December 2012

Do you get enough vacation time?

by Evil HR Lady on December 26, 2012

*Cough, cough* “I’m not feeling well,” *cough* “So, I won’t be able to come in today.” Have you ever said that and then experienced a rather miraculous recovery by the time you hung up the phone? This magical cure is called, “Using a sick day as a vacation day,” and according to a new survey by Adecco, 47 percent of workers have used a sick day when they were really taking vacation.

To keep reading click here: Do you get enough vacation time?


How do I escape the secretary zone?

by Evil HR Lady on December 26, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I graduated with a BBA in Management in 2008 with a dream of becoming an Evil HR Lady like yourself. For the past 3 years I’ve been a legal secretary, and then spent several months as a secretary at a hospital. All this time I’ve been applying to HR jobs in the area citing my degree and any relevant work I’ve done (I have some experience with doing payroll, office management, and training). Obviously I haven’t gotten any of them, or I wouldn’t be writing; even a part-time HR position at a local plant which has been listed on their website for half of this year.

I’m currently unemployed and I’m afraid I’m already stuck in the secretary zone, forever managing self-important peoples’ calendars and making PowerPoints that no one ever looks at. I’ve had one interview for an HR position out of all that I’ve applied to, and I was runner up to someone who had some experience.

Most of the jobs I apply to require at least 3 years of experience in HR. How do I break into this field? What kind of job precedes HR Generalist? How do I get experience if every job requires experience? Friends suggest hounding companies I want to work for with resumes and cover letters every single day. Is bugging someone to death the way to do it?

To read the answer, click here: How do I escape the secretary zone?


Career tip: Let go of past wrongs

by Evil HR Lady on December 21, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I was employed with a huge international firm for about 10 years. I was at a co-worker’s desk when a manager came into the office, told me to shut everything down and take a call from my acting manager in another office. I was told I was fired. When I asked why, my manager said she did not know. I was in a director role in the company.

The manager then physically removed me from the office and told me to come back and get my personal belongings after hours. Do I have any recourse? Is there a statute of limitations before he can no longer make a claim? This happened in 2006.

I obtained new employment and after six months was called into my manager’s office and was told that, because of a “management decision,” I was being let go (this was in 2007). I asked if the management decision meant I was being fired and was told no. Since that time, this company has posted a number of opportunities for which I am qualified. Even though I submit applications, I never get an interview. Is there anything I can do about this?

To read the answer click here: Career tip: Let go of past wrongs


Betting at the office

by Evil HR Lady on December 21, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

Is running daily betting pools at work considered a separate small business for the person in charge of the betting pools?

Why do you ask? Do you want to run one, or do you want to get the person who is running one in trouble?

If you want to run one, ask the boss.

If you want to get the person who is running one in trouble, stop it.

If you are the boss, you get to choose.

It’s most likely illegal in whatever state you are in, but not exactly something the police bash doors down for. So, if I were the boss, I’d say, no. But if I were the coworker, I’d ignore it.


I’m polyamorous, can this hurt my job?

by Evil HR Lady on December 20, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

My live-in boyfriend of five years and I work for the same company, albeit in different departments. The company is big but our departments are relatively small, so all my immediate coworkers know him as my boyfriend and all his coworkers know me as his girlfriend, etc. The issue is, we are polyamorous; that is to say we have other partners that the other is fully aware of. We do not discuss this aspect of our personal lives with any of our coworkers, the only one who knows is a woman my boyfriend dated a long time ago who works in a different building.

The reason we don’t discuss it (or even keep photos of our other partners on our desks) is that we aren’t sure if it is something either of us can be fired for. We’re not married so we aren’t breaking whatever obscure adultery laws my state might still have on the books. I’ve been with the company for three years now, my reviews have always been very positive and I’ve been commended as a valuable, hard-working employee. However, I’m concerned that sooner or later someone will find out about our relationship. We live very close to some of our coworkers, and I’m really rather surprised that our more nosy-Nellies haven’t stumbled upon either of us having a date night with someone that we don’t live with.

Do I need to be extra discreet about my non-primary relationship, or is this something that can be overlooked given my job performance?

In all my experience, I have never run across this particular problem, but my gut instinct was that there is no law protecting polyamory. My other gut instinct was that, while most people would think it was a novelty, they probably wouldn’t really care.

And since I don’t get paid big bucks (ha!) to just guess about things, I consulted two experts. The first, my very conservative mother. Her response: “With everyone being so promiscuous anyway nowadays, I can’t see what is different here. Just tell people you’ve decided to date others.” Which is not really what I expected from her, but exactly what I expect from your coworkers. Because, let’s face it, nobody is as interesting to other people as they think they are.

The second was employment attorney Bryan Cavanaugh. He responded, “I agree with your view that there is generally no legal protection for this conduct and lifestyle, and so it would be legal for her employer to fire her for this.” Which is not what you wanted to hear. However, Cavanaugh did give a few caveats:

 An exception exists in a few states, like Colorado, that explicitly protect an employee from being discriminated against because of his or her lawful conduct outside the workplace during non-working hours. Engaging in polyamorous activity would presumably not violate any civil or criminal law. Therefore, in these states, there would be protection for polyamorous conduct.

