American Airlines Plans to Lay Off Almost 25,000

by Evil HR Lady on July 16, 2020

Yesterday, tech reporter David Shepardson got a copy of the WARN letter that American Airlines sent to almost 25,000 employees.

If you’re not familiar, WARN stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification and if a company is laying off a certain percentage of employees they have to provide 60 days notification to these employees–or pay them the 60 days. Either is legally fine.

It tells employees that their jobs are going away, and (theoretically) gives them enough time to find a new job before their paychecks go away. Now, with almost 25,000 airline employees hitting LinkedIn at the same time when the entire travel industry is still a disaster, it’s unlikely that all of these people will find new jobs before the 60 days is finished.

Like American Airlines or hate them, this will impact your life. If your normally fly out of an American hub, you’ll have a harder time getting a flight. With fewer competing flights, you’ll likely pay more even on another airline. This will ultimately make business and leisure travel more of a pain than it has been in the past.

I’m always sad when people lose their jobs. I hope the travel industry can recover and the American Airlines employees can find jobs quickly.

Photo by Quintin Gellar


With all the new laws, policy changes and recommendations lately, I feel like our handbook needs to be updated every three days. How do we successfully communicate these changes to employees? Given the high volume, it feels like more people are going to ignore them.

To read my answer, click here: How Do I Successfully Communicate Changes to My Employees?



While many businesses–and, yes, entire industries even–have suffered as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, some companies have managed to thrive in this moment. 

Based on an informal poll I conducted among people HR people and other interested professionals,here’s a small sampling of some of the industries that can’t hire people fast enough:

  • Cleaners–all types. Everything has to be cleaned to new, higher standards.
  • Printing. From sign printers to ink manufacturers, this industry has been super busy.
  • Technical support. Suddenly, everyone is working from home and needs help.

To keep reading, click here: Some Companies Can’t Hire Fast Enough. Study Their Business Models

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across sectors have implemented  hiring freezes and paused active talent recruitment efforts. While these measures immediately impact HR operations, they also provide space for recruiters and other talent management professionals to rethink their approach to engaging with new potential candidates—and maintaining contact with people they were in the process of evaluating for open job opportunities.

Regardless of whether or not your company has implemented a hiring freeze, adopted a slower pace, or is actively recruiting, you may find yourself with an opportunity to focus on learning and development to improve your recruitment efforts. Here are five things HR professionals should consider during a hiring freeze. 

Finding Future Candidates (Honestly)

Don’t be the recruiter who sends out emails and LinkedIn messages advertising jobs that aren’t actively available. It’s a deceitful and unfortunately common practice, and can tarnish a professional relationship with future candidates. Instead, work to connect with people who may be a good fit for your company—someday. And be honest about your goal; don’t hide the fact that conversations are exploratory.

To keep reading, click here: What HR Professionals Should Be Doing in the Midst of a Hiring Freeze

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When Your Boss Doesn’t Let You Go on Vacation

by Evil HR Lady on July 8, 2020

Yesterday, Brenda Neckvatal and I talked about vacation and PTO usage on The Real HR Show. And we got this comment:

My company offers unlimited time off, but I don’t feel like I can take advantage because of the boss who flat out says “if you can be out for more than 2 weeks, we need to seriously consider if we can do without you for longer – or forever.”

This is precisely why I hate unlimited time off and why this person should never be a manager.

The idea of unlimited time off is a magical one–do your work and leave whenever you want! We trust you! Yay!

But, in practice, people take fewer vacation days because they are concerned about not appearing dedicated enough. And what is dedicated enough? This is a difficult question, especially in a small business. The owner is willing to sacrifice his or her entire life for the business and sometimes makes employees feel like slackers if they aren’t willing to sacrifice their entire lives for the business.

But, as someone who has laid off literally thousands of people, let me assure you that you should never sacrifice your life for a business, because when you aren’t of value to them any more, they will kick you to the curb. You have to build a life outside of work.

