Tag Archives: Communication

The Super, Scary, Ultra Discretion of the Axman

  Axman-2

Say you’re a corporate employee.  You came down with a nasty virus.  Your sister and her kids passed it on to you; they later apologize for having visited when they were sick.  You get a 102 degree fever, fatigue. Doctor says you’ll wind up in bed for a week, gives you a doctor’s note.  You hadn’t missed a day of work in years before this.  So you call in sick to work, only to hear the HR rep be snide with you, question whether you’re really sick, and badger you before finally granting you the time off.  This upsets you.  So you can’t help but give her your two cents about her and the company before hanging up.

Say you’re an HR employee.  An hourly worker calls in with a “virus.”  Just happens to be a Friday.  Also happens to be the same worker Manager Jones reported as ”insubordinate” a few weeks ago, in relation to a customer complaint.  This worker has found a doctor willing to give him a note for a full week off for a flu virus.  What kind of virus lasts a full week– doesn’t the typical flu last 72 hours at most??  Worst case, his flu should be over, and he should be back to work, early next week as opposed to Friday.  That department is already short workers.  Now, you’ve got to find someone to cover, on short notice.  But you’ll have to do it.  God forbid HR question the medical necessity of this 1-week flu vacation; if so, you’d have to answer to some lawyer the employee hires, and after that have corporate chew you out.

What stinks about this scenario (besides all of it)?

Continue reading

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy - Employee Rights

Employee Tip: Things to Consider If You Have Unpaid Wages

If you have been underpaid wages, you may want to consider the following.

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:

  • Keep copies of your paystubs and pay-related documents.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Employee Tips - Unpaid Wages

How NOT to Communicate

A big-firm attorney was fired within days of having a miscarriage, and wrote a scathing email to her coworkers.  You can read it here.

Based on the email and the facts as I know them, I believe the employee was right that she was treated unfairly.  So, why is this post titled “How NOT to Communicate?”  Because, it is not enough to be right.  People who are in-the-right must still (1) pay attention to signs that your work environment is NOT right and NOT going to change (e.g. EARLY in your job tenure pay attention if your boss wants you to work huge numbers of hours, and shows little regard for your family); (2) proactively change your environment (e.g. seek a transfer to a more humane boss, or seek jobs/interviews with more humane employers who will respect your need to take time for family, pregnancy, etc.); and (3) communicate politely, IN THOSE INSTANCES communication could make positive changes happen.

It is a sobering fact that sometimes there is nothing you can change within your present environment.  Sometimes you can be 100% right, and communicate with complete honesty and civility, and stand absolutely no chance of changing the status quo.  Here, the employee was fired, the damage done.  What good does a scathing email do?  It surely made her feel better the moment she sent it off.  But the effects linger, and readers debate whether or not her career may be finished.

This employee would have been better off remaining silent, allowing herself a clear route to a new job where she can cultivate her correct values, and leave the old environment behind to canabalize itself.  But instead she took that parting shot, and as a result she can’t leave the old world behind.

Leave a comment

Filed under Philosophy - Employee Rights

Employee Tip: Things to Consider When Your Employer/Boss Starts to Treat You Badly

If your employer/boss is treating you unfairly, you should consider doing the following:

(1) DOCUMENT what is going on. Keep a journal with names & dates & descriptions of what occurred. Save copies of important documents and witness statements. If you make complaints, make them in writing/email and save a copy (expect that management or HR will later “not recall” the spoken complaints you made).

(2) COMMUNICATE SMARTLY. Before communicating, consider the potential risk of retaliation versus the potential benefit of communicating about your problem. Communicate politely to a reasonable person who could make a difference. Do not gossip. Do not march up to your harassing boss and lecture him or her about your rightness.

(3) PROACTIVELY ARRANGE FOR “PLAN B.” Apply for new jobs or otherwise make arrangements to cushion any blows that you can see coming.

(4) DON’T “RESIGN” OR SIGN ANYTHING IF PRESSURED TO DO SO. If your employer tries to force you to resign, you should strongly consider NOT doing so. If you resign your job, that may eliminate your chances to receive unemployment benefits, and may hurt your ability to bring several legal claims. If the employer pressures you to sign a resignation notice (especially one that includes a statement “admitting” severe misconduct), this is often NOT in your interest, and the employer will often fire you anyway, despite their claims to the contrary. If you are asked to resign and presented with a severance agreement, the terms of that severance may or may not be worth signing. But the employer should allow you some time to review the severance agreement (or to review any document for that matter) before asking you to sign it.

I get several phone calls a day from fired employees who didn’t do the things above. And I can’t blame them- these tips require anticipating bad behavior from others, which is something that good people do not like to do. However, when you are being treated unfairly, it is important you assess and address the situation proactively. Taking the ounce-of-prevention approaches above can reduce the risks of harms and help prepare for a legal claim in case it ever comes to that.

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:

 

2 Comments

Filed under Employee Tip - Problems at Job