August 2012

Should I sign that employment contract?

by Evil HR Lady on August 31, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I recently joined a young software company. I love the company, and my boss is great. The only thing that worries me is the invention agreement I’ve been asked to sign. It says that anything I create, even anything off company time and without company resources, is theirs. I’m happy to give them anything I’m paid to create, but I feel like anything I create on my own time with my own tools should be mine. How do I avoid signing something I might regret without starting off on the wrong foot with my boss?

To read the answer (which includes advice from the fabulous Donna Ballman) click here: Should I sign that employment contract?


My coworker keeps ratting us out

by Evil HR Lady on August 30, 2012

Hi Evil HR Lady,
I came across your website and decided to write you right away – I am having a hugely difficult time with a co-worker of mine.  So here is the deal:
Our team is split in two offices in two separate locations
This co-worker –  shares an office with our President and CEO and our Vice President.
The rest of us are in another office.
She has build a strong relationship over the years with many of our customers so when some of them have problems they contact her instead of the Sales Rep they have been dealing with.
Following this – she will then call the Sales Rep whose client had the problem and speak loud enough for everyone to hear in her office (namely the CEO and VP) to inform them of the ticked off client and situation.  In her words she is only doing this to “make the sales rep aware” and “protect them” and “give them the heads up.”  So to a naive person they think she is helping but to a more season sales veteran we know exactly what is going on.  The problem is the CEO and VP are only hearing one side of the story.  Her evil intent is to make herself look like the savoir of the day to the big guys while throwing the sales rep under the bus. 
So the big question is – how do I expose this co-worker?
You don’t. Your customer is calling to complain. The Pres, CEO and VP want to know when there is a disgruntled client. I suggest you work on building your relationships with your clients so that they call you instead of her.
What can this coworker do for them that you cannot? What’s preventing you from doing that level of service? Somehow you are not meeting the needs of your clients and she is.
I agree that she’s not being nice. But don’t be so naive as to think that the muckity-mucks of senior management don’t understand that she’s trying to make other people look bad. They aren’t stupid either. It’s super obvious when someone does the loud talking thing.
If you improve your customer service, your clients will call you and this problem will go away.


5 things a boss must do before firing someone

by Evil HR Lady on August 30, 2012

As a manager, one of the most difficult things you must do is fire a bad employee. Once you’ve made the decision there are five things you need to do before sitting down with the employee.

To keep reading click here: 5 things a boss must do before firing someone


Is this a trick question?

by Evil HR Lady on August 28, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I recently interviewed for an area I have 5+ years experience in. I had sent a Thank you follow up to my interview and heard nothing and just sent an email to the HR recruiter asking to touch base on when they were looking to fill the position and received this response:

Hi Jane,

I hope all is well, and thanks for following up.
We are still in the interviewing process, but we also have a [similar position on a product line I have no experience in] available.
Would you be interested in that role?


How do I respond to this email? Is she basically saying I didn’t get the position I interviewed for or is this a trick question and another opportunity to why I think I deserve and am qualified for the position I originally interviewed for?  I would think would be less of a fit for me and less likely to nail that interview so this is a tricky email.

It’s not a trick question. It also doesn’t mean that you won’t get the original job. It simply means that another position has opened up. It’s similar to the one you interviewed for and the recruiter is simply asking if you are interested.

Now, the question is, are you? Would you take that job if offered? Because if you would, you should say, “Yes, I would be interested in learning more about this position.” If you are not, you should say that you are not interested and, of course reiterate why you are a great fit for the first job.

The recruiter’s job is to find the best candidates and fill positions. If she has a candidate that she thinks may work for two positions, there’s no reason to not put the candidate forward for both. (Well, given that the two managers are rational people and won’t get into a fight over a particular candidate.) Also, some positions are easier to fill than others. There may be 15 qualified candidates interviewing for the first job, and no one has applied for the second, so she’s trying to move some people over.

Don’t over think it. Just answer the question. Are you interested?


What should your LinkedIn title be?

by Evil HR Lady on August 27, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

My temporary position will be ending in a month, and I’m trying to apply to the most relevant jobs out there, temp or perm. My question is this: When the job wraps, do I keep my current title on LinkedIn or change it to something goofy like “seeking an exciting new opportunity!” I wouldn’t think it was a big deal but several companies I am applying to are using an “Apply with LinkedIn” option so I can’t help but think they are checking, and I don’t want to misrepresent myself.

To read the answer click here: What should your LinkedIn title be?


Can my employer cut my paid time off

by Evil HR Lady on August 27, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am an exempt employee working 12 hour shifts, 36 hours on week 1, and 48 hours on week 2. For the past 4 years our previous manager required us to use 8 hours of  Paid Time Off (PTO) per vacation day. Unfortunately this manager has moved on to a new company and I am left with a new manager and some unwelcome changes. In a bid to reduce the amount of coverage needed due to PTO my new manager is requiring us to use 12 hours of PTO per vacation day, turning our 22 days of PTO into 14.6 days. How can he do this?

