I’m about to Get Fired. How Do I Prepare?

by Evil HR Lady on September 30, 2020

Currently, I am working as a full-time engineer, and my boss is giving me a hard time. The problem is that my boss may fire me soon like in 2 or 3 weeks, so I want to get prepared for this early sudden termination.

Do I have to collect some evidence like “my boss gave me hard-time during work,” to prepare for any sudden termination? The previous ex-employee who get fired a year ago said he should have signed on some documents about “no-suing” etc. 

If you feel like you are about to get fired, here is what you need to do.

Take all your personal items home. This may seem like a ridiculous thing, but for reasons unknown to me, people bring priceless and irreplaceable items to the office and then are devastated when they lose them after being fired. Take them home now.

Remove any personal documents off your work computer/phone. Don’t steal any proprietary information. You do not want to do that. But, lots of people use their work phones and computers for personal things. Pictures of your kids? Your latest copy of your resume? Make sure you have those on personal devices.

Get copies of your performance appraisals and any other documents you may need. If you feel that your termination is unfair or illegal, having your performance appraisals can demonstrate that you were a good employee. Yes, your lawyer can subpoena those, but it’s far easier (and cheaper) if you have them. If you have any signed documents, get a copy of those. Things like non-competes, relocation contracts, and non-disclosure agreements all hinge on the actual language. Make sure you have a copy.

Update your resume. No time like the present! You can use your performance appraisals and goals to help you figure out how to add this current job to your resume.

Start actively looking for a new job. It is always easier to find a job when you have one. Getting some things lined up while you still have a steady paycheck makes it easier.

Try to save your current job. Most people would put this first on the list, but I’ve been involved in a enough terminations to know that if you feel like you’re about to get fired, it may be too late. But, many jobs can be saved. Go to your boss and say, “I feel like you’re unhappy with my performance. Can we make a plan together to improve things?” Trust me, this isn’t given your boss any ideas he doesn’t have already. Even if your job isn’t salvageable, this can help extend it while you look for a new job.

Of course, if you’re already on a performance improvement plan, you should be focused on fixing the problems laid out there. If you have a competent HR department, certainly go to them and ask for help.

But, if the termination comes, at least you’re prepared.

Have a workplace dilemma? Send me an email at EvilHRLady@gmail.com

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The Real HR Show: Covid 19 Claims Update

by Evil HR Lady on September 29, 2020

Learn what’s going on in the world of Covid based lawsuits. And plus, a couple of questions about resignations and job interviews.

Remember to like and follow The Real HR Show!

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By Rachel Malehorn – Direct link, smugmug.com, CC BY 3.0,

WARNING: This post has nothing to do with politics. Any comments about the political side and whether Judge Barrett is qualified or unqualified to be a Supreme Court Justice will be deleted. I do not care what your political beliefs are. This is about women being judged on something other than knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Supreme Court Nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, has seven children–the oldest is 16 and the youngest is five. Everyone is, presumably, out of diapers and in school. And while most women don’t have seven children, most women do have children (or will have at some point). And just what type of mother she is or if she sends them to daycare or has a nanny is completely irrelevant to her ability to do her job.

So, when I saw these tweets, I went apoplectic.

It absolutely is not worth asking. We NEVER ask these questions of job candidates. And I can’t imagine that this type of question has ever been asked of a male Supreme Court nominee. Chief Justice Roberts had toddlers when he was nominated. Former Justice Antonin Scalia (for whom Coney Barrett clerked) had nine children. I couldn’t find the ages of his children, but here’s a picture from 1986, when he was sworn into the court.

Time Magazine

Clearly, there are some young kids there. And while I don’t remember anything about his senate hearings (I was 13), I’m pretty sure no one advocated asking about his child care arrangements.

This is 2020. We should not ask any female candidate for any job about her child care arrangements. We should not ask any female candidate if she has children. I’d point out that we shouldn’t ask this of male candidates, but we don’t already.

