American culture says that salary information is confidential; 43 percent of married couples couldn’t correctly name their spouse’s salary. Some were off by as much as $25,000. We don’t talk about salaries with our friends and family, and we certainly don’t talk about them with our co-workers. Leaving a list of salaries on the copy machine is certainly a fireable offense in many companies. But, despite all the confidentiality, it’s all self-imposed. Federal law protects your right (and the right of your employees) to discuss their working conditions–including salary.

So, some people at Google did just that. Erica Baker, a former Google employee, created a spreadsheet on which people could report their own salaries. According to Baker, management freaked out. She told the story through a series of tweets. After Baker created the spreadsheet and word of it started spreading, she got called in by her supervisor. Here’s the critical part.

To keep reading, click here? Think Salaries Are Confidential? Google Found Out They Aren’t



6 Recommendations for Dealing with a PIP

by Evil HR Lady on July 29, 2015

I was previously on a performance improvement plan (PIP) and just yesterday was given 90 days to improve or be fired. Honestly, I love my work however my boss has a low perception of me and I don’t feel the situation is mendable.  Still getting over it…

I have a masters and BS in engineering so I am 70% sure that I can find a new job but I had a question about severance. Do you think I should hold out for the severance pay and is there going to be any? 

Or should I quit now because I’m totally over it and a little concerned how future employers will see it.

To read the answer, click here: 6 Recommendations for Dealing with a PIP


The Boss’s Jealous Wife

by Evil HR Lady on July 21, 2015

I’m the Corporate office manager of a company, so I handle everything on the business side of things. I work as the accountant, secretary, bookkeeper, payroll, HR and much more. So because of that my boss (the owner) and I work pretty closely as I have to approve most things through him.

Well, his wife is a very jealous person and as soon as I met her I could tell she didn’t like me. My boss was out of town last week and his wife came into my office and started screaming at me telling me that I had been an hour late every day and that I was taking too long at lunch. (I am 20 minutes early every day and bring my lunch to work and eat it at my desk while still working).

We have a time clock so it’s not like I could even lie about when I get to work or when I click out. She tells me that I’m manipulating the system and taking advantage of her husband when I really have done nothing wrong. I’ve only been here for 2 months so I feel like she has so much influence on whether or not I stay. I feel like she is sabotaging my career and that’s not okay with me. What can I do?

Bad bosses let their family members influence their business decisions. Good bosses control the family members. I don’t know which kind of boss you have, but you need to find out.

This will be unpleasant, but you need to tell your boss what happened while he was gone. Try an opening statement like this, “Jim, this is a little awkward, but when you were gone last week, Holly came in. She was very angry with me, said I was coming in late and taking long lunches and that I was taking advantage of you. None of this is true. I wanted you to be aware and let you know it was very uncomfortable.”

Then let him respond. His response will tell you what you need to know. In general, you’ll get one of the following responses:

1. Total defense of his wife. YOU must have done SOMETHING wrong. She’s very astute about employees. If this happens, brush up your resume and get the heck out of this place (don’t quit, though, until you have something new lined up). Your life will be a living hell if you stay there and you may end up fired.

2. Wishy washy response. “You just have to ignore Holly. She can be a bit difficult, but, well, you know.” In this case, your job is probably secure, but you won’t be able to trust your boss to stop this from happening again. The wife will be annoying, but as long as she’s not around, it won’t be too bad.

3. Proper response. “I apologize for my wife. I will speak to her and it won’t happen again.” And then he follows through and you never see the wife again. Now, before I get screamy comments and emails about how husbands shouldn’t control wives, wives shouldn’t show up at their husband’s businesses and abuse the employees.

To be honest, response 3 is unlikely. Since the business didn’t begin yesterday, chances are the wife has done this before and she’ll do it again. My guess is that if you haven’t had problems with the boss or the wife before this trip, that you’ll get response 2.

Crazy family members happen. How bad this is depends on how often the boss goes out of town and how often the wife shows up. You can ask the other employees if her behavior is frequent. You might also want to find out if the person who held your position previously left because of the jealous wife.

You have to decide if the boss will give into the wife’s paranoia or if she’ll just be annoying. If there’s a possibility that it won’t be a mere annoyance, start looking for a new job right now. Life is too short to suffer with the boss’s crazy wife.



