I have an employee who would like to be referred to with gender-neutral pronouns — a singular “they” instead of “he” or “she,” for example — but not all of my managers are following the request. The employee has come to me to point this out. Some coworkers also aren’t accommodating the request, making this employee feel excluded. What is our obligation to this employee, and do we face possible legal repercussions?

To read my answer, click here: Dilemma of the Month: How to Best Handle Gender-Neutral Pronouns

Leave your own in the comments!


In honor of National Women’s Day, working women are supposed to fret about other working women who happen to work for us. 

Let me explain.

Sally Howard researched cleaners, by working with them. Fair enough. There’s plenty of things to say about how some people treat their house cleaners and nannies to argue that all these people (usually women) deserve to be paid fair wages, and treated with respect. This is the same way we should treat all our employees–from Senior Vice Presidents to Interns. Everyone is worthy of a fair market wage.

But, Howard draws the opposite conclusion and decides that having someone else clean her house devalues women’s work and sets a bad example for her son. She writes: 

 The clincher, in the end, was my three-year-old son, who quizzically followed Jurate around the house as she squeezed her mop and brandished her ever-present Viakal. I did not want him to see the labour of some women as less worthwhile than the labour and leisure of other women and men. Middle-class women’s emancipation from housework has come at the cost of reinscribing poor women’s ties to it.

Did I find I could hire a cleaner with a clean conscience? No, but I found I could ease my feminist conscience by scrubbing my own toilet.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Hiring a Cleaning Lady–Or Any Other Kind of Employee


Miguel Olave waited 35 minutes for an interview. Then he walked out.  

He was absolutely right to do so. 

Five minutes, sure. Ten minutes, I’ll even give you a pass. But, when you let a candidate site for 35 minutes without acknowledging him, you’re going to lose that candidate.

Note, what I said–you’re losing the candidate.

So many hiring managers and recruiters still see it as a hirer’s market and figure they can just treat candidates like they have for years–as expendable. There will always be another candidate.

But, with an unemployment rate that reached a 50-year low in February, that’s changed. And candidates are changing. They don’t have to put up with hiring managers who ignore them any longer. Candidates ghost employers now. This is the logical response to years of recruiters and hiring managers ghosting candidates

To keep reading, click here: This Job Candidate Walked Out Before His Interview Started. The Reason Is Instructive for Any Employer


Now’s not the time to let employees jump ship. Not only is the unemployment rate hovering in the record lows, but it’s also getting even more expensive to replace employees. 

Replacing workers cost employers $617 billion in 2018, compared with $331 billion in 2010, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing a report by Work Institute, a consulting company.

What this means is that even if the economy slows this year, it’s becoming all the more vital to retain key employees–that is, of course, if you want to keep additional costs to a minimum. And what business owner doesn’t want that?

Here are four budget-friendly ways to keep employees happy and engaged.

1. Provide flexibility.

If you don’t already offer flexibility to your employees–and it’s at all possible–it’s time to start now. People want to work from home, come in and leave at different times and not get yelled at for taking a two-hour lunch from time to time. Yes, reliability is important. Yes, getting the work done is important. But, make sure you’re looking at results and not at time-in-seat. 

To keep reading, click here: Your Boss Doesn’t Want to Fire You–She Doesn’t Even Want You to Quit


People generally respond to positivity with more positivity. A healthy working culture builds on itself through your employees’ everyday actions to create a welcoming and productive company culture. But, when workplace behavior turns sour, you may suffer the consequences in turnover, low employee engagement and unhappy clients.

Training employees on professional behavior is important, but it’s worth considering ways to improve your office culture from every level of your workforce. Here are changes you can make to turn around toxic behaviors throughout the entire business.

Toxic Management Behavior

Managers greatly affect how employees act, feel and work. Keep an eye out for these common poor management strategies.

To keep reading, click here: How to Replace Toxic Workplace Behavior With Constructive Habits


“I can’t use more than 3 ‘unscheduled absences’ in 6 months, or it’s a disciplinary ding. I used up my unscheduled days on sick kids, so when I got sick, I had to wear a mask and come in anyway. I ended up doing chest compressions on my patient while I had a fever.” Andrea, RN.

“We get sick time but can’t use it till all our vacation time is gone, so people come to work sick.  Even if we have a note from the doctor, we still get dinged for it. So many occurrences result in disciplinary action.” Tina, Physical Therapist Assistant.

When people talk about problems with sick time, they often refer to retail and restaurant workers who regularly work part-time at low salaries and have limited to no paid time off. But, Andrea and Tina are licensed, educated professionals, and they have terrible sick policies. Imagine punishing someone who was sick and had a doctor’s note!

Imagine you or your loved one is crashing, and the RN, standing directly over your face is running a fever. Yes, she’s wearing a mask, and yes, she washed her hands, but wouldn’t you feel better if she weren’t sick?