We should ask women the same questions as we ask men. These questions should determine if the candidate can do the job. As long as the children don’t show up at the office, it’s all good.

These questions are sexist and inappropriate, period. If you don’t like Judge Barrett, they are inappropriate. If you love Judge Barrett, they are inappropriate.

We need to eliminate this line of questioning from every job interview, and that’s what a Supreme Court Nominee hearing is–a job interview.

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The Sure Way to Alienate Your Employees During Covid

by Evil HR Lady on September 24, 2020

All employees are required to wear masks when walking around, keep socially distanced while seated, and must eat lunch their desks–no group lunches in the cafeteria.

Unless, of course, you’re part of the executive team. They walk the halls without masks and eat lunch together in a conference room.

One of my readers described this situation to me. Can you imagine what this is doing to employee morale? My reader was not happy.

Practice what you preach

Whether or not you think masks help prevent Covid-19 transmission is irrelevant in this situation. If your company policy requires it or your state law requires it, then the CEO and senior management team should never, ever, not for thirty seconds, violate that rule. 

You cannot expect your employees to respect and follow you in business matters when you do not follow the same rules you expect them to follow. This applies to all sorts of rules, like vacation time, travel reimbursement, and proper office behavior. In the case of Covid-19, it applies to masks and other behavior designed to keep employees and clients safe.

To keep reading, click here: The Sure Way to Alienate Your Employees During Covid

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We’ve all been so wrapped up in Covid, we might have forgotten to keep our eye on the NLRB. Plus, the Brenda answers a workers comp question and I answer one about walking employees out when they quit!

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Pregnancy shouldn’t be an issue in job interviews, assignments, promotions, or day-to-day work. But it is, and sometimes women don’t have the protection that they think they do. For instance, if an employee’s doctor says she should be on light duty due to the pregnancy, the business only has to provide this if it does so for disabled employees. It can make it difficult for a pregnant employee to get the help she needs.

The House just passed new legislation, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, with a bipartisan vote of 329 to 73. The legislation has to go to the Senate and then the president for it to become law, but if it does, it would make a significant change to the protections pregnant women receive in the workplace.

Here are the essential provisions of the bill.

To keep reading, click here: The House Just Voted for Additional Protections for Pregnant Workers. What That Means for You

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What to Do When Your Employee Brings up Mental Health

by Evil HR Lady on September 18, 2020

Last week, I was sitting outside at a restaurant on a busy foot-traffic-only street. One of my teen’s friends walked by and stopped to chat. She was with a group of other friends. I mentioned how sad my daughter was that they had had to cancel their lunch date earlier in the week. She apologized and said, “I know. I forgot I had a psych appointment.”

None of her friends reacted nervous or upset to find out that their friend met with a psychiatrist. I’m pretty sure they already knew, and they didn’t care.

While mental health was a taboo subject in the past, it’s less so now. This means that your employees are likely to bring up their mental health struggles, and you need to be prepared to talk about it.

The Wall Street Journal asked when it’s okay to reveal to your boss that you’re having mental health problems. Their expert, Jill Hooley, a psychology professor at Harvard University, says that she is “leery” of having her patients speak to their bosses.

To keep reading, click here: What to Do When Your Employee Brings up Mental Health

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How to Get Recruiters to Give You Feedback

by Evil HR Lady on September 17, 2020

I’m writing regarding a FB post asking readers “How many of you provide honest feedback when rejecting a candidate?”

I noticed the majority of respondents said that they do not provide feedback, citing possible negative ramifications.

I’m curious what advice you would give to applicants to regarding obtaining feedback? How can a candidate determine what needs to be improved?

As you noted, people responded that they won’t give feedback because it’s too risky–both in time and lawsuits. They don’t want to open the door to arguing. (“You said you didn’t hire me because I didn’t have enough experience in X. I do have enough experience! I’m a senior level black belt in X!)

