8 Ways to Gain Respect from Your Coworkers

by Evil HR Lady on April 22, 2016

Some people just walk into a room, and every eye and ear are immediately tuned into them. Is it magic? Doubtful. In reality, that person has worked hard over the years to gain the respect of the people who work around him. You can gain respect as well. Here are eight secrets about how to become respected at work.

Follow the Rules

Sure, on television, it’s always the rogue cop or the office worker who pushes the limits that win the rewards and praise. In real life, it’s the person who does what they are supposed to do. This is especially important if you’re the boss.

The boss who slacks off, comes in late, leaves early and spends more time shopping online than working won’t engender respect. While the effect of rule following isn’t as strong among peers, it still plays a critical role. People don’t respect people who don’t respect the rules.

To keep reading, click here: 8 Ways to Gain Respect from Your Coworkers


Congress Realizes New Overtime Rules Stink

by Evil HR Lady on April 21, 2016

Last summer the Department of Labor released a new proposal for a change in overtime laws. Significantly, regardless of job duties, employees will have to earn
$50,440 per year before they can be considered exemptfrom overtime. The change hasn’t been implemented yet (the proposed date is September 2016), but business owners are already in a panic.

Why? The previous threshold was only $23,660, so this throws a lot of jobs–an estimated five million, in fact–into the pot. This is a huge deal and will cause lots of problems for business owners and employees alike. Guess who just figured it out?

Congress. And boy, are they not happy. Walter Olson, atOverlawyered, pointed me toward statements by some congressmen that they are panicked about the new rule.

For example, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla) says, “We don’t have a set-hour kind of situation here; some kids work 12, 14, 16 hours a day, weekends, and I feel terrible that I cannot afford to give raises to the staff.”

Rep. Hastings, I’m sitting here crying buckets of tears for you. Buckets, I tell you. He continued, “I don’t see how we could pay overtime” for the “17 or 18 people that each of us is allowed to have–that’s problematic for me.”

To keep reading, click here: Congress Realizes New Overtime Rules Stink


Dilemma of the Month: Saying ‘No’ to New Titles

by Evil HR Lady on April 20, 2016

We are a mid-sized nonprofit with a three-tiered structure. We are hiring for a new senior marketing position, and I decided to go with CMO for the title to help recruit a rock star from within our industry to potentially serve as my No 2. My director of fundraising, who I personally recruited four years ago, wants her title changed to Chief Advancement Officer for parity. She does good work but in my mind is not C-level material. I don’t want to demotivate or lose her, but I do want to be honest. I also don’t want to connect the two issues – hiring a new lead marketing director with a job title change for the development director.

To read the answer, click here: Dilemma of the Month: Saying ‘No’ to New Titles


Compete With Millennial Business Owners and Succeed

by Evil HR Lady on April 19, 2016

A favorite subject of media these days is millennials. Coverage ranges from singing their praises to criticizing them for their habits and preferences. The reality is that millennial business owners are very good at some things — social media, new ideas, marketing to a young audience — and not so good at others. For instance, just by virtue of being young, they lack the experience that more seasoned business owners have.

If your small business is competing for customers against millennial business owners, keep these five tips in mind.

1. Remember Who Has the Money: Millennials may grab some headlines, but Gen Xers and baby boomers have the money — and you may have the upper hand with those demographics. Focus your marketing on financially stable groups that you are already familiar with, and you’ll do better.

To keep reading, click here: Compete With Millennial Business Owners and Succeed


Why Women Only Chariot Could Crash

by Evil HR Lady on April 18, 2016

You may have heard of Chariot–a new female-only taxi service–is set to launch soon in Boston. While it sounds like a great idea–lots of women feel more comfortable driving with an unknown woman rather than an unknown man–I doubt it will survive the court challenges that are set to come.

What’s wrong with a female-staffed business that caters only to females (and male children up to age 13)? Well, lots of things. To make it easy to see the problem, simply switch the genders. What about a ride sharing service that employees only men? Or that says, “white people are more comfortable riding with white people, so we only hire white people and only give rides to white people and children of any race under age 13″? Yeah, the problem is pretty obvious.

There are some jobs where gender is actually a valid hiring requirement. It’s called a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) and it’s not handed out to make people feel more comfortable. For instance, customer preferences aren’t a valid reason for limiting your hiring pool by race, gender, religion, or another characteristic.