6 Points in Time When an Employer Needs an Attorney

by Evil HR Lady on July 17, 2015

No business owner starts out with the idea that he’s going to be the subject of an employment lawsuit. After all, very few owners have the intention of breaking any laws. (Granted, there are some people who do have the intention of breaking the law, but they aren’t the type who will research best practices on the internet.)

The problem is, that employment law is complex. Crazily complex, actually. Sometimes, you need an employment law attorney, but you don’t want to waste your money on high legal fees.

To keep reading, click here: 6 Points in Time When an Employer Needs an Attorney


How to Formally Complain about Harassment at Work

by Evil HR Lady on July 15, 2015

Harassment in the workplaceis illegal. When harassment occurs, you need to officially report the problem. Using sexual harassment as an example, this is how to approach making an official complaint.

Sexual Harassment

When you feel like you’re being sexually harassed, you need to file a formal complaint. Your company probably has procedures in place. Most likely these say to report it to your boss or the Human Resources Department.

To keep reading, click here: How to Formally Complain about Harassment at Work


James was fired from his jobfor missing 3 days of work during the first 90 days on the job. Pretty straight forward, right? The company had a clear policy – 3 days gone and you’re out – and the HR department applies it fairly and across the board.

No exceptions. Sounds like a great sick leave policy with no room for bias or discrimination to play a role. Except consider the following additional facts.

  1. James came in every day and his supervisor sent him home because he appeared ill.
  2. James wasn’t actually contagious – he was just suffering side effects from an antibiotic and brought a note in from his doctor to verify this fact.
  3. James worked in a hospital, so if he had been contagious, he would have posed a hazard to already ill patients.
  4. James’ supervisor had no idea that sending him home until his symptoms subsided would result in a termination. She fought the termination, but ultimately lost.

To keep reading, click here: Discover How Your Rigid Sick Leave Policy Hurts Your Business


The Perils of Being Helpful

by Evil HR Lady on July 14, 2015

I have worked in Human Resources for 5 years and I am really proud of the work that I do; however, I found myself recently lying about my title and job duties to acquaintances. I find myself constantly being asked to help find people a job. I started working at a world renowned organization about 18 months ago and these requests are coming up a lot. So much so that friends of friends are starting to contact me. I’ve had two recent experiences where I was told off and made to seem like a terrible person because I didn’t help enough in landing those people a job. I guess providing links to job postings and offering suggestions to beef up resumes wasn’t what they were looking for. Any advice on how to handle these situations?

Well, it goes with the territory with just about any job. I get tons of requests from friends and family and friends of family, but to be honest, last week my 7 year old took a header on his bicycle into a wooden fence–which snapped in half due to the force of his head–and instead of taking him to the emergency room, I took him to our scheduled 4th of July party. Why? Because I knew our friend, Curtis, MD, would be there. He checked out my kid and then we barbecued things. Because, what’s more American than grilled food?

And so, while you and I might complain, sometimes you probably even hit up some of your friends for help. Here are some things to think about.

People don’t want help, they want solutions. I don’t do resume reviews for random readers, but I do for friends and relatives. I’ve probably done hundreds of these over the years. What I do is go over the resume and tell them where they can make improvements. I never actually rewrite the resume, though. I’ll then say, “If you want to make the changes I suggested, then send it back, I’ll give it a second look.” I can count on one hand the number of people who did this.

Everyone else was just hoping that I’d redo their resume for them. Not gonna happen. So, they disappear. The same thing with most referrals. I’ll introduce people and they don’t follow up. It happens. People think we have magical job hunting abilities, but we don’t. We may have more insight, but there’s still a ton of work and the only person who can do it is the job hunter.

You need to maintain your status as a friend first. Be clear when someone asks for help, just say what you can do. Don’t say, “Yes, I’ll help you get a job,” say, “I’ll submit your resume to the hiring manager, but since I haven’t worked with you, I can just recommend you as a friend. It’s up to the hiring manager to proceed.” Or, “Gosh, I’d love to help you, but I don’t have any special insights to that company. Have you thought about seeing if you have any LinkedIn connections?”

Then commiserate about how job hunting is awful. Maybe share some of your own job hunting horror stories. Don’t ever give the idea that you can get someone a job. Do the things that friends do, not the things that headhunters do.