So, in short, move to Colorado. Except that may not even be necessary. Cavanaugh explaned that while things such as sexual orientation and gender identity are protected in about half the states and some local governments, they focus more on identity, rather than action. “Polyamory is not so closely tied to this woman’s status as a heterosexual or identity as a woman that her conduct would be protected by sexual orientation or gender identity laws,” he said, but laws in this area are constantly expanding. He advises companies to stop and think:

Before the employer would discharge her (and/or her boyfriend) for this conduct, the employer should ask itself “so what”? Does the conduct of these two employees genuinely harm (or potentially harm) the workplace or the business? It probably does not since it is hard to see how this conduct would interfere with their abilities to perform their jobs. An employer should be prepared to answer two questions (at least to itself) before terminating someone’s employment because of this. First, why does this lifestyle matter, as far as the job goes? And second, what exactly is it about that lifestyle that makes the person unfit for the job? While it is unreasonable to expect an employer never to consider an employee’s character, past, or outside activities, this situation is another reminder that an employee’s ability to perform his or her job well should be the primary consideration in a company’s personnel decisions.

Polyamory is probably not going to help her in her job, because people may think she is “weird,” so being discreet is not a bad idea.

I fully agree. While it’s not likely to result in a firing, it’s also not likely to garner a promotion. Additionally, unless you are behaving inappropriately with your dates in public, your nosey-Nellie coworkers aren’t likely even to notice if they see you drive by with a man other than your live in boyfriend in the car. If they do, it’s your choice how to respond. “Oh yes, I went out with Steve Friday night,” may elicit a response of, “But I thought Dave was your boyfriend?” to which you can respond, “Of course! That doesn’t mean we don’t have other friends.” That will end all discussion, especially if Dave says something similar.

If you respond with, “I’m polyamorous and enjoy having multiple boyfriends!” it’s more likely to be a topic of discussion.

So, be discreet, but don’t worry about it all that much. It’s unlikely to be an issue at work in a large, non-religiously based company.


I cleaned out my inbox

by Evil HR Lady on December 19, 2012

Are you waiting for a reply from me? You probably won’t get it, and I’m sorry. I have never recovered from this summer. (For those of you who are waiting for responses as part of an ongoing conversation, I didn’t delete those emails.)

I just went through my email inbox and deleted 350 unread emails. If yours was in there and it’s important, please email me again.

My new year’s resolution is to be on top of my email. I get quite a few (hence the 350 email purge). I figured there was no way I was ever going to get to them all, and even if I did, your question from 6 months ago probably had already resolved itself.

I’m in a purging mood. I’ve also taken 19 bags of stuff to the thrift store. My family hides their treasures when they see me coming with my bag. Bwa-ha-ha, I cannot be stopped!!!




Lost your iPhone? You’re not alone

by Evil HR Lady on December 18, 2012

It’s Monday morning, do you know where all your electronic devices and data are? If not, you’re not alone. Fridays and Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. in December are when you are most likely to lose your smartphone, laptop or stack of business paperwork, according to a new survey by Mozy. As people transition from the work day to holiday party season, they are particularly likely to drop or forget their electronic equipment. In fact, 70 percent of people have lost a smartphone, laptop or other electronic storage device in the past 12 months.

To keep reading click here: Lost your iPhone? You’re not alone


My boss says I smell bad

by Evil HR Lady on December 18, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have been employed by my company for 11 years and prior to this year have not had any complaints. This year a fellow co-worker started accusing me of first, smelling like my dogs. When she “thought” I got rid of my dogs she started complaining of other smells. When I figured out who was complaining, the HR director stepped it up and got two different department directors involved. Now the HR director is telling me that these two directors are smelling trash, wet clothes that laid in the dryer too long, etc. This is absolutely not true.

She has met with me at least seven times this year, all on the same subject. I was even sent home. I have professionals that I work with that say that none of it is true. How do I defend against two directors and this nagging HR director? I also got written up for smelling. How does one defend against this? I’m at my wits end. Any help or advice would be great. I live in Florida.

To read the answer (with helpful advice from Donna Ballman) click here: My boss says I smell bad


Survey: Facebook is top company to work for

by Evil HR Lady on December 14, 2012

Facebook isn’t just a convenient place to post pictures of your kids or your latest drunken escapade, it’s also the best place to work for 2013, according to career research firm Glassdoor’s annual “employee choice” awards.

To keep reading, click here: Suvey: Facebook is top company to work for


Help! My job has been posted on Craigslist

by Evil HR Lady on December 14, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I was recently advised that my employer posted my current job at a casino on Craigslist. I looked and it’s true. I know that they still need me in order to keep the casino open, but when they find someone I’m sure I’ll be tossed. The company I work for was just purchased. I hold a director status and know of their plans to wipe out half the employees, who have a new 90-day probationary period. Please, what do you think I should do or what rights do I have?

To read the answer, click here: Help! My job has been posted on Craigslist