Why You Can’t Retaliate Against Whistleblowers

by Evil HR Lady on July 19, 2019

An employee reported his boss for (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) violations and we started investigating. We found the violation wasn’t serious, and only a small corrective action was taken. However, the boss came to me with a diary he found in the employee’s office. This journal contained some thoughts about his female coworkers that would trigger all sorts of #MeToo issues if they were read aloud at a staff meeting. The employee, as far as I know, has never behaved inappropriately. The boss wants to fire him, insisting this journal proves the employee is a sexual harasser and discriminator. It makes me nervous. Can we terminate him for this?

To read my answer, click here: Why You Can’t Retaliate Against Whistleblowers

Leave your own in the comments!


Is There “Equality” in the Equality Act?

by Evil HR Lady on July 18, 2019

When we hire people, the only consideration should be how well the can do the job. Race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion shouldn’t be a concern. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects people against discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” Later acts protected people over 40 from discrimination (ADEA), Pregnancy (Pregnancy Discrimination Act), and people with disabilities (ADA).

When Congress passed these laws and the president signed them, sexual orientation wasn’t on the forefront of the public mind. That, obviously, has changed and today, it’s front and center in our world. The courts have given a mishmash of decisions that vary on the issue of gender identity and sexual orientation in employment.

Some courts have come back and said that even though sexual orientation and gender identity was not listed in Title VII, clearly it falls under “sex” discrimination. Some courts have come back and said, nope; it’s not covered. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a group of conflicting cases.

But making non-discrimination policy or not, ultimately falls to Congress. This shouldn’t be left to the Supreme Court, whose job is to interpret the law, not create it. I agree with Second Circuit Court Judge Gerard E. Lynch’s dissent in one of these cases. He wrote:

To keep reading, click here: Is There “Equality” in the Equality Act?


In movies, whistleblowers uncover deep, dark company or political secrets: greedy corporate fatcats who will happily kill small children in the hopes of increasing shareholder profits. Naturally, managers hate whistleblowers and will do anything to stop them.

While obviously, such things do exist (and are the reason we need whistleblower protection laws), using the word whistleblower tends to make people think they are risking their livelihood if they expose problems at work. As such, why take the risk on something that may well be minor?

You actually want employees to bring up problems as soon as possible, and you don’t want them to have any fear in doing so. You’ll want to create a whistleblower program where employees can report problems anonymously and easily, but you also want to change your company culture so that reporting problems is seen as a good thing and not a bad thing.

Here’s what to do.

To keep reading, click here: Whistleblowing: Why It Should be Embraced and How to Make it Effective

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10 Things to Say Instead of Good Job

by Evil HR Lady on July 16, 2019

We want to be positive. Well, some of us want to be positive. I want to be positive. But, sometimes, the only thing that comes out of my mouth is “good job!” This is a lovely thing to say, but it’s not very specific, and it’s not very helpful. Sure, it’s praise (and unspecific praise is better than no praise–as long as it’s honest), but it would be better if we thought through what we are saying a little bit more.

Here are some ideas to get you going on supporting your employees (and family members, and friends!):

1. That was so creative. How did you come up with that idea? This is helpful because it not only praises the person; it lets them know you are interested in what they did. People love to talk about themselves, and this opens up the door for them to do that. Good feelings all around.

To keep reading, click here: 10 Things to Say Instead of Good Job


“There is no ‘P’ in hamster.” This is not a controversial statement. Any dictionary will agree with it. Any pet store will too. But, Carol Blymire overheard a conversation between a young employee with her boss, and this came up.

The boss wanted a correction. The employee insisted that the word should remain “hampster” because that was how she spelled hamster. And that was what mattered.

To keep reading, click here: This Helicopter Mom Raised a Daughter Incapable of Normal Business Behavior. A Warning


How to Keep Tenured Service Techs Satisfied

by Evil HR Lady on July 11, 2019

It takes a lot of effort to find a new job. Because of that, people tend to stay in their positions as long as they aren’t completely miserable. That’s why if the pay is OK and the manager isn’t a total jerk, chances are that your technicians will stay with your service organization for a long time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure in the repair and maintenance profession is four years. But this complacency can lead managers to neglect their “old” staff while they pursue new hires to grow their business and productivity. Granted, with many techs reaching retirement age, it’s critical to recruit new people, but don’t neglect your current staff in the process.

I don’t use the word “old” lightly. From a career standpoint, the U.S. government defines “old” as any employee over 40. Meanwhile, the average age of repair and maintenance technicians in the U.S. is 42 years old. What does that mean for your company? It means that if you don’t make it a priority to keep these older members of the workforce happy (or at least satisfied), you could lose employees with years of irreplaceable experience.

Here are five ways to keep your long-term employees happy.

To keep reading, click here: How to Keep Tenured Service Techs Satisfied


German superiority is something one shouldn’t throw around lightly–there are too many negative stereotypes about that. But, when Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing announced the company would layoff 18,000 workers, he didn’t leave it just at that. He sent a 2,000-word email to his employees, explaining what was happening.

Here’s why that was a great way to spread bad news.

Information always helps

Losing your job is terrible. There’s no way around that. But understanding the whys often helps with the transitions. Sewing says:

First let me say this: I am very much aware that in rebuilding our bank, we are making deep cuts. I personally greatly regret the impact this will have on some of you. In the long-term interests of our bank, however, we have no choice other than to approach this transformation decisively. Only then can we build on our long-standing history and make Deutsche Bank a leading bank once again. A bank which we can be justifiably proud o

To keep reading, click here: This CEO’s 2,000 Word Email Explains Why German Managers Are Superior Than Those in the U.S.


What do you do if an employee objects to your Pride Month celebrations? And what if that person objects, in writing, on the company intranet?

IKEA in Poland, had a case where an employee objected to an LGBTQ celebration and, according to IKEA: 

 “The employee actually used quotes from the Old Testament about death and blood in the context of what fate should meet homosexuals. Many employees concerned by this entry contacted our HR department.”

The employee, identified as Tomasz K. said, “I was shaken up. I’ve been hired to sell furniture but I’m a Catholic and these aren’t my values

Poland is a place without a lot of support for gay rights, and prominent politicians are backing Tomasz K. International values, they say are not Poland’s values.

And that is something to consider as you take your business global. What works in your current country may not work in your new country. And what you assume to be the case, may not be.

To keep reading, click here: IKEA Poland Fires Man for Anti-LGBTQ Posts. Could You?


How many times have you signed documents without looking at every word? We figure that because we’re good and honest people, everyone else is and no one would try to trick us.

But, according to the Wall Street Journal companies are now getting their interns to sign non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. I don’t have much of a problem with the latter, as long as they are reasonably crafted, but I have a huge problem with intern non-competes.

The very nature of an internship is to help a student gain experience so that she can go out and get a real job after graduation. If you are limiting that student’s ability to get a job after graduation, you’re not sponsoring an internship; you’re offering a crappy summer job.

The Chief Executive of CastleBranch, Brett Martin, who heads one of these companies said, in response to a question about a specific student who received a follow-up letter reminding her about the non-compete:

To keep reading, click here: Warning: Your Internship May Come with a Non-Compete Agreement


We have a longtime employee who asked to work from home after having twins. She’s been working from home for a year now successfully. She just got a new boss, and he wants her either in the office full time or to change her status to a contractor. Can we do this? How much do we pay her as a contractor? She currently makes $100,000 a year.

To read my answer, click here: Can You Switch a Full-Time Worker Into a Contractor?

Leave your own in the comments!