How Unconscious Bias Almost Killed My Friend

by Evil HR Lady on August 27, 2018

My friend Leesha almost died due to unconscious bias against obese women when her doctors dismissed her extremely high blood pressure as simply nerves for being in the hospital.

Leesha went to see her doctor, complaining of shortness of breath and tachycardia (an abnormally high heart rate). She also has a history of blood clots (due to a genetic disorder) that have almost killed her multiple times. When you’ve had blood clots in your lungs before, you don’t mess around with shortness of breath.

Her doctor took her blood pressure and it was at 189/117. Normal blood pressure is around 120/80 which is what Leesha’s blood pressure generally hovers around. The doctor immediately admitted Leesha to the hospital for treatment. In this hospital, the hospital-based doctors take over care, and Leesha’s doctor would only receive reports.

By the time she arrived, her blood pressure climbed to 205/134.

They ruled out blood clots and came up with a diagnosis? “You must have white coat syndrome. Maybe you should go home.”

She went home and a friend, who happened to be a nurse practitioner came to visit and check up on her. The nurse practitioner friend took her blood pressure and found it to be 223/119.

To keep reading, click here: How Unconscious Bias Almost Killed My Friend


Eating better and exercising more are common sense things that most of us should do. And so it makes sense that a program at work that encourages these things will help us be healthier, which will, in turn, mean we’ll show up to work and not need quite so much health care.

That’s a common thought and that’s what previous studies have shown.

But, a new study flips that on its head. And we should all pay attention because this is the first randomized-controlled study to look at wellness programs.

Here’s what researcher Damon Jones and his team found at the University of Illinois did and what they found.


Jones invited the staff at the university–around 12,000 people to participate, but only 5,000 wanted to participate. Of these 5000, one-third were assigned to a control group, while the others joined this wellness program.

To keep reading, click here: Randomized-Controlled Study: Wellness Programs Don’t Work


Ask a Manager, Bed Bugs, and Invasive Questions

by Evil HR Lady on August 23, 2018

I had the best opportunity to be on Alison Green’s Ask a Manager podcast. We talked a bit about HR, and answered a few listener’s questions.

You can listen here: Ask a Manager Podcast

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Reality Check: This is Not Sexism.

by Evil HR Lady on August 22, 2018

Sheera Frenkel posted a twitter thread about the troubles she, as a mother, had trying to get to fill an unexpected guest slot on MSNBC. It’s frustrating and difficult, but she perseveres and manages to get on camera. This is her main complaint:

People are taking this as an example of sexism, and how difficult it is for working mothers. Hogwash. This is life.


What If You Don’t Have Fingerprints?

by Evil HR Lady on August 21, 2018

This just was discussed at work…fingerprints & background check are required before anyone may start work. But what if you don’t have fingerprints? The new hire in question is a musician and has worn them off. I recall I had a college professor who had lost his due to exposure to mildly caustic chemicals — he had trouble getting his US Citizenship.  And what about those with no hands?

The HR decision was, no fingerprints, no hire. I think that’s a bit short-sighted. But I’m not HR.
I have never encountered this before. Having no hands would definitely trigger ADA and require a reasonable accommodation. But, is lack of fingerprints considered a disability? It doesn’t impact daily life.
I wouldn’t make the same decision, though.
Has anyone faced this problem?


Do You Know the Dangers of Workplace Bullying?

by Evil HR Lady on August 21, 2018

If you thought bullying was something we all left behind in junior high school, you can count yourself lucky. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 19 percent of employees experience bullying in the workplace, and 60.4 million of us are affected by it.

Right now, workplace bullying laws don’t exist on a federal level. That said, abuse on the basis of race, gender or another protected class is illegal. But if the bully is just acting like a jerk, there’s no federal law prohibiting it. The situation is complicated further because bullying can be hard to define, and bullies are experts at making their victims look like the perpetrators.

That doesn’t mean employers shouldn’t do anything about it, though. It’s an important issue that can be damaging to your workplace and your employees.

To keep reading, click here: Do You Know the Dangers of Workplace Bullying?


Team building events can be good, mediocre, and bad, but until yesterday I hadn’t heard of one that I found completely horrifying. Joanna Holman tweeted this:

Unless you have a strong stomach, don’t click. And if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because I did.

They give some science info about oxytocin and that’s all fine and good. I love science. I still do not want to cuddle any coworker. Ever. Here’s how it works:

 During the day co-workers will be required to cuddle each other in a variety of different positions and will need to switch partners every two hours – so that you have a chance to bond with everyone.

To keep reading, click here: Just When You Thought Team Building Couldn’t Get Worse, Here Comes Cuddle a Co-Worker


Many people want to move into a management role because of higher pay, prestige and the ability to finally do things their way. But managing people also means having difficult conversations with the people that report to you. Whether you need to discuss performance, explain how a role is evolving or enforce the dress code, you should be prepared for tough talks.

Employment attorney and HR consultant Kate Bischoff has put together a 7 point checklist for having these tough conversations. But how can you implement this checklist in a real-life scenario? Let’s say you have an employee whose outfit is inappropriate for the office. Here’s how Bischoff’s guidelines would play out in the case of a dress code violation.

Step 1: Plan

You can’t go into a conversation about a sensitive topic without planning it first—after all, how do you expect employees to take the conversation seriously, if you aren’t adequately prepared for it. Consider what are you going to say and how will you say it. In this case, make sure you review the official company dress code so that you can refer to it. Having a printed copy on hand would be great.

To keep reading, click here: Your Seven-Step Guide to Having Tough Conversations with Employees

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A few weeks ago, my Facebook ads changed considerably. Suddenly, I was getting ads for Walmart and Target home delivery service. I live in Switzerland where, sadly, neither store exists. I clicked on “why am I getting this ad?” and it informed me that the ad was Targeted to me because I lived in Pennsylvania.

Well, I did live in Pennsylvania–nine years ago. These Pennsylvanian ads continued for a few weeks, and then something happened at Facebook and I was back to my normal Swiss focused ads.

It demonstrated to me just how much I don’t see because of what I’ve listed in my social media profiles. What I post about, what I search for on Amazon, and what videos I watch on YouTube all affect what I see in my Facebook feed. The other thing that affects my feed is my age.

It turns out that while Facebook stopped businesses from targeting job seekers by race or gender, it still allows companies to indicate an age. And at 45, I may be too old to see certain job postings.

To keep reading, click here: If You Think There Are Not a Lot of Jobs Out There, It May Be that You Are Too Old to See the Ads


Dilemma of the Month: Managing Seasonal Labor

by Evil HR Lady on August 16, 2018

My business is quite seasonal. We have work year round, but in the off-season we don’t need the same number of employees. It’s just not profitable to keep everyone on the payroll 12 months out of the year. Can I drop hours? Can I lay people off and rehire? Are there things that make one option better than the other?

To read my answer, click here: Dilemma of the Month: Managing Seasonal Labor

Leave your own in the comments.