To keep reading, click here: Your Sick Policy Can Make the Corona Outbreak Worse. Here’s What It Should Look Like


First-In, First-Hired: Yay or Nay?

by Evil HR Lady on March 2, 2020

Job interviews have been going on since, well, forever. I suppose when feudal lords ruled the lands, you got the job of being a peasant by not dying, but since then, it’s involved a job interview.

And, it must be time for a change. Some companies are starting a first to apply, first to be hired program, something that’s also referred to as open hiring. I don’t know what to think.

Greystone Bakery started this practice in its distribution center in North Carolina by asking job candidates only three questions: “Are you authorized to work in the U.S.? Can you stand for up to eight hours? And can you lift over 50 pounds?”

The results? Turnover dropped by 60 percent. That’s not a typo. 60 percent reduction in turnover. What started out as a thing to help people, turned into huge cost-savings for the company. Greyston’s CEO said, “At the heart of it, Greyston’s mission is to impact people facing barriers to employment,” which explains the program. But, they benefit from the reduction in turnover.

To keep reading, click here: First-In, First-Hired: Yay or Nay?


Swiss Sunday: Coronavirus Version

by Evil HR Lady on March 1, 2020

Usually, I’d be at church on a Sunday morning, but today I’m home because church meetings have been canceled. The canton recommended it, and our church leaders decided it was a good idea.

The federal government prohibited all gatherings of more than 1000 people and recommended no more than 200. That means that Basel’s Fasnacht is canceled.

This is the largest Fasnacht celebration in Europe, as far as I know. You may wonder why it’s after Ash Wednesday instead of before. My understanding (don’t quote me on it–I’m no authority) is that about 500 years ago, there was a war between the Catholics and the Protestants in Basel. The Protestants won. They loved the big Fasnacht party the Catholics threw, but certainly didn’t want any of the Catholics attending. Solution? Move the party after Ash Wednesday, so the Catholics were in Lent and couldn’t come to a party.

I suppose that was effective in 15–whatever, but not so much now. Anyway, it’s three days of parades and parties, and it’s very important to the locals.
Canceling is extremely rare. They canceled during WWI and WWII and the Spanish Flu outbreak. Otherwise, rain or shine, snow or sleet, everyone is marching.

This year they also banned the groups from marching on their own, but I don’t know what will happen. I passed a group of people having an animated conversation about what they’d do, but I didn’t stop to find out. Plus, eavesdropping on Swiss German discussions is difficult.
Because Basel is truly a global city (49 percent Swiss, 51 percent foreign), there’s a lot of travel going on. Plus, we have the European headquarters for several pharmaceutical companies with a ton of travel. This means Coronovirus was inevitable.

Basel has one diagnosed case (a daycare worker), and the daycare has been closed all the children quarantined–100 people. I don’t know if that means there are 100 targeted people quarantined with their families, or if there are 100 people in total off the streets.

I was worried that panic would ensue.

So far, it appears to be business as usual. No panicking at the grocery store. People are on the streets like every day. (Basel has fantastic public transportation, and parking is terrible, so you see a lot of people walking. I don’t own a car, so I walk as well.)

The expat Facebook groups are stressed–which is understandable. But, overall, it’s pretty darn calm. Sure, you can’t get hand sanitizer or masks, but the grocery store shelves are full.

I have been preparing for weeks and have enough chocolate to see us through any quarantine. Oh, and actual nutritious food as well, but I have my priorities straight.


Once every four years, you get an extra day to do whatever we want! Or, rather, because you have to work for a living, you have to work. But, if you’re a business owner, you just might get some free labor.

This year, February 29 falls on a Saturday, but that means that instead of having a weekend of March 1st and 2nd, you have to be back to work on the 2nd and so do your employees. (Of course, plenty of people work on the weekend.) Regardless of how it falls, there’s an extra day. For salaried exempt employees, that extra day may not come with extra pay. 

To keep reading, click here: Leap Year Means Some Salaried Employees Work an Extra Day for Free


Lisa McCarrick filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday, alleging two significant problems. The first: she’s paid less than her male coworkers. The second: her manager told her to “scour” job candidate’s social media to determine race and gender/ethnicity and then fired her when she complained.

As with all lawsuits filed, you hear only McCarrick’s story. Amazon said only that her claims are not accurate, and otherwise, they don’t comment on pending legal actions. (This is normal and doesn’t reflect on any company facing a lawsuit.)

McCarrick claims that her managers wanted her to search out race and gender to increase diversity at Amazon. Her lawsuit states: “Although Plaintiff [McCarrick] recognized that AMAZON has been publicly criticized for its lack of diversity in the workplace and Plaintiff supports diversity in the workplace, she reasonably believed that scouring social media accounts for the purpose of ascertaining race and ethnicity was unlawful.”

To keep reading, click here: Amazon Lawsuit: Managers Scoured Job Candidates’ Social Media for Race and Gender Info