Are you interested in hearing about HR operates in the real world? Every Tuesday from 9:00 to 10:00 am Eastern, join me and Brenda Neckvatal as we discuss all things HR.

Here’s today’s show!


Racism is bad.

All my readers (I hope) agree.

There are racists.

We also all agree.

If you are a horrible person, even off the job or on social media, you may lose your job. With a few exceptions, there is no right to free speech at work in the private sector.

But, if your spouse is a horrible person, should you also lose your job?

LA Galaxy terminated soccer player Aleksandar Katai after racist posts his wife, Tea Katai, made on Instagram.

The posts were inappropriate, racist, and inflammatory in a time when everyone is on edge. She shouldn’t have posted them.

But Aleksandar isn’t the lord and master over his wife. This isn’t 1453 when women were property and husbands were accountable for their wives’ actions. She’s an adult. He’s an adult. He condemned what she wrote, saying that he condemns what she said.

His employer, LA Galaxy, still terminated him.

We can all agree that racism is bad without punishing family members of people who say and do bad things. We are not North Korea. We should not be using Stasi tactics. There should be no guilt by association. We do not hold husbands accountable for their wives’ actions, or vice versa. Getting married does not do away with your ability to think and act independently.

Holding someone accountable for their own social media posts, fine. Holding someone accountable for their spouse’s posts is a road we don’t want to go down. Ever.


How PPP Loan Changes Make Rehiring Much Easier

by Evil HR Lady on June 6, 2020

President Trump on Friday signed a Paycheck Protection Program reform bill into law–and with it just gave millions of businesses some extra time to bulk up on staff. 

Approval of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which unravels many of the PPP’s more onerous restrictions, should make it easier for small business owners to turn the loan into a grant that they don’t have to repay.

Importantly, it gives businesses 24 weeks instead of eight to use the money, and reduces the requirement that they spend 75 percent on payroll down to 60 percent on payroll. That’s good news for businesses. Here’s why.

To keep reading, click here: How PPP Loan Changes Make Rehiring Much Easier

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This is Not How You Do LinkedIn

by Evil HR Lady on June 5, 2020

I love LinkedIn. I really do. I’ve made friends there. I’ve found many new clients there. And, I’ve had some really fun, business-oriented discussions there. I’m happy to connect with any of you there.

But, today, when I checked my LinkedIn notifications, I found this.

I have never worked with this person. I’ve never even interacted with this person on LinkedIn–to the best of my knowledge. I may have liked a post, or made a comment, but I have no recollection of doing so.

This is not how you use LinkedIn. First of all, I can see one of my readers endorsing me for Creative Writing or a variety of HR topics that I’ve written or spoken about. But, 43 of them? Unlikely.

I can’t even think of 43 work-related skills. (I am really good at arriving at the post office just before a line forms, which if I could figure out how to market, I would because I’d be rich in no time.)

LinkedIn endorsements mean nothing because anyone can just endorse you for anything. Recommendations mean a bit more because the person actually knows you (theoretically) but because they aren’t confidential, they mean just about nothing.

Regardless of their lack of usefulness, don’t do this. Please don’t. It’s just a waste of everyone’s time, and I might make fun of you if you do.


We tell white lies to be nice. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, so we say something small that isn’t true. We learn this behavior at a very young age as we’re told to compliment Aunts on their terrible cooking. We carry this into adulthood, and it turns out, we continue to tell white lies to women–even in their performance reviews.

In a recent study, participants read mediocre essays and evaluated them. If they believed a woman wrote it (Sarah), they gave nicer feedback than if they thought a man (Andrew) wrote it. They were more likely to tell white lies to Sarah than they were to Andrew.

This may sound like they are trying to help women by being positive and nice, but the effect is the opposite. Women can’t improve if bosses don’t tell them what they need to change.

To keep reading, click here: New Study: You’re More Likely to Tell a Woman a White Lie in a Performance Appraisal


Some of My Employees Don’t Want to Return to Work

by Evil HR Lady on June 2, 2020

We’ve been given the go-ahead from the government to re-open our business. The only problem is that the employees don’t want to come back. The hourly staff is making more on unemployment than they do working, and the exempt staff has been working from home and aren’t thrilled about returning to the office. Is there anything I can do to get our staff to come back?

To read my answer, click here: Some of My Employees Don’t Want to Return to Work

Leave your own in the comments!


CDC Guidelines For Re-Opening Your Business

by Evil HR Lady on June 1, 2020

As more and more states loosen COVID restrictions, many business owners and all HR people are in a scramble for how to do so safely and legally and morally. Additionally, you don’t want to get sued–by customers or employees.

The CDC issued guidelines for opening everything. Now, I’m normally from the camp of “the most terrifying thing you can hear is I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” but these guidelines are helpful. In fact, they are helpful in two ways: the tell you the safest way to open your business (based on current guidelines, which will change), and they help protect you from lawsuits.

