts are slowly moving to make that illegal under gender discrimination laws anyway, but I wouldn’t count on it, nor base your case on this.

But, discrimination based on race or gender are illegal. Because this is the site head, you can probably make a case that his statements are creating a hostile environment, even if you haven’t specifically suffered harm because of it. You’ll have a harder time if he’s complaining about Hispanic women and you’re neither Hispanic nor a woman, but that may or may not be relevant.

At this point, you may also wish to engage your own attorney. www.nela.org can give you a referral in your area. It will cost you. You can also file a complaint with the EEOC, but I have no idea what they’ll do with it. They are free, but selective in what they do. If you do hire an attorney, please listen to what your attorney says. And please don’t hire your next door neighbor who is a really  nice guy who practices family law. If you want to get divorced, call him. If you’re dealing with an employment issue, call an employment lawyer. Please. I beg you.

If you want to go this alone (totally understandably, lawyers cost money and employment lawsuits don’t usually result in huge windfalls), here’s what you do:

You want to write up everything that happened. Dates, times, with whom you spoke, etc. Email it to the appropriate off-site HR person (if there is a corporate office, I’m not clear if this guy is the president of the company or just the site director) with the following subject line: Official complaint of racial and sexual discrimination and retaliation. Do not, under any circumstances, soften that. You want to make it CLEAR that this is what you are complaining about. This is because HR has to investigate an official complaint and you have to give them time to fix the problem. When you’ve stated that this an official complaint of racism/sexism they can’t pretend that you were annoyed about something else.

And why send it to the off-site HR person? Because HR is never the boss and they are never completely independent. Site HR may have a hard line reporting relationship to corporate HR, but they have a dotted line reporting relationship to the site head. Guaranteed. Your local HR person reports in to the boss you are accusing of sexist/racist behavior and she’s concerned about her job. It shouldn’t affect how she handles this, but it could. If this is the president of the company, well, good luck.

Make sure you document how it has gotten worse since complaining. That’s retaliation. This is also illegal.

Also, copy your home email on the email you send to HR, so that you have a date and time stamp of when you sent it.

If you don’t already have copies of your good performance appraisals, try to procure them now and store them at home. You will need these if you get fired. Forward any emails from people praising your work to your home email as well. (Unless your company has a policy against emailing things outside the company. Then check your handbook to see what you’re allowed to do. You’d hate to go through all this and get fired for emailing yourself a document that said you are awesome.)

Last, and most importantly, start looking for a new job. I know, it’s unfair that this guy might win. But, here’s the thing: What is best for you? A job without a racist/sexist boss. What’s the easiest way to get one of those? To look while you still have a job. Once you’ve been fired (which may happen) you’ll have a much more difficult time.

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Do you want to be happy? Truly happy? And what about rich? If you want to be happy and rich, stop looking at what you don’t have and start looking at what you do have.

Last week, my Inc colleague, Jeff Haden, wrote an article titled: It Seems No One Is Actually Rich. Or Happy. I Looked. His experiences didn’t coincide with my experiences and my friends, so I asked my friends. They responded:

Eric wrote: “I’m happy. And on days when “it’s a bummer”, I punch myself in the face (usually figuratively) and get over it.”

To keep reading, click here: Lots of People are Happy and Rich. Here’s How to Be One of Them

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Your Employee Is Under Ebola Quarantine. Now What?

by Evil HR Lady on October 30, 2014

Let’s say you’re an employer in New York or New Jersey and one of your employees has been exposed to Ebola and is under mandatory quarantine. What are your obligations to the employee? And, frankly, what is your obligation to your remaining staff?

Think calmly. Before you have a freak out and start mandating all sorts of rules and thinking about firing this person because you never, ever want to be near him again, remember that the flu kills a lot more people than Ebola has and 90 percent of us come to work when sick. As many as 49,000 people die each year from the flu, in the United States alone. Worldwide since 1976, Ebola has claimed 6703 lives, total. So chill. When your employee returns, you’re not all going to be infected and die.

To keep reading, click here: Your Employee Is Under Ebola Quarantine. Now What?

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2 Halloween Posts

by Evil HR Lady on October 28, 2014

 

5 Tips For Your Office Halloween Party

Halloween is the greatest holiday. There are no obligations to go visit Grandma, or humor your mother by silently listening to Uncle Hank’s slightly offensive stories. You don’t have to make a fancy meal. You get to dress up in a costume and eat candy. And even if you don’t like costumes, you can still eat candy. Could there be a better holiday?

