Managing an Insubordinate Subordinate

by Evil HR Lady on July 10, 2017

I recently received a promotion, so two months ago I hired “Jane” to assume the role of my former position. Since she’s been here, Jane has constantly undermined me. She has told lies about my character and my productivity to other employees. It is quite obvious that she intends to do whatever she can to show that I am not fit for my new role. What is the best way for me to document her behavior? I don’t want the documentation to sound like a personal issue; though I must admit that she has referred to how “young” I am, which is offensive to me.

To read the answer, click here: Managing an Insubordinate Subordinate


CBS News reports that a “young female reporter” was not allowed into the speaker’s lobby, which is outside the House Chamber in the Capitol because her shirt was sleeveless. “Apparently, the coverage of women’s toes and shoulders is important business for the current House leader,” whined Jezebel writer Stassa Edwards.

Reporter K Tully McManus, confirmed this event on Twitter: “This is real. Fellow female reporters barred from Speaker’s lobby for wearing sleeveless dresses while doing their jobs. (It’s hot in DC).”

I’m having a hard time getting worked up over this poor reporter’s plight. It was hot, you see, so comfort is king! Or rather queen, because what do men wear to work at the Capitol when it’s hot? Button down shirts, ties, and (shudder) suit coats.

To keep reading, click here: Yes, a Reporter Got Kicked Out of Congress for a Sleeveless Shirt. Can We Stop the Whining?


The Key to Managing People You Don’t Like

by Evil HR Lady on July 7, 2017

When you get promoted to a managerial position, you don’t automatically gain managerial skills that allow you to easily treat people fairly. You’re still the same person you were the day before, and let’s face that—that probably means you don’t like everyone equally.

In fact, you may have direct reports that you really can’t stand. How are you supposed to treat those people fairly when everything they do makes you cringe? How can you ensure you aren’t playing favorites because you really do like other people better? It’s not easy, but there is one key thing to do: Take a step back.

Personalities can often get in the way of evaluating someone purely based on talent. It’s in our nature to think someone with whom you have a great rapport is doing a better job than someone who grates on you. But stepping back will help you to avoid this problem.

To keep reading, click here: The Key to Managing People You Don’t Like

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Your Customers Want Service. Are You Listening?

by Evil HR Lady on July 6, 2017

Dr. Serhan Ili shared these thoughts about customer service on LinkedIn the other day. I found it to be pretty accurate (although a little simplistic, as everything is more complicated than a bullet-pointed list would suggest). He wrote:

  • Amazon didn’t kill the retail industry. They did it to themselves w/bad customer service.
  • Netflix did not kill Blockbuster. They did it to themselves w/ridiculous late fees.
  • Uber did not kill the taxi business. They did it to themselves by limiting # of taxis & w/fare control.
  • Apple did not kill the music industry. They did it to themselves by forcing people to buy the full album.
  • AirBnb did not kill the hotel industry. They did it to themselves by limited availability & pricing options.
  • Technology by itself is not the real disrupter.
  • Being non-customer centric is the biggest threat to any business.

The technology changed and these businesses didn’t think of their customers the way the startups did, and well, they were left in the dust. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Greg Collins, the Chief Customer Officer at SalesLoft. Greg and I chatted a lot about customer service and how important it was in today’s economy.

To keep reading, click here: Disruption? Is it Technology or Customer Service?


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie closed all the state beaches due to a budget impasse, then he and his family enjoyed a private beach vacation. Private, because everyone else couldn’t come because he closed the beaches.

Silicon Valley is in the midst of huge sexual harassment scandals–from Travis Kalanick’s departure as Uber CEO to Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck’s repeated sexual harassment accusations.

While it seems far-fetched to say that sexual harassment is anywhere close to a private beach party, it’s really the same thing: an abuse of power.

To keep reading, click here: What Uber’s Kalanick and Chris Christie Have in Common.


Is This Time Theft?

by Evil HR Lady on July 4, 2017

I have a question which hopefully you can answer this before I make a mistake and argue my point. I work as a paramedic which I work on an ambulance and with a partner. We just received a memo stating if for any reason our partner didn’t show up to work we would not be paid until we had a partner to work with. They are calling it “Theft of Time” and state it is the same as stealing money from the company. I don’t agree with this because I should not be punished for someone not showing up for their shift. I showed up for work on time and ready to work. Please help me with this situation because there is a few of us who don’t agree with this policy and need some answers.

I’ve been writing about HR for over 10 years, and I honestly don’t believe I’ve had anyone ask about time theft before, so wow, you win a gold star! Your boss, on the other hand, should have to pay for that gold star because she’s a first class weenie. Now, let’s talk legalities (with the general caveats that I’m not a lawyer, don’t even play a lawyer on TV, can’t find reruns of Law & Order anywhere, and state and local laws vary). I’m also assuming that you are 1. non-exempt and 2. cannot work without a partner.

1. Whatever this is, it’s not “theft of time.”

In order for there to be theft, I’m going to argue there needs to be a thief that is actively doing something wrong. You’re not doing anything wrong. You showed up for work. You are ready, willing, and able to work. Your boss saying that you’ve done something wrong by not having a partner is not the same thing as you stealing time.