To keep reading, click here: Why Women Only Chariot Could Crash


An employer notes exact times of leaving the office. However, the supervisor is gone 2 hours before I am gone. The only way I think this supervisor knows If I leave 10 minutes early by the cameras located in the hallway I am located in. Is this legal without the employee’s knowledge?

Actually, everyone leaves the corridor at around 3:30 to 4:00pm daily. I am the only one left and yes I have left sometimes 10-15 minutes earlier than my shift ends which is at 5:30, but my supervisor asked that I take leave for the time I left early, which I declined because on my I am “EXEMPT.” She then docked 1.75 hours of annual leave. Can she do this?

Yep. She absolutely can. You were taking time off. And employees have zero expectation of privacy at the office. Although, I doubt that your supervisor is reviewing the security footage every night in the hopes of catching you leave early.

Now, let’s talk about the shoulds here and what I suspect is really going on. Everyone else leaves by 4:00 and you’re supposed to be there until 5:30. I’m guessing this is because your boss needs to have someone at the office until 5:30 and it’s you. That’s your job.

Being exempt doesn’t mean you aren’t subject to schedules. Think about it from the view of a grocery store manager. A manager always has to be on staff so of course you have to schedule. One manager can’t just say, “Hey, I’m exempt! I’m leaving!” She has to get someone to cover for her.

Now, your supervisor gets a gold star for not attempting to dock your pay, as that is illegal. She may or may not get a gold star for getting mad at you for leaving 15 minutes early from time to time. That depends on several things–if coverage is important, if you’re a high performer, if you are regularly working less than the expected amount, and if she’s talked to you about this before. Legally, none of this matters. A boss can determine working hours, even for an exempt employee. But, if you are a high performer and coverage isn’t critical, then your boss is a weenie. Yes, she’s a weenie even if you regularly put in less than 40 hours as long as you’re accomplishing everything at a very high level.

Now, of course, if you are regularly finishing your work long before 40 hours is up, you need to report this to your boss along with a list of suggestions for how you can expand your role.

So, what should you do? Apologize to your boss. Work the hours that she expects you to work, and if you need to leave early some day, ask her permission. No, I don’t think managers should have their vacation time docked for leaving 15 minutes early, but since you were trying to sneak out, that makes a difference.


Whenever I’m faced with a difficult decision, I ask myself WWMID? You may not be up on that acronym, so I’ll help you out. What Would Ma Ingalls Do? Maybe I should change that to be What Would Caroline IngallsDo? Because, after all, Caroline was a lot more than just a mother, but alas, I learned of her as Ma Ingalls.

What does this have to do with the idea of menstrual leave? Well, let’s ask Ma.

Me: Mrs. Ingalls, when women menstruate they need extra time off work, don’t you think?

Caroline Ingalls: I’m sorry, I need to go hoe the garden, wash laundry by hand with soap that I made myself, make 3 meals over an open fire even though it’s 90 degrees out, and keep an eye on Grace who has an annoying habit of wandering off. Then I need to repair the chicken coop so that foxes don’t eat my chickens, because if they do, we lose out on eggs and I’m hoping to be able to have enough money from selling the eggs to send my blind daughter to college. I’m distracted by all this work I have to do, so what did you ask again?

Me: Menstrual leave. You know, paid time off to deal with cramps?

To keep reading, click here: Menstrual Leave is an Embarrassment to Women’s Success


Do I have to disclose that I was fired?

by Evil HR Lady on April 15, 2016

I moved across the country for a new job. Everything they told me in the interview was a lie. I was abused and bullied to the point of medical issues and having to see a therapist. After inquiring about short-term disability medical leave, just today, I was fired from that job.

I was thinking about filing an EEOC complaint, but I’m so spiritually exhausted that I just want to move on now.

Legally, do I have to disclose that I was fired to future employers? Can I just say something like, “It was a bad fit” when they ask why I left?

First, I don’t blame you for just wanting to walk away. While some people feel the need to get legal justice, the reality is, filing a complaint is never an emotionally easy thing. If the EEOC takes your case it’s no guarantee that you’ll end up winning. A private attorney is the same thing–a long battle that’s emotionally and financially draining.