They also don’t want to open up to a discrimination claim. The recruiter says, “you didn’t have enough experience in X.” Fine. It’s a concrete thing. But, then the candidate hired isn’t as good in X as this rejected candidate thinks. If the new hire is a different race/gender/religion/whatever, the person might claim discrimination. Or, as often happens, people get rejected before a hiring decision is made. So, the hiring manager/recruiter rejects you because you don’t have good experience in X. But, then three months pass and they still haven’t found someone with the experience they desire, so they lower their standards. Sure, maybe they should go back and look at the rejected candidates, but they don’t.

Or, maybe the person the end up hiring isn’t as good in X as the rejected candidate, but they are experts in Y, and Z, and they speak Spanish, and so that pushes them over the top.

This doesn’t answer your question and just rehashes the thread, but I point this out to say that it will be difficult to get people to give you feedback. Honestly, you’re lucky if you’re not ghosted.

But, if you want to try, here are some suggestions. No guarantees.

  • “I’m really interested in pursing this career. If I wanted to be a stronger candidate, should I work on X or Y?”

The reason this is more likely to help is that you’re not asking the recruiter/hiring manager to pull something out of the air, and you’re not asking them to tell you why you weren’t hired. You’re asking a question with a clear set of choices.

  • “Can you tell me three things I could improve on?”

Again, this gives them a clear boundary. And you’re already admitting you are not the perfect candidate. If they answer–even with one thing–the proper thing to say is “Thank you so much! I really appreciate your time!”

If they come back with something you totally disagree with, still say “thank you so much! I really appreciate your time!” They are not going to change your mind when you point out that they missed the 14th bullet point on your resume that says you’re an expert in this area.

I’m happy to hear any suggestions from any readers on how they’ve asked for feedback and gotten it.

It’s not easy!

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I would appreciate some advice for my particular case.  My company recently got bought out by a big corporate company. Today I got an offer letter that offers a 20% pay cut and that would increase my benefit premiums from $0 to $200/month, all for the exact same role and tasks. 

As you can imagine, I am not happy about it. And it was a bigger slap in the face when the HR person from the new company didn’t even know I existed (I work remotely, while 90% of the company is in another city). 

I’ve sent an email to the HR team at my current company inquiring if this was just an oversight but haven’t heard back from them. The CEO did say in a slack room for questions of employees that anyone who will not take their offer from the new merged company can just resign…

If I don’t accept that offer letter, or they can’t justify this pay decrease, and if I don’t “officially” resign, does this just mean the company can terminate me at the close of the merger? 

A couple of things: I wouldn’t take it as a slap in the face that the new HR department didn’t know you exist. They know enough to get you a new offer letter. When you’re merging with another company–no matter the size–the new HR department won’t instantly know everything.

Second, I love email and text messaging and any way of communicating that doesn’t require speaking on the phone. But, it’s also easier for those things to get missed. Pick up the phone and call.

If all employees received a 20 percent pay cut, they will be super tired of answering questions, but that’s the job.

Then to get to your real question: what happens if you just say no? Well, as you said, you’ll be terminated. They’ve offered you a job, they’ve given you written notice, and you can say yes or no. But, the real question is, will you be eligible for unemployment if you say no.

It’s not like you can do a tricky thing where you just fail to accept and they terminate and now it’s a layoff rather than a resignation and you are eligible for unemployment! They will (undoubtedly) report to the unemployment office that you resigned.

Your state may consider a pay cut of 20 percent to be severe enough to count as a legitimate reason for resigning. I don’t know.

But, keep in mind that the federal subsidy is gone and so your unemployment check will be less than your current salary minus 20 percent, plus you’ll have to pay for COBRA.

My advice? Immediately start looking for a new job and as soon as you get one, resign. But in the meantime, keep this one.

Now, if you were actually thinking if you just stay quiet, will they forget to lower your salary? No, they won’t. That’s happening.

And i’m sorry. That sucks.