Time theft, for what it’s worth, is when you’re supposed to be working but are not. This can be either clocking in and then going out for coffee, or having someone “buddy punch” you in, or simply reading a novel at your desk when you should be working (and, importantly, have available work to do). You may not be able to work (since you can’t work alone), but you aren’t the stealer here, IMHO.

2. Your boss may not have to pay you anyway.

This depends on a couple of things. The first is, do you have to sit there and wait for a partner to come in? If you’re required to hang out until someone shows up, then they have to pay you. This is called “waiting time,” and, under federal law, they must pay you for it. But, if you’re free to leave, then they don’t have to pay you for it. How this plays out, I would think would be dependent on what happens in reality. If your partner doesn’t show up, does it take 15 minutes for someone new to take her place, or are you out of work all day? 15 minutes, I’d say would be compensable because leaving and having free time doesn’t make much sense, but if it’s all day, and you can go home, you aren’t entitled to pay, except when you are. Keep reading.

Some states (but not all) have minimum hours laws. This means that if you show up for work, they have to pay you for X number of hours even if you don’t work. Generally, that’s half of what you were scheduled to work, but your state laws may vary. If you are out of work for the whole day because of a lack of partner and your state has a minimum hours law, they have to pay you for those minimum hours.

If you are free to go and there is no minimum hours law, they don’t have to pay you.

3. Your boss is a jerk.

I can see how this is a real problem for your boss. If she can’t send you out alone, it’s a real problem for the business. But, she’s attacking it from the wrong angle. Punishing the person who shows up rather than that person who doesn’t is a completely backward way of managing. What she needs to do is figure out why people aren’t showing up for their shifts and solve that problem. Now, if this is a common occurrence, it’s likely that she needs to hire better, raise wages, and increase benefits. If it’s an uncommon occurrence, then this is just her silly way of wielding power because she can.

4. Thanks for being a paramedic!

So, off topic, but thanks for doing this job! It’s hard, it’s scary, it’s dangerous, and it keeps the rest of us alive and safe. Thank you!


When HR Makes a $2,666,594.03 Mistake

by Evil HR Lady on June 30, 2017

We’ve all made mistakes at work, but have you made a $2,666,594.03 mistake? On one employee? Hold onto your hats, because you don’t want this to happen to you. Here’s what happened.

Trico Products Corporation laid off Francois El-Hayek after 28 years of service. He was supposed to receive 34 weeks worth of severance pay in exchange for signing a general release. (A general release is a legal document that basically says in exchange for this severance I won’t sue you–except for things that you can’t legally waive.) This is all pretty standard in a lay-off situation. At the time of termination, El-Hayek was earning $123,585 per year, so with 34 weeks of pay that should be $80,805.97. Not a bad amount of severance. (Although for the record, I recommend a minimum severance of two weeks per year of service, but no one asked me.)

To keep reading, click here: When HR Makes a $2,666,594.03 Mistake


How to Avoid Painfully Awkward Hugs in the Workplace

by Evil HR Lady on June 28, 2017

The above picture is hilarious because it’s so awkward. Prime Minister Narendra Modi loves hugging. Trump, not so much. It’s pretty obvious. Trump isn’t the only world leader to have been on the receiving end of a Modi embrace:

Now, I can talk all day about why people shouldn’t hug the unwilling but sometime’s it’s going to happen. Some huggers cannot imagine why on earth everyone is not a hugger. It’s like dog people who insist that it’s adorable when their dog jumps up on you, practically knocking you over and getting doggy drool on your dry-clean-only pants. They just don’t get it.

So, how do you avoid the painfully awkward hug? Well, sometimes you can’t. The first trick is to extend a hand for a handshake, but Trump tried this and Modi went in for the hug anyway. Huggers gonna hug. And Trump was smart to not jump out of the way–he’s on camera. You’re not on camera most of the time, so you can react differently than Trump did. Here’s what I do to avoid unwanted hugs.

To keep reading, click here: How to Avoid Painfully Awkward Hugs in the Workplace


Big companies generally have plans in place for when an employee needs major surgery. Small businesses, on the other hand, probably have never dealt with a scenario like this before.

If this situation arises at your company, you may struggle with what to do, at first. Here’s what you need to know:

To keep reading, click here: When Your Employee Needs Major Surgery: What You Need to Know


I’ve never considered myself a risk taker. I drive the speed limit (albeit in the right-hand lane), I go to church each Sunday, and I don’t take any drugs stronger than ibuprofen. I would have been perfectly happy to live in my hometown of St. George, Utah, my entire life. But, opposites attract, and I married an adventurer. In fact, he just got a yellow fever vaccine for an upcoming trip to Rwanda. (I’m not going; It’s for business.)

This is how I landed in Europe, and while it’s pretty vanilla as far as adventuring goes, living in a country where I didn’t speak the language (I do now) and trying to figure out a culture that places an extremely high priority on proper scarf usage, all while trying to build a career and care for a family here was extremely challenging. Here are just a few of the challenges:

To keep reading, click here: Moving From Utah to Switzerland as a Freelancer Was Tough–but It’s Still Better Than a Corporate Job