Monthly Archives: July 2008

Employee Types

This management seminar flier categorizes different types of problem employees (e.g. “The Gossip,” “The Excuse Artist”), and offers ways to deal with each employee personality type.

I think it is usually counterproductive to give people labels.  For example, if a manager tells an employee that he is “The Gossip”- or if the manager merely believes the employee can be reduced to a stereotypical icon like “The Gossip”- those beliefs or words can push the parties’ employment relationship in a negative direction.  In my own observation, employment disputes are resolved much better when management address employees in terms of behavior (e.g. manager tells an employee that “Gossiping is harmful, and I’d ask that you and others avoid it”) rather than labels that categorize a person (e.g. “You are a Gossiper”).

With that said, upon review of this full flier information and seminar description, I think that, for the most part, this seminar does address behaviors first, and promotes positive communications with employees.  (In other words, the seminar promises to tell managers how to communicate with employees about things like gossiping, and doing so in a constructive manner that does not offend the employees or make them defensive).

In my observation, when management encounters behavior types that are legitimately harmful (e.g. excuse-making) but communicates negatively to the employees about this (e.g. “You’re an Excuse Artist who never takes responsiblity for anything!”), then the first stone is cast, and escalating disputes and litigation are much more likely.

As I often find myself saying to employees (and the same holds true for management): When you are in a dispute, it is not enough to be right.  How you communicate is just as important, and often more important, than being right.  If you communicate negatively or unprofessionally, that distracts from the fact you are right, and makes people inclined to defensive or retaliatory behavior, as opposed to seeing the light.

Because this seminar appears to share this philosophy, I give it a thumbs up, for whatever the value of my little thumb in cyberspace is worth.


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Filed under Humor, Philosophy - Employee Rights

“Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” (DVD)

Recently, I watched a very interesting, albeit unsettling, documentary titled “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.”  More information about the film is here.

The film, of course, addresses the notorious photographs of torture (or alleged torture, some feel) that was conducted by U.S. prison workers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.  The pictures speak for themselves.  The people interviewed speak volumes as well, although their assertions (unlike the pictures)are more open to dispute.  Were the prison workers involved “a few bad apples,” or were they acting under the explicit direction or negligent oversight of the U.S. government?  All of the above, according to the film.

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Employee Tip: If You’re an H-1B Worker Being Underpaid Wages, Consider These Things

If you are an H-1B professional worker who is being underpaid wages, please know that you have legal rights. The information below describes your rights as an H-1B professional, and factors and options you should consider before taking legal action or pursuing your wages.

Please note this post does not provide legal advice- if you want legal advice, you should contact an attorney and discuss your specific circumstances. If you are interested in legal assistance from attorney-author Michael Brown or his law firm DVG Law Partner for your matter, please contact them here:

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Filed under Employee Tip - Considering a Legal Action, Employee Tip - H-1B, Employee Tips - Unpaid Wages

Подсказка работникy: если Вы H-1B профессионал, которому недоплачивают заработную плату, подумайте над следующими вещами…

Подсказка работникy: если Вы H-1B профессионал, которому недоплачивают заработную плату, подумайте над следующими вещами:

Если Вы профессионал, приехавший по визе H-1B, которому в настоящее время недоплачивают зарплату, знайте, что вы имеете юридические права. Приведенная ниже информация описывает Ваши права, нормы и опции, как H-1B профессионала, которые  вы должны рассмотреть до принятия каких либо юридических действий. (Обратите внимание, что эта статья не является юридически консультационной, если вы хотите юридический совет, то Вам
следует обратиться к адвокату, который имеет опыт работы с визами H-1B и невыплатой заработной платы и обсудить Ваши конкретные обстоятельства).

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Pump You Up

Employers- are you looking for an employment defense attorney who will unquestioningly agree with every word you allege, gladly smear your opponent employee as “ridiculous” and a “liar” and the like, and write letters to your opponent (although more so written to you) proclaiming your organization will be “vindicated?”

Employees- are you looking for an employee rights attorney who will unquestioningly take your “slam dunk case” as you call it, who gladly promises to be more “aggressive” than the prior two attorneys you retained, and who nods and agrees that your case may well go to the Supreme Court because you’ll “never settle with those people?”

If you search long enough, and if you bring a big wallet along, you will eventually find the right attorneys to Pump (PAUSE, CLAP) You Up.