For instance, they give these suggestions for cleaning:

  1. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
  2. Disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 can also help reduce the risk.  Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.
  3. When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children. Read EPA’s infographic on how to use these disinfectant products safely and effectively.

Now, if you don’t believe doing this sort of thing will help you stay clear of lawsuits, note this lawsuit filed in Utah against a protein bar company. Employment Attorney Jon Hyman describes it as follows:

What does the employee claim her employer failed to do in the three weeks between the time during which rumors circulated that two of her co-workers tested positive and she tested positive?

Operated the business in violation of federal, state, and local orders regarding the operation of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Threatened employees who raised COVID-19 related safety concerns.

Refused to provide employees with PPE.

Failed to suspend operations to sanitize the facility.

Ignored employees’ safety warnings.

Now, of course, we don’t know what really happened from any filed lawsuit–the business has a different opinion. But, the point stands regardless: If you dismiss CDC guidelines and someone gets sick, you’re going to have a hard time defending your behavior.

This, of course, means, you have to stay on top of things because the guidelines have changed in the past and will change in the future. For instance, the CDC has now said you should not use antibody testing for employment decisions.

Because COVID 19 is considered a direct threat, the EEOC says you can test employees, including COVID tests, antibody tests, and daily temperature checks. However, their new guidelines say no to antibody tests. Lexblog describes it here:

As such, the CDC states that, at this time, antibody testing:

  • should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace; and
  • should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities.

So, while you should get cleaning, make sure people are not seated on top of each other, and send any symptomatic people home, don’t ask for antibody testing.

Check the CDC site regularly for any updates for your business type. It helps keep everyone safe and you out of a courtroom.


Things I Learned from My Terrible Playlist

by Evil HR Lady on May 28, 2020

My brother challenged us all to make a playlist of our favorite 25 songs. The rules are no Christmas music, only one song per artist, and it shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes to make. The latter is so that you don’t overthink it.

I love music. i love all kinds of music. I was excited to put together my playlist and get the playlists from my siblings. I followed the instructions, went through my Spotify account, and put together 25 songs that I love.

I shared it with my siblings and they all declared the loved the Record Player Song, which they had never heard.

I thought I would listen to this playlist over and over again, and you know what? I don’t.

It’s not that I don’t love the songs. I do. But, it’s that it’s a terrible playlist. To jump from an old gym to REM to Broadway is jarring. There is no consistency and no continuity.

Why do I bring this up? Because putting together a playlist is a lot like filling a department. You can look for the best people–type As all around. The best in their fields. But, if they don’t work together, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s a jarring transition and you can’t accomplish a lot because they aren’t a team.

You can work to solve this while hiring by looking for cultural fit. The problem with cultural fit is that without a defined culture, and a tendency for both hiring managers and candidates to lie during interviews, cultural fit often becomes code for “just like me.” That makes an even worse playlist: hours of the same song over and over again.

You can work to solve this through teambuilding exercises. Some of these are great and lots of fun. Others just drive everyone crazy.

But, you can slowly work hard as a manager to help people build business relationships. This isn’t the same as trying to get everyone to be friends with everyone else. Friendship isn’t necessary for success. Working together is.

Don’t end up with a department that is disjointed like my playlist. Pay attention to how people work together.

And bonus points for anyone who shares either their playlist or one of their favorite songs in the comments.


How to Properly Reject Job Candidates

by Evil HR Lady on May 26, 2020

When you start a business, you get to hire the people you want. It’s a great feeling. But, you also have to reject a lot of candidates. While ghosting candidates has been popular over the years, it’s the wrong way to do it. You may not want to hire a candidate today, but that person might be the right person in a year. If you treat the candidate poorly, you damage the relationship altogether.

Lots of companies use a form of “thanks, but no thanks” letters. That’s fine, as it gives candidates the information they need. But, there is a better way.

A job seeker named Tammi Whitcomb received a rejection email that she kindly shared with me. I think it’s a great example of how to reject an applicant.

To keep reading, click here: How to Properly Reject Job Candidates


Like most tech companies, Facebook sent a lot of their employees to work from home when the Coronavirus struck. Now Mark Zuckerberg says they can stay–but there’s one catch: If they move out of a high cost of living area, they’ll likely see a pay cut.

Zuckerberg says that by January 1, 2021, people who are approved for full-time remote work will have to notify Facebook of their new location, and their pay will be adjusted accordingly.

This is not a shocking business move. Many businesses pay people differently based on their local cost of living. Most of us can agree that jobs in New York City generally pay more than jobs in rural Idaho.

I think this move by Facebook is a great thing.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Should Follow Facebook and Pay Remote Workers Less