To read the answer click here: Can my employer cut my paid time off?


Talking about bullying with Stephanie Thomas

by Evil HR Lady on August 23, 2012

In a few short hours I’ll be on The Proactive Employer with Stephanie Thomas. It starts at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

We’re discussing bullying legislation and why you should care about it. And guess what? You can ask questions. Here’s the info you need to ask and to listen in:

Listener Line: 1-888-553-6673
Tweet questions with hashtag #TPESHOW

Options for Listening to the Installment:
1. Listen live or on-demand at BlogTalkRadio:
2. Listen on-demand at The Proactive Employer website:


My coworker wants my job

by Evil HR Lady on August 23, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have been in my position of HR for over a year at my present company. Everything has been going well so far in my role but I noticed one of my co-workers is trying to undermine me at every turn. Now I’ve read past responses with difficult co-workers you have mentioned, but this young lady is subtle in how rude she is to me, and is currently trying to get me excluded from projects.

I won’t bore you with our countless interactions, mostly me trying to be nice and her being very cold/nonchalant to me, but overtly kind with any other employee she interacts with. She hasn’t exactly made it a secret she’s wanted my job from the start, and recently has been in meetings, mentioned to other co-workers (I have good ears) that I’m too busy to be involved and she could easily handle whatever duties are relevant to me (besides confidentially ones). 

I’m trying to find out how I can interact with her, in a kind way, but not in a way that negates the rude behavior she’s displayed toward me? We have cubes right next to each other, and are supposed to interact daily, but lately (last 2 months) I’ve stopped talking to her socially because it was like talking to a wall. I wouldn’t mind not talking to her but now she’s trying to get me excluded from projects, or is constantly suggesting herself for job duties I could be doing (not exactly duties in my arena but in the HR field)…Is there any way I can hint to a superior that she has issues/should leave/acts more robotic than human/ etc… ?

The only other thing is she’s been here longer than I have, is actually very competent, and no one else has any problems with her. What can I do?

First, I would talk directly to Shelly. Be blunt. “Shelly, I understand that you wanted my job. However, for whatever reason, it’s my job and it’s difficult for me to do what needs to be done when you try to take over my projects. Please let me do my work.”

She’ll deny that’s what she’s doing. But, there’s this weird thing that goes on in some people’s brains when they are passed over for promotion/job/whatever. I’m betting that she’s normally a nice person, but somehow she’s gotten it into her brain that this job is supposed to be HERS and you STOLE it from her, making you some sort of sub human criminal. And because you are a sub human criminal it doesn’t matter that she’s rude to you.

She’s probably be horrified if she observed this same behavior in someone else. It’s weird, I tell you, but I’ve seen it before.

Every time she make a comment say, “Thank, Shelly, but I’ve got that.”

I would mention it to your boss (especially if you report into the same person). “Jane, I just wanted you to know that Shelly appears to be upset that she didn’t get my position. She’s doing x, y, and z. Is there any particular way you’d like me to handle this?”

This way you’re not whining, you’re just checking in.



How to handle an exit interview

by Evil HR Lady on August 22, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,
I read your article, “How much information should you give when resigning,” and you said you are supposed to remain positive and keep all the concerns to yourself in exit interview. If we do this, how will they ever know to change? Not my issue?

To read the answer click here: How to handle an exit interview


I refused a job transfer–now what?

by Evil HR Lady on August 20, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,I have been with my company for five years. Recently, I was told my job as department head was being eliminated but that I was being offered a new job at the same pay band. This new position would eventually report into the new department head, who would be brought in one [compensation] band higher that my current job. I say this move is a demotion. If my department’s new leader will be in a higher band that my current band, then my current job (which has an outdated job description) is under-ranked, and the new job they are offering me is a demotion. 

I argued for severance instead. They provided a draft severance package and gave me a five-day time frame to review it, after which the offer would be off the table. They have since relented by giving a few more days and said my lawyer can contact their lawyer if more time is needed. 

If I do not accept the severance package (a low-ball offer compared to their severance policy, which they claim I don’t qualify for because the new job I was offered is in the same pay band) and do not accept the new job, they will treat it as a resignation (documented in an email from HR). I have told them verbally that I will not resign. Is it possible to resign by refusing to accept a new job? To me, that seems more like a firing. Incidentally, I am in my 40s, female and black. Suggestions?

Note: In a email from HR, my company stated that I, as department head, am not doing the work the new head will be doing and that I am not qualified for the new head position. However, despite my asking, they have refused to show me the job description, objectives or qualifications for that new position.

To read the answer click here: I refused a transfer–now what?