So, mostly, I think it’s a wise decision to just move on. File for unemployment and appeal if it’s denied, but letting it go after that is a rational choice.

Now on to your question–what do you have disclose? Well, on your resume, nothing. Since this job was a short one, you can even leave it off your resume if you wanted to. Remember, resumes are marketing documents not your life on a platter.

However, lots of companies ask you to fill out an application and those applications often ask two things: list all the jobs you’ve had in a certain time period and have you ever been fired from a job. You have to be honest here. Why? Because if you lie on this form and they find out, you’ll be eliminated from consideration and if it’s after you’re hired, you’ll be fired. Not a great thing. So, yes, you have to disclose it.

Your situation is tricky because of the medical leave request. While it’s illegal to discriminate against someone because of a disability or perceived disability, when you say, “I asked about short term disability and they fired me” you’re likely  to have interviewers concerned equally about the disability and the firing. The concern about your health is simply that when companies hire someone they want that person to work. If you’ve shown in the past that you need considerable time off for health reasons they’re concerned you’ll need it again. They shouldn’t do this, and I’d even argue that most of the discrimination that happens in this type of situation is subconscious, but it does happen.

So, while your previous company was absolutely horrible, pointing out just how horrible they were probably won’t get you anywhere good. So, I’d probably leave out the part about the medical leave request and go with the “bad fit.”

So, just as you proposed, talk about how it was a bad fit, and in the end they “let you go.” It might be tempting to talk about how awful they were, but it won’t serve you well in the job hunt.

Another thing you need to do is follow up with your former boss and the HR department to find out what they are going to say in a reference check. It’s in their best interest to not mention the disability application either as it’s like bragging, “Hey, we illegally discriminate!” But they may want to badmouth you in order to make themselves look better. While it’s perfectly legal to give a bad reference, that bad reference must be true.

My favorite employee side attorney, Donna Ballman, told me that she recommends clients hire a reference checking firm to find out what their previous employers are saying. In the past I’ve recommended using a friend, but Donna points out that a professionally documented reference check will hold up better in court. Now, I know you don’t want to go to court, but if they are giving a false reference, you will want to hire an attorney to send them a letter informing them that a false reference is illegal. Some reference checking firms will also provide this service. Usually a letter solves this.

On a side note, I never ever understand why hiring managers misrepresent jobs in the interviews. Be honest and you’ll get a better fit.


How to Get Consistent Performance from Employees

by Evil HR Lady on April 14, 2016

Some days are awesome, and some are awful. Some employees regularly knock it out of the park and others are in a perpetual slump. What you need, as a manager is employees that deliver consistent, high-quality performance.

While you can never have every day perfect (after all, you’re dealing with humans who get bad colds and who have fights with their husbands), you can get more consistent performance if you plan and prepare well. Here’s how.

Emulate the Pharmacists

Pharmacists are famous for delivering quality care to every person. If you come in on a Tuesday and speak to Pharmacist Jane, and then come back on Thursday and speak to Pharmacist John, both will know your condition, which medications you’re on and who your doctors are. Why? Because they document the heck out of everything.

Pharmacies can provide consistent care because they have consistent record keeping, and all pharmacists can access everyone else’s work. (Within the company, of course. Your CVS pharmacist can’t look up what a Walgreen’s pharmacist wrote.)

To keep reading, click here: How to Get Consistent Performance from Employees

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Your Executives Don’t Know Everything

by Evil HR Lady on April 13, 2016

When I was a child, it never once occurred to me that my parents didn’t know everything. I mean, sure, they didn’t understand what it was like to be in high school (because they were “so old”), but they obviously knew how to handle car repairs, when to see the doctor, and how to handle my rebellious siblings. (I, of course, was perfect.)

Then I became an adult—and learned that most of adulthood is just winging it.

Children have a whole group of people assigned to them to help them succeed—parents, teachers, older siblings, cousins—but adults either need to figure it out themselves or seek out their own mentors. The working world reflects this progression: Companies have all sorts of mentoring programs and succession planning programs for entry-level to middle management employees, but once you make the senior team, everyone kind of abandons you.

It’s the equivalent of saying, “Hey, you’re an adult now! You’re on your own.”

To keep reading, click here: Your Executives Don’t Know Everything