How Spending $21 Could Save Your Business $200,000

by Evil HR Lady on August 3, 2020

Due to safety guidelines, you are probably conducting all interviews over the phone or via video conferencing. Fair enough.

What do you do if you have a hearing-impaired candidate who says that neither of those options works for her?

This is the type of situation that comes up from time to time, and people aren’t prepared for it. Sometimes, a recruiter may just make the decision not to move forward without thinking of the legal consequences–and that’s a problem.

Yesterday, employment attorney Stuart Silverman shared the story of Dorit Richardson on LinkedIn. Richardson declined a phone interview with Guidewire Software, due to her hearing loss, and the company countered with a video interview with a sign language interpreter. That seems like a pretty good accommodation, except Richardson doesn’t know sign language and uses cochlear implants and, again, requested an in-person interview. 

To keep reading, click here: How Spending $21 Could Save Your Business $200,000


Your employees should not be viewing pornography in the office. Your employees should not be viewing pornography on company equipment, even out of the office.

These are basic tenets of sexual harassment law, plus it’s a great way to get viruses (not the Corona type), and use up bandwidth, and waste time. In other words, it’s horrible for your business.

And yet, it continues to be a problem. The Washington Examiner reported:

Online porn viewing in Washington [DC], dormant since most offices closed in March, has started to spike as more workers have returned to their cubicles in the federal city.

According to one popular website, Stripchat, weekly users have gone from about 3,000 in Washington during the coronavirus shutdown to about 55,000.

In data shared with Secrets, the “highest daily marks in traffic” beginning on July 8 were during office hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I’m 100 percent sure this isn’t only a federal employee problem. It’s a general employee problem. Here’s what you need to do to keep this out of your business.

  • Create a clear policy. No porn at work. No exceptions.
  • No porn on company-owned equipment. No exceptions.
  • No porn sent via any company system, regardless if it is on an employee’s personal device or not.
  • Install quality filtering software. 
  • Clear consequences for using pornography at work. This can either be progressive discipline or immediate termination, depending on what you think is appropriate.
  • The above policy applies to everyone from Intern to CEO.
  • Remind people that even if everyone in the office seems happy to see it, it can and will result in discipline up to an including termination. It is simply not allowed.
  • IT monitoring of web activity.

If you allow your employees to get away with this behavior–even a little bit–you could end up with a hostile work environment lawsuit, if it becomes severe or pervasive. Remember what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in regards to pornography in the office:

The court held that the proliferation of pornography and demeaning comments, if sufficiently continuous and pervasive “may be found to create an atmosphere in which women are viewed as men’s sexual playthings rather than as their equal coworkers.” 

You can’t say you are in favor of equal opportunity for women and allow porn in your office.

Make sure your employees understand that, regardless of what federal employees do, this is not something your business tolerates. Period.

Photo by Christina Morillo


Why School Openings Matter to Your Small Business

by Evil HR Lady on July 30, 2020

Many schools generally start in the middle of August. Like it or not, parents count on schools to provide not only an education but childcare. As many people learned when schools and daycares closed in the spring, it’s tough to work from home and watch and educate children all at the same time.

And a lot more people found out that when schools and daycares closed but their essential front line jobs didn’t shut down, that child care was critical to any business’s proper functioning.

Right now, school districts are debating the merits of online school, in-person school, or a mix. And employers are sitting on the edge of their seats, wondering what is going to happen with their employees. 

To keep reading, click here: Why School Openings Matter to Your Small Business


What to Do If Employees Refuse to Wear a Mask

by Evil HR Lady on July 29, 2020

“I want to come back to work, but I won’t wear a mask.” Some of you may have heard this from your employees. Your gut reaction may be, “well, then, you’re fired,” but you can’t do that immediately. If an employee makes such a statement, you first need to ask why. Here’s what you need to know.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Still Applies

You may have seen memes or tweets about asking why violating HIPAA or the 4th amendment. 

None of this is true. HIPAA relates only to health care providers and insurance companies–and most companies are not subject to it. The 4th amendment is related to unreasonable searches and seizures. I’m not quite sure what the logic is here, but you may have heard it. What does apply is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

To keep reading, click here: What to Do If Employees Refuse to Wear a Mask


Help Me Get Out of a Relocation Contract

by Evil HR Lady on July 27, 2020

I recently left a company that had given me a tax-assisted relocation package. Totaling at $19k. I needed to stay employed with that company for 24 months per the contract. I left the company for a few reasons after 21 months. I was furloughed twice while there. I left just before they did another furlough

All salaried employees received the furlough to make up for lost revenue. Hourly employees remained working.  

I tried to negotiate a repayment plan, or pro-rate the balance. I have to pay back the full amount and need help getting around that. 

I’m not a lawyer, and you need one. This will hinge on how the relocation contract is written and state laws, so you really need a lawyer.

But, there may be hope, and if there’s not, here’s a warning for everyone else. Don’t sign a relocation contract that doesn’t have a pro-rated repayment plan. Them asking you to pay back the full amount when they’ve furloughed you twice and you’re three months from the deadline is ridiculous.

It may be legal and allowable within the contract, though. i honestly don’t know (remember: not a lawyer and I haven’t read the contract). I suspect that the unpaid furloughs may be key here–after all, they didn’t provide you with a job.

For future reference, here’s what you’re looking for in terms of repayment for relocation contracts.

  1. No repayment required if you are laid off or terminated, unless for cause. Remember, for cause is doing something really bad, not just sucking at your job.
  2. Pro-rated repayment. Ideally, it should be the total amount, divided by the number of months.

If you do have to repay, you’re not double-taxed on the money. It will get straightened out when you file your taxes.