Recognize that not everyone who claims to be a friend is a friend. 6 years ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Switzerland. Switzerland has a high cost of living, and so we now live in a 900 square foot apartment. This was a huge change from our 3700 square foot home in PA. This small apartment means we have no guest room. No spare beds. A couple of couches, that’s it. When we first moved, people started crawling out of the woodwork. Cousins I hadn’t seen since they were in diapers. People I hadn’t talked to in 15 years. They all were dying to come to Switzerland. I responded to each the same way, “We’d love to see you! Unfortunately, we don’t have room for you to stay with us, but I can recommend a hotel or a youth hostel and we’d love to have you over for an authentic Swiss dinner!” None of these people actually ended up taking trips to Switzerland. We were only on their list because they thought they could get a European vacation without paying for accommodations.

You’ll find that people who want you to help them find a job are the same way. And, who can blame them? When you’re looking for a job, having an expert to help is awesome. And you can help them if you want because you’re nice. But, they aren’t your friends. Don’t forget that. Your friends are the people who would happily help you and who won’t get angry if you can’t.

Helping is difficult. Helping isn’t always as easy as being nice. Lots of people who would benefit from your expertise wouldn’t dare ask for help. Lots of people who won’t benefit from your expertise get angry at you for trying your best because your best didn’t land them their dream job. Some people you help, and pull in favors, and invest your time, and then they quit the new job after 2 weeks because the boss meanly wanted them to arrive on time every day. It’s frustrating.

Don’t give up, though. You help because you are a nice person. What people do with your help is their business.




What Your Boss Doesn’t Want You to Know

by Evil HR Lady on July 9, 2015

Employees are often scared of their managers—after all, managers have a tremendous amount of power over their direct reports.

But, what we perceive as reality isn’t always true. There are some things your manager would really prefer you didn’t know.

Here are five of them:

1. I Can’t Fire You

Sure, one of the definitions of manager tends to be hire/fire power, but the reality is, in the vast majority of companies managers don’t have the ability to unilaterally fire their employees. What they do have the power to do is recommend a termination, but they can’t carry through without a sign-off from the Human Resources department and their boss, and often the boss’s boss.

Why is this? Well, companies have set policies in place for terminations. Usually, if the reason for termination is poor performance, companies have a set 30, 60 or 90 day performance improvement program (often called a PIP) that the manager must go through in order to terminate. This gives the employee a chance to fix problems and avoid termination.

Now, this doesn’t mean that if you get caught stealing you won’t be kicked to the curb by the end of the day, but everyone will be happy to sign off on that quickly.

Companies want to make sure the procedures are followed so that there isn’t anything unfair. The policies allow for double checking to make sure no one is terminated because of race or gender and that similar consequences happen for similar bad behavior.

To read the other 4 things, click here: What Your Boss Doesn’t Want You to Know

Read more:


Americans don’t get much vacation time.

For instance, the average employee with five years at a particular company receives about 12 days of paid vacation, compared to the mandatory 20 days for members of the European Union. After living in Europe for six years, I can attest that people take that vacation as well. In fact, our first summer here my husband’s boss announced he was going diving in the Maldives—for four weeks. He didn’t even take his laptop.

Did the department wither without the boss’s leadership? Were there terrible consequences for him when he returned after four weeks of being out of pocket? Absolutely not. Everyone considered it normal behavior. Everyone but us, the Americans.

Why is it that Americans not only don’t have the same amount of vacation as other countries, but we don’t take what we do have? That’s right, according to a recent survey by Korn Ferry, even executives—the bosses—are not taking the vacation their companies have granted them.


How to Lead Without Carrots or Sticks

by Evil HR Lady on July 7, 2015

“If you exceed all your goals for the year, you’ll get a 20 percent bonus.” “If you come in late again, I’m writing you up. The next step after that is a final warning. Then, if you come in late a 3rd time, you’re fired.” So many managers rely on these carrots and sticks to get performance out of their employees. And why not? They work, don’t they? We work hard to get the bonus, or we straighten up and fly right in order to keep from getting fired. Anyone can do carrot/stick management. But, leaders lead without carrots or sticks. Can you learn how to do that? You bet. Here’s how.

Behave how you want your team to behave.

Do you come in late, but hate it when your staff does that? Do you want all emails responded to the same day, but it takes you 3 weeks and 6 reminders to answer a question from a direct report? It’s no wonder this method doesn’t work. If you want toconvey that something is important, do that thing yourself.

To keep reading, click here: How to Lead Without Carrots of Sticks

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