Well, not everyone loves Halloween like I do, which means that before you throw that office Halloween party you need to think about a few things. And, even more unfortunately, some people who love Halloween lack good sense. Jimmy Lin, Vice President of Product Management and Corporate Development at The Network, who helps clients with ethics and compliance issues like this every day, offered some tips for handling the Halloween fun.

To keep reading, click here: 5 Tips For Your Office Halloween Party

10 “scary” mistakes job seekers make

Job hunting is frightening for sure. Terrifying interviews, scary typos in your cover letter or resume, and the ever-constant fear you’ll never be hired.

But don’t worry. Tom Gimbel, CEO and founder of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing and recruiting firm has 10 tips to help you avoid scary job-hunting errors.

1. Skeletal resumes. Sending a resume and cover letter that’s bare-bones and generic is the fastest way to land in a hiring manager’s “no” pile. In order to make the strongest argument as to why you’re the right fit for the particular role, you should customize your resume for every job you’re applying to. If you’re sending generic materials, hiring managers can take that as a reflection of how you’ll be on the job — lazy.

To keep reading, click here: 10 “scary” mistakes that job seekers make

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The 4 Questions of Self-Appraisal for the CEO

by Evil HR Lady on October 27, 2014

One of the best things about being the boss is that no one tells you what to do. Scratch that: Your investors tell you what they expect, and you had better meet those expectations. Your mentors tell you where you’re screwing up. And your employees? They should be giving you feedback as well. But no one is writing up a performance appraisal.

You need to do this yourself. I’m positive that you’re looking at your financials–in fact, you’re probably poring over them with a fine-tooth comb. But, it’s going to be up to you to evaluate the other areas of your performance. Here’s what you need to look at:

To keep reading, click here: The 4 Questions of Self-Appraisal for the CEO

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Why performance reviews are so reviled

by Evil HR Lady on October 23, 2014

Lots of companies have an annual performance review that goes along with the calendar year, which means right now it’s probably on your mind. If you’re a manager, you’re dreading writing them. And unless you own the company, you’re probably dreading receiving yours — no matter if you’re a top notch employee. Even if your performance was fantastic, you know the review won’t necessarily reflect that.

Just how much does everybody hate the whole performance review process? A new survey by GuideSpark, an employee communications company, has some eye-opening answers:

To read just how badly performance reviews stink, click here: Why performance reviews are so reviled

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Lessons in Leadership From Donkey Hiking

by Evil HR Lady on October 22, 2014

Learning how to be a leader can happen through a seminar, or through living life. Often, though, lessons in leadership happen everywhere, and sometimes against our will.

My first mistake was having a late night meeting, leaving my husband and children home alone. By the time I got home at 10:00 pm the trek had been planned–four days of hiking with two donkeys.

So, this is how I found myself in southern France, with two donkeys, Romeo and Gaspard. While I expected to be brayed at and to smell a bit like a donkey (this, unfortunately, happened), I was surprised at the management lessons I learned.

To keep reading, click here: Lessons in Leadership from Donkey Hiking

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Why Neutral References Don’t Work

by Evil HR Lady on October 21, 2014

You want to protect your business, so you listened to your attorney and you implemented a policy of only “neutral” references. That is, you only confirm dates of service and title. This is a great policy, and the one recommended by many attorneys.

In fact, last week, I asked six labor and employment attorneys their opinion and all six said that should be your general policy, especially for bad employees. (They all had exceptions, as well, and you should especially note Donna Ballman’s point that you don’t want to keep your former employees unemployed.) As Jon Hyman said, if simply confirming dates and titles sends the message that this employee was terrible, why risk a lawsuit by giving details?

Absolutely. I totally agree. Except when it comes to people who worked for me. You want a reference on one of my former employees, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think. And, furthermore, since I don’t work for that company any more, there’s not any policy that is going to hold me back. I mean, what can they do? Fire me?

To keep reading about my dislike of neutral references, click here: Why Neutral References Don’t Work

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Nordstrom’s Awesome Employee Handbook is a Myth

by Evil HR Lady on October 21, 2014

Nordstrom’s famously has the shortest employee handbook ever. Here is the entire handbook:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

It’s totally awesome and I wish it were real. I truly do, because it would be great if we lived in a society where a company could make that their policy and have that be it. If all employees and managers were able to use good judgment, and you could trust your employees and management to make good judgments and stay out of court, that would be awesome. But, we know that isn’t the world we live in, at all.

To find out why it’s a myth, click here: Nordstrom’s awesome employee handbook is a myth

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