Monthly Archives: August 2008

Employee Tip: Things to Consider When Your Employer Offers a Severance Agreement

If an employer has offered you a severance agreement, you should consider the following things.

Note: this post does not give legal advice. For legal advice about your severance situation, please contact an attorney.  To reach me, click here:

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  • Consider deadlines, and act promptly.

The moment you are given a severance agreement, check it for a deadline. Chances are, your employer gave you a deadline in which you must agree to, or decline, the severance. For workers 40 years old or older, federal law requires employers give at least a 21-day period to review the severance agreement.

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Filed under Employee Tip - Severance & Settlement

Employees and Other Readers- Your Comments and Feedback Are Welcomed and Appreciated

I wanted to thank those of you who have been reading this blog.  The number of visitors has been going up, and I hope this means that you are finding some information to be interesting or helpful.

If anyone has comments, feedback, or questions, please feel free to post Comments on the blog.  In particular, I’d be interested in your feedback about: (1) whether the Employee Tip- posts have been of help to you employees out there; (2) what you would like to see improved with the blog; and (3) whether there are any additional employment law issues you would like me to write about.

Thanks again for reading the blog, and again I’d be happy to hear your comments and suggestions.

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Employee Tip: Problems Getting in Touch With an Employee Rights Attorney?

If you are an employee who is having trouble getting in touch with an employee rights attorney, please know two things: (1) your frustrations are entirely understandable- chances are, you are calling about serious, and perhaps urgent, employment issues that seriously affect your life and income; and (2) there are often several legitimate reasons (having nothing to do with anything negative about you) why an attorney cannot speak to you as soon as you’d like or need.

My best advice for you is this: research and find one or two employee rights attorneys who strike you as knowledgeable (or are recommended as knowledgeable by a reliable source) and be politely persistent until you get a chance to speak to one of those attorneys.

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Filed under Employee Tip - Hiring an Attorney

Surveillance and Distrust

There is an interesting article at law.com about employers who spy and use surveillance on employees who are on medical leave.

The employers’ main argument boils down to this: many employees abuse medical leave, and surveillance is needed to bust the wrongdoers, some of whom are busted while bowling or otherwise doing highly questionable things while on medical leave.

The employees’ main argument: surveillance of employees is over-intrusive, and just because an employee on medical leave is “caught” doing an everyday task (e.g. mowing the lawn) doesn’t mean the employee is faking a medical condition (e.g. faking the panic attacks that the doctor recommended a week off of work to attend to).

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Filed under Employee Tip - Considering a Legal Action, Employee Tip - Problems at Job, Philosophy - Employee Rights

Individual Rights, Gerry Spence Blog

Anyone interested in individual rights and the law should check out this new blog by renowned trial lawyer Gerry Spence.

Mr. Spence comments about his most closely-held views, many certain to raise controversy.  This includes his views that individuals are being oppressed by corporations and government on a large scale, and are oppressed to the extent that he regards ourselves as “slaves” to these larger forces, and to our failures to liberate ourselves.

Whether or not you agree with these views, you will likely find them relevant.  Mr. Spence undoubtedly possesses one of the big character trait he promotes: authenticity.

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Filed under Philosophy - Employee Rights

Cloverleaf On-Ramps and the Law

When I was in law school, a professor discussed an interesting analogy.  It involved the invention of cloverleaf-shaped on-ramps.  The new on-ramps were self-imposed structures, which- like the self-imposition of new laws- improved safety and prevented us from making human errors.

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Employee Tip: When Employment Trouble Arises, Start Work on the Plan B Safety Net Immediately

Does your job:

  • Make you do things that you think are unethical?
  • Subject you to abuse (verbal, physical, sexual harassment, etc.)?
  • Rip you off (e.g. underpay you, deny your obvious need for medical leave, etc.)?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, then you may well have a legal claim against your employer.  You may call a lawyer and check into that.

But more importantly, you may want to question why you put up with it, continuing to get slapped by the hand that feeds you.  There are other hands out there.  If you are fired or treated too adversely, you will be forced to find a new employer.  So why not start the job search now, when it’s already clear to you that your employer is acting against your interests?

I get phone calls from employees all the time who describe legitimate, painful hardships inflicted upon them by their employers.  So then I ask, “Are you looking for a new job?”

Disappointingly, often the answer is “No,” or “Not yet, but I plan on it,” or “No, because no one else would hire me.”

As these answers show: many employees who are being treated unfairly do not react proactively.  When obvious trouble arises, they do not react by planning for the worst and sending out resumes, etc.  Rather, they spend a great deal of time: (1) internalizing the employer’s irrational criticisms (e.g. “Maybe I really am a lousy employee for getting cancer and having to take leave from work”); (2) futilely trying to debate the employer’s irrational criticisms (e.g. “Why are you giving me a ‘final warning’ for an ‘attendance problem’ when I’m taking leave for chemotherapy?  I’m going to file my third grievance against you guys if you fire me”); and/or (3) avoiding a job search, because they believe that no other employer would hire them anyway.

Such self-tormenting is sympathetic and understandable.  A conscientious person wants to examine criticisms and actions against them, to examine if the criticisms have merit, and if the person can improve things.  This is the natural reaction of a conscientious employee.  But it’s the wrong reaction.  If you encounter unfair conduct and see the writing is on the wall, you should not stick around to analyze or debate it.  Nor should you become paralyzed by self-doubts, such as “No one would want to hire someone like me, because I [fill in the self-defeating blank].”

You HAVE to get hired somewhere else.  So get over your doubts, NOW, and go and start doing the many things it will take to get hired.

The moment you recognize your employer has turned against your interests, get going with Plan B immediately.  Send out resumes and prepare a safety net to land on.  The same employer who unfairly denies your cancer leave may also unfairly decide to fire you.

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