“I can’t afford to pay my employee overtime, so I made them salaried.”

I get this type of email from readers all the time. In every case, it’s a small (and often family-owned) business and the owner has no clue that you can’t just “decide” to make someone salaried.

Being a first-time manager ain’t easy. There are tons of employment laws and it’s pretty hard to memorize them all. Plus, managing people is just plain hard. How are you supposed to balance your employees’ needs with what’s truly best for your business?

That’s why business owners tend to make a lot of rookie missteps. Luckily, here are five mistakes you can easily avoid.

To keep reading, click here: I See Way Too Many Business Owners Make These 5 Management Mistakes

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Anti-Mom Bias is Real and Based in Reality

by Evil HR Lady on May 21, 2018

A friend of mine, the mother of six, just had a job interview. While she didn’t try to hide the fact that she had children, she also wasn’t planning to share that she had six of them. So, imagine her surprise when one of the interviewers said, “So you have six children. I’ve just read your CV and it was on there.”

It wasn’t. She believes the interviewer found out by speaking with a friend of hers who worked for the same company or by looking at her Facebook page. She has her privacy settings at an appropriate level, but her cover photo was a family picture–complete with all six children.

Her husband has a similar picture as his cover photo–albeit with five kids (pre-latest baby). He’s never, ever, not once been asked about family size in a job interview. And why should he? It’s not part of doing the job. It wasn’t part of the job my friend applied for, so why ask?

To keep reading, click here: Anti-Mom Bias is Real and Based in Reality


We all (well, 97 percent of us) know that making up rumors about someone’s sex life is not okay. But even still, 39 percent of employees have seen it happen—and six percent say they’ve participated, too.

People don’t just casually overhear inappropriate conversations—they tend to chime in. An older study suggests that 80 percent of what we talk about is in fact, gossip.

But gossip isn’t all bad. Sure, the gossip definition we’re used to involves exposing people’s private lives without offering any real value. While that type of gossip will hurt your small business, there’s also a kind that actually has positive effects.

Here are a couple ways to stop the bad kind of gossip from making a mess at your office—while letting the good kind flow.

To keep reading, click here: 97% of People Say This Is the Most Toxic Team Behavior


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect next week. Even if you don’t live in Europe or do business officially in Europe, you can find your life affected by these rules. Europe is very concerned about data and privacy and for consumers, that seems to be mostly a good thing.

If you do live or do business in Europe or with Europeans, you’re probably ready, but there’s one thing that can make all this work and all these regulations worthless: your employees.

Last week, Facebook fired an employee who bragged on Tinder about how he had violated privacy protocols to find out information about his intended date. Obviously, his intended love interest didn’t find this impressive and brought it to Facebook’s attention (as she should have.

To keep reading, click here: The Real Problem with Data Privacy Isn’t What You Think

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We are a relatively small company of about 100 employees. We currently have only five reviews on Glassdoor—and three are negative! As the HR manager, this really bothers me and I’m afraid it could affect our recruiting in the future. What can I do to get people to write positive reviews? Can I require it of managers? Can I give people incentives to do it?

To read my answer, click here: Dear ReWorker: How Do I Get Rid Of Bad Glassdoor Reviews?


We spend more time at work than we do with our friends — and often more time with them than we do with our families. As such, making friends at work seems like the natural thing to do. You get to know how your employees like their coffee, their favorite movies, and their family drama. It makes sense that you would call them your friends.

With your peers there’s no reason not to — it’s awesome. But with your direct reports, it’s a terrible idea.

The Pesky Issue of Power Dynamics

Friends are great, and research shows you should work hard to gain friends. But, the problem is that the manager/employee relationship isn’t an equal one. When you have hire/fire authority over someone, you’ve got to worry about a balance of power.

To keep reading, click here: Be Friendly to Employees (But Don’t Become Friends)


The Worst Career Advice Real People Received

by Evil HR Lady on May 14, 2018

While there are plenty of booksblogs, and podcasts about how to have a great career, but most of us get advice from people in our daily lives. Sometimes this advice is great and sometimes it’s terrible. I asked my readers to share the worst career advice they have received. Follow this advice at your own risk.

  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease – if you really want the job: call, call, call! Call every day, then they’ll know who you are. And now, since I hire, I know that they’ll know who you are so they DON’T hire you. Worst advice.
  • The worst career advice I have ever gotten was to be passive aggressive towards co-workers. Horrible advice, not to mention super unprofessional!
  • “Go along to get along.” If employers really wanted robots working for them, they would use robots. Sometimes, the best interests of both the company and the individual employee require the employee to speak up, to suggest an improvement to a pre-existing process, or even to outright oppose something.

You may recognize this bad advice because it came from you! It was too fabulous to leave in the comments section, so I had to share it!

To read the list, click here: The Worst Career Advice Real People Received


Swiss Saturday: Checking Out of Your Apartment

by Evil HR Lady on May 12, 2018

My new garden

I mentioned earlier that we moved to a neighboring town. Our lease required three months notice before moving and in order to get the new house, we needed to take over before that time period ended. That’s not terribly unusual and we knew that was in the contract when we signed it.

So, this means our contract with the old apartment didn’t end until April 30. Because there’s nothing more fun than procrastinating, we weren’t ready to do the handover until late April. But we did, and now we’re done, and woo-hoo–we only have to pay rent on one house.