And at some point (well short of the Supreme Court or “vindication”) you will realize that you have spent a lot more money on legal fees than you needed to, and you probably WILL “settle with those people” (or, at least you’d BETTER).  And the settlement will be a disappointment to you as compared to what you had believed back when your attorney was vocal about pumping you up, and silent about the multiple risks of deflation.  But at some point you’ll see it’s better to cut your losses than continue to pay Hans and Franz’s membership fee.

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Filed under Employee Tip - Hiring an Attorney, Humor, Philosophy - Employee Rights

A Story: Opposing Attorneys Drinking Beers Together. (?!)

Another plaintiff’s attorney told me a war story that I’ve often thought about.

The attorney was involved in a very negative lawsuit, where the parties (plaintiff and defendant) apparently disliked each other immensely.

The case went to trial.  After the last day of trial, the attorney asked the other party’s attorney if he wanted to go drink a beer at the local tavern.

The opposing attorney, before answering, looked behind to make sure his client (a representative for one of the parties) had left.

She just wouldn’t understand us drinking a beer together, he explained.  When he looked back, he saw the representative had left.

So the opposing attorneys went to the tavern, and drank a beer.

I didn’t ask the attorney what he and the opposing attorney talked about at the tavern.  But I have some educated guesses about what they didn’t talk about.  They probably didn’t trade personal insults.  They probably didn’t talk about how righteous they or their clients were, although each attorney probably believed in full that his respective client was right, and at trial covered every important fact and argument in his client’s favor.

But probably, by the time they got to the bar, they didn’t say much about the case at all, other than each politely acknowledging that the other did a good job for his client.  And then, the trial disputes behind them, they probably went on to discuss more important things.  Their kids.  Their health.  Their belief that it was important for people- and for opponents, in particular- to drink a beer together.  That at a time when our differences have come to a head, and pose the greatest risk to defray us, that is the best time to embrace commonalities.

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Corporate Rhetoric, the Decline of Individual Rights, and What You Can Do About It

If you listened only to corporate-based rhetoric, you would get the following impressions about individuals who sue organizations:

  • Frivolous lawsuits are out of control, and too many huge verdicts are being awarded to individuals who spill coffee on themselves and the like.
  • There are too many individuals- including employees, consumers, injured persons and attorneys- who are “extortionists,” and are filing frivolous lawsuits to look for a quick (and large) buck.
  • “Tort reform,” and restricting individuals’ access to the legal system, is needed, or else businesses may not financially survive.

As someone who works with individuals bringing legal claims, I see many problems with these concepts, which mischaracterize the state of the world as I experience it.

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Employee Tip: Filing for Unemployment in WI; Preparing for Appeal and Hearing

If you are a Wisconsin employee seeking unemployment benefits, you may wish to consider the information and tips below.

Please note this post does not provide legal advice- if you want legal advice, you must talk to an attorney about your specific situation. If you are interested in assistance from attorney-author Michael Brown of DVG Law Partner for your Wisconsin unemployment matter, please contact us here:

WI Unemployment - No Fees Unless You Win

The information below is intended to supplement information from the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the agency that administers unemployment benefits.  You can also review DWD’s “Handbookhere, which has detailed information for employee/claimants, and DWD’s FAQs here.

Below is additional information for employees about the unemployment process.

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Filed under Employee Tip - Unemployment, Unemployment - Wisconsin

Employee Tip: Document, Document, Document (And SAVE Documents!)

If you are an employee with concerns about your employer, or you think you may pursue a legal action someday, please know that the documentation you keep is critical.  Do not assume the employer or others will keep important documents and produce them to you later, or will agree with your undocumented recollections of events.

More about documentation…

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Filed under Employee Tip - Considering a Legal Action, Employee Tip - Problems at Job, Employee Tips - Unpaid Wages

“That’s Just the Way That I Am”

“That’s just the way that I am.”  Ever find yourself saying this, when confronted about something you’ve done?  If so, that means four things: (1) you are being unreasonable; (2) you KNOW you are being unreasonable; (3) you are making the conscious decision not to change what’s unreasonable; and (4) you don’t care about the effect your unreasonable action has on others.

The upside is, if you are saying this, you have the capacity of self-reflection.  And it’s never too late to ditch this axiom, and a philosophy that causes others, and you, unhappiness.

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