This isn’t to say you don’t need to work. Of course you do! But, you should be able to take a vacation, which brings us back to the original comment.

Most Americans aren’t taking more than two weeks of vacation at any given time anyway, so this type of restriction isn’t as big of a deal as it would be in Europe (where one of our doctors is currently on a six week vacation to Portugal). But, saying “you have unlimited vacation!” to employees and then saying, “but wait, don’t use it like that!” is bad and confusing.

A better policy would be “You have unlimited vacation, but don’t use more than two weeks at a time.”

Or even better, “You have four weeks of vacation, plus sick days.”

Why is four weeks better than unlimited? Because people won’t feel guilty about using four weeks of vacation when that’s what they are allotted. And managers shouldn’t be as terrible about allowing people to take time when they know that they have a limited amount.

So, if your boss says that to you, push back. “Are you saying we don’t have unlimited vacation, then?” The boss will sputter that of course you do. “Then why can’t I take three weeks in the summer to go do nothing because COVID means I can’t go anywhere?” (Okay, that’s not a good way to phrase it, but I’m supposed to be in the US this summer and I can’t go, so I’m annoyed.)

But get clarification from your boss about what unlimited vacation really means. Does it mean that it’s okay if you leave early once a week or so, but not okay to work from the beach? Does it mean that no one will hassle you about a week long absence, but otherwise, you’ll be treated poorly?

Again, this is why I love clear vacation boundaries. Everyone knows what a set number of days means.

Oh, and by the way, California employers. I see you thinking you’re cheating people with unlimited vacation offerings. California considers vacation earned income and you have to pay out unused vacation when someone quits, but if you have unlimited vacation, you essentially have no vacation, so no payout. It’s not sneaky. We’re on to you.

So, if you’re a manager who has ever said anything like this, stop it. If you’re an employee in this situation, get clarity around what unlimited vacation really means to your boss. It’s probably not what you think.



Photo by Flo Dahm

When the Houston Association of Realtors announced that it was planning to swap the term “master bedroom” with “primary bedroom,” artist John Legend had a crucial piece of advice for realtors–any professionals, really–about making impactful change without striking the wrong chord.

To be sure, making sweeping changes is a lot harder than finding and replacing offensive speech or fixtures. As Legend pointed out, the Houston association’s quick change is just the start of what diversity and inclusion look like. The real estate industry can and should do more–and that’s likely true for your own company, too.

How do you handle racism in your company? By pretending it doesn’t exist? By trying to hide your past? By proclaiming Black Lives Matter on your webpage?

Or do you create real change within your company?

Do you

Making changes to outward-facing communications is fine and may make people feel like they’re doing something quickly, but real change takes effort and time. If you’re not simultaneously looking inward to address issues within your business or staffing strategy, marketing gestures aren’t just hollow, they’re irresponsibly misleading. Make sure your business doesn’t just make changes that appear good to others. For every outward-facing gesture, your company makes, ensure that you’re also looking inward.  


I’m launching my own company this year, with about 12 employees, and I’m thinking about the importance of human resources services. Should I hire someone for that position, or can I use an outside service or an online site? And what are the most important things I should do before I launch?

To read my answer, click here: Why Startups Need HR Help Before They Launch

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Just what does the employee relations department do all day? This is the type of question that if you ask an ER person directly, it may result in a pointed glare or perhaps weeping as the employee relations expert sinks into a chair.

It’s been a rough few months.

But, what ER does (works on job performance, ADA requests, policy violations, social media issues, discrimination, bullying, etc.) is not as interesting as to how the employee relations job function has changed from 2018 to 2019. I took a look at the Fourth Annual HR Acuity Benchmark Report, which was conducted in February into March – before and as shutdowns occurred. The study highlights what else ER employees have to do in addition to managing new rules and regulations, conducting furloughs and layoffs and working to rehire people. 

As I said, it’s been a bit rough.

To keep reading, click here: How the Employee Relations Job Function is Changing: A Look at the HR Acuity Benchmark Study

To go straight to the study, click here: HR Acuity Study

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