So many people don’t think about the burden repaying relocation will cause when they take the new job. Moving is expensive! And international moving costs can run in the six figures. You really need to make sure you’re not screwed over when the company doesn’t live up to your expectations.

But, hire a lawyer. They may be able to help you.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto


The Secret to Writing Effective Job Descriptions

by Evil HR Lady on July 24, 2020

When you’re hiring–especially for a new company where all the positions are new–writing job descriptions can be almost as much fun as a root canal. You sit down to write it, and your mind goes blank–just what does a finance manager do? You have no idea.

Rather than write something ridiculous, you need a guide–but if you’ve never done the job, do you even have a clue what you need? Sure, you can tell candidates that the roles are still developing, and you’re hiring them precisely for their expertise, but there are a lot of different people out there with different knowledge.

So, here’s a two-step process that you can go through to help figure out the job description.

To keep reading, click here: The Secret to Writing Effective Job Descriptions


Lessons from My Favorite Dentist

by Evil HR Lady on July 23, 2020

Dr. David Morris died a few weeks ago at the age of 83. Fortunately, his family was with him, and it was peaceful. He was my dentist when I was a teenager and the father of one of my best friends.

People don’t often have fond memories of their dentists, but I do, and I learned a lot from his example. Here are four things I learned from Dr. Morris.

You Can Teach Without Lecturing

As my dentist (and as every dentist since), he told me I needed to floss more often. But he didn’t do it in a way that made me cringe and feel like a total failure. He was always kind about it–a gentle reminder that maybe I wouldn’t need to spend so much time in his chair if I spent more time with some dental floss.

So often, people feel like they need to be harsh to correct. And I’ve certainly had a fair share of stern lectures in my life. But it’s not necessary.

You may point out that I’m still not a diligent flosser, so he failed. But he didn’t. I did. He did his part and did it nicely.

Customer Service Is a Part of Every Job

Dr. Morris pulled my wisdom teeth–all four in one day. Now, this is a pretty standard thing for a dentist to do. What wasn’t standard was his phone call to me later that evening to ask how the bleeding was doing. When I said it was still oozing some, he advised me to put tea bags on my wounds. I said I don’t have any teabags. Ten minutes later, one of his kids showed up at my door with tea bags.

Now, I’m not saying that he sent his children over to every patient’s house–our families were close. But, I’m sure he did call and check up on every patient, and I suspect I’m not the only person who got personalized tea bag delivery.

A Well-Balanced Life is a Good Life

Dr. Morris had seven children, all of whom grew up to be awesome people. All of them spoke at his funeral, which I got to see via Zoom. (I’m thankful for technology and even a little bit grateful for the pandemic. I wouldn’t have been able to fly to the US in normal times for a funeral, but the pandemic made it a priority for the family to let people come without physically being there.)

I learned about his organ playing, world travel, devotion wife and children and God, and the sacrifices he made for his family. There is more to life than work.

You Can Do Good Deeds in Private

Another thing I learned about Dr. Morris from his funeral and his children was how many people he treated for free. This wasn’t something he proclaimed from the rooftops. He just did it. No fanfare, and no demand for recognition and praise.

Do the right thing for the right reason, not to gain praise from others.

While I haven’t seen Dr. Morris as a patient for 23 years (when I left my home state for good), I’m grateful for the things he taught me and the example he set of how to run a business and be a dentist.

This post made possible by Cloud Dentistry.


The Real HR Show: Jobs on the Rise

by Evil HR Lady on July 21, 2020


A few days ago, Anthony Tommasini wrote an Op-Ed at the New York Times titled “To Make Orchestras More Diverse, End Blind Auditions.”

Blind auditions vastly increased the number of females in orchestras, but it hasn’t increased the number of minority players–well, it hasn’t increased the number of Black and Hispanic players. Asian and Pacific Islander musicians have increased.

Tommasini says this isn’t good enough. He writes:

The status quo is not working. If things are to change, ensembles must be able to take proactive steps to address the appalling racial imbalance that remains in their ranks. Blind auditions are no longer tenable.

He’s wrong.

The ideal situation isn’t to make every organization reflect the community. As my friend, Amy Alkon, points out we need to ask why.

We have no problem respecting the racial makeup of professional sports teams because we can all observe the merit of each player with our own eyes.

It’s a bit more difficult to tell the merit of individual musicians. Unless you, too, are a musician, it can be difficult to tell the difference between two musicians. But, expert musicians can tell the difference between good enough and really good. And the really good deserve the spots in the orchestras.

Here’s the truth about being an expert in music: you need training and you need to focus your time on learning. If you want to increase Black and Hispanic members in professional orchestras, focus on increasing funding for music programs in schools. Provide scholarships for students to study privately with good teachers.

And, it’s okay if not all groups place the same focus on classical traditional music lessons. Not every group needs to have a precise racial and gender makeup. What isn’t okay is discriminating on the basis of race or gender to get a magical balance on paper. That doesn’t help anyone.

Blind auditions are the gold standard of orchestral auditions. It’s one of the few fields where you can truly judge someone by their skills alone without unconscious bias creeping in. Let’s keep it that way.

Photo by Roxanne Minnish


Why You Should Require Employees Take Vacation

by Evil HR Lady on July 17, 2020

When you launch a business, you tend to know everyone in the office. As such, it can give you the feeling that you can trust everyone. But small and mid-size businesses make up 68 percent of employee theft, according to Hiscox, an insurance company. 

What if there was an easy way to reduce your exposure? And what if you already had this system in place, but you just weren’t taking advantage of it?

It’s vacation.

Yep. Send your employees on vacation. Here’s why.

Send people on a true vacation–no laptops, no phones, no logging on, for two weeks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has a longstanding recommendation that banks have a two-consecutive-week vacation policy:

To keep reading, click here: Why You Should Require Employees Take Vacation