All that is not surprising, but the whole move out process is a bit different. Here are a few things.

Light fixtures don’t come with the apartment. I still find this super odd. When you go look at a house, you’ll see single lightbulbs hanging from the ceilings. You’re expected to provide your own light fixtures. Now this is all fine and good because now I don’t have to buy new ones for the new house, except the house is very different, and therefore, I’m stuck with some light fixtures I don’t need, and still have to buy new ones.

I would have been happy to leave all the old light fixtures for the next tenants, but that’s not how it works. It’s a bit of a pain.

On the other hand, I’m thrilled that it’s not like much of Germany where you have to bring your own kitchen. Talk about a waste! Kitchens are generally custom so you spend a fortune putting in a kitchen, and a fortune tearing it out, and it won’t fit in your new kitchen!

Cleaning. Every time I moved in the United States, the requirement was that you left the place “broom clean.” Not so in Switzerland. You leave that place spotless. And by spotless, I mean you’re expected to take q-tips to clean every millimeter of the rubber around your windows. They are super duper picky. I knew that my lousy American standards would not ever meet their standards–plus, it’s just not worth my time to do that level of clean. So, I asked the management company for a recommendation for a cleaning firm. They did and I hired that firm to do the cleaning.

Their cleaning, which made this 1980s era apartment absolutely sparkle, wasn’t sufficient. Fortunately, this firm offered a guarantee, so they had to come back and re-clean. Seriously, I don’t know what they missed. But, like I said, I’m an American.

The Checkout Involved 7 People. There is no such thing as giving the apartment a quick check, handing over the keys, and going on. This is a multi-hour process that involved measuring the apartment. Why? I have no idea. Did they think we had shrunk the apartment? Or slowly pushed our walls out, making our apartment bigger and encroaching on our neighbor’s space? They used lasers to measure, which my brother the real estate appraiser assures me are standard and fun. I now wish I could measure things with lasers.

The Costs. Moving costs everyone, but the Swiss have rules about it. (The Swiss love rules.) For instance, landlords are required to repaint every 10 years. But if you move out after 7, you have to pay 30 percent of the cost of repainting. If you’re there 10 years, you pay nothing. There are rules about when floors have to be refinished, windows have to be replaced, and how long appliances should last. So, if the rules say a refrigerator should last 10 years, but yours dies at 8, the landlord is only obligated to pay 80 percent of the cost of a new one. (Note: I don’t actually know what the rules for refrigerators are.)

Finding the Next Tenants. When I was looking for a new home, almost every apartment/house I looked at was empty. That’s because landlords don’t typically start advertising their homes until the last tenant has moved out. The ones I did see with humans still living there were ones where the tenants were hoping to find new tenants to cover the rest of their leases. It certainly is easier from a renter’s perspective–you don’t have to do the hurried clean up when you get a call saying someone is coming to see the apartment. But, from a house hunting perspective, it’s kind of a pain. Because the apartment is already empty when you see it, the landlord is anxious to get someone in. The market where we live is pretty tight, which means you don’t want to give notice on your old place until you have a new place, but the new landlord wants the lease to start immediately. That’s how we ended up paying two months of double rent.



My Performance Sucks because I’m Pregnant.

by Evil HR Lady on May 11, 2018

I have just read your recent HR post regarding a pregnant woman who is under-performing at her position. This has triggered a few questions from myself.

I am in my first trimester of my pregnancy, the past 3 to 4 weeks have been hell, (that’s putting it nicely!) I’ve struggled with work, as I’m based from home most of the time my lunch breaks tend to last longer than they should and my start times probably aren’t quite as punctual as they should be. I’ll put it bluntly, I’m exhausted and I feel like utter rubbish.

I’m scraping by and performing the bare minimum of my role, but compared to post pregnant me I’m severely under-performing and I’m aware of this and don’t know how to stop this downward spiral. I’m sure it will pick up…eventually.

My managers and HR are aware that I am pregnant, and my boss seems very understanding. My concern is I will be due to work away from home for 4 nights a week, from next week. So my extended lunchtime nap’s won’t be possible. I don’t feel although I want to call in sick (even though I could sleep all day!) but I also don’t want to feel like I am dragging the company down.

How much reasonable changes can I expect during my pregnancy? And what is the best thing that I can do to highlight this struggle with my managers and HR?

To read my answer, click here: My Performance Sucks because I’m Pregnant.


“If the customer were white, would you be acting that way?” This is the simple conversation starter that can prevent racial problems in stores and restaurants.

Nordstrom Rack president, Geevy Thomas, flew to St. Louis to personally apologize to three black teenagers who were accused of shoplifting and even had the police called on them, when, in fact, they were simply shopping.

The three teenagers, Mekhi Lee, Dirone Taylor, and Eric Rogers, described having their every move followed by two store employees. As if that wasn’t enough, after they made purchases and headed out the door, police were waiting for them.

In April, Starbucks made headlines when a store manager called police on two black men who were sitting in the store and had not purchased anything, saying they were waiting for a friend. Waiting for a friend to arrive before purchasing a drink is extremely common Starbucks behavior. Yet, it escalated into arrests of the two men. (Notably, these two men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson settled with the City of Philadelphia for $1 each and  $200,000 for a program for young entrepreneurs. That’s classy.)

To keep reading, click here: Don’t Become the Next Starbucks or Nordstrom. Have this Simple Conversation with Your Managers Right Now.