Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers and double-checked with the lawyers. Read more at www.evilhrlady.org. On Twitter @RealEvilHRLady.
PODCAST: How can employers help ease the transition into new software and systems?
Hiring new people with new ideas and varied experience is always
a good idea. It’s also good to think about what the current staff
thinks and make sure they are happy.
PODCAST: How can employers offer year-end rewards to employees when there isn’t much cash to spare?
It’s not just about learning new functions and how to run reports
in the new system, it’s about change. Here are the areas of
concern and how to fix them.
There are many ways to show employees how much you care about
them, even if you can’t shower them with gifts and bonuses.
PODCAST: How can employers design an attendance policy that works for both themselves and their workers?
PODCAST: Do small businesses with just a few employees need an HR professional, or are there other options?
It’s within an employer’s rights to set an absentee policy
that makes sense for the business. Here’s what that
could look like.
How can employers improve the diversity of their hires without
violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
PODCAST: How can a small-business owner give new hires the guidance they need to come onboard — without breaking the bank?
How can employers respond to employees’ concerns as they return
to the office or opt not to do so?
PODCAST: Employers are considering making the temporary measures for people to work from home caused by the coronavirus lockdown more formal. What are their obligations to their employees?
PODCAST: A bored new employee quits instead of applying to an open position within the company because of a policy that prohibits job changes within one year. Is this a wise policy?
PODCAST: An employer asks whether perks such as vacation time and telecommuting privileges can be negotiated with a job candidate.
PODCAST: I just found out a coworker is making more than I am, even though I have been here longer. How can I bring this up to my manager without giving away how I found out?
It’s always easier to start with a good, solid HR plan than to throw one together the first time you have an issue.
Employers are considering making the temporary measures for people to work from home caused by the coronavirus lockdown more formal. What are their obligations to their employees?
If employees are scheduled to begin working at 6 a.m., but no one from management shows up until 7 a.m. to unlock the doors, can the workers be penalized and docked an hour of pay?
PODCAST: If employees are scheduled to begin working at 6 a.m., but no one from management shows up until 7 a.m. to unlock the doors, can the workers be penalized and docked an hour of pay?
I have an employee who would like to be referred to with gender-neutral pronouns. What is our obligation to this employee, and do we face possible legal repercussions?
I can’t afford a full-time HR person, but I need help onboarding new hires. What can I do?
An employee quit because they were bored and couldn’t transfer to another role based on a company’s policy. Is this a good policy to keep?
There’s always someone in the office counting the number of vacation days each person takes, which makes extra paid vacation days a tricky thing to offer.
The National Labor Relations Act protects your right to discuss working conditions with your coworkers, and that includes salaries.
“Can full-time, permanent employees do freelance work for our California-based company if that work falls outside their job description?”
The Fair Labor Standards Act has strict rules regarding paying nonexempt employees, and California is even stricter; one of the key components is that employees must be paid for every hour they work
“Evil HR Lady” Suzanne Lucas explains what you should say — and what you shouldn’t — when a prospective employer calls with a reference check.
After an employee lodged an OSHA complaint against a company, his manager found a journal in the employee’s office that would make any reasonable person cringe in the era of #MeToo. Comstock’s columnist Suzanne Lucas explains why it’s still a bad idea to terminate the employee in this case.
A company is considering switching a full-time worker into a contractor after the employee requested to work from home. Can the company legally do this?
How and when to give feedback to rejected candidates.
How to cut labor cost during tough times.
While on maternity leave, an opportunity for my dream job has come up, and they want someone immediately. The hiring manager said he was impressed with my resume and would hire me. Do I have to go back to work and then give two weeks’ notice, or can I just quit? I know this might not be ethical, but legally can they do anything to stop me?
What are employers expected to do for employees when the air quality is dangerous? Are we legally obligated to close when the air quality is so bad?
I’m in my 50s and the HR manager for a startup — about 80 people and the average employee is under 30. I’m dealing with a 20-something problem employee. She’s dramatic, often disrupting work with her grievances. Despite my recommendation, her manager (also young) won’t put her on a performance improvement plan over concerns it will reinforce the idea we have a toxic environment. What can I do?
One of our employees is a vegan activist, and has started posting material on the “evils of eating meat” outside his cubicle or leaving them strewn around shared spaces (in the kitchen, near the copier, etc.). Is there anything I can do about this behavior?
I’m the HR manager for my company, and a director wanted to write up an employee for posting an article titled “Employees Don’t Leave Jobs, They Leave Managers” on her personal LinkedIn account. The director had already spoken with the employee and asked her to remove the article from LinkedIn, which she did. However, this doesn’t appear to be a violation of our organization’s social media policy. What should I do?
Recently, my boss held a meeting with my direct reports where they filled out a survey about my performance as their manager. When my boss shared the results with me, he disclosed that “someone” mentioned I wasn’t allowing my team to learn, but rather I was micromanaging them. In discussing my frustration with a peer, she expressed that he is not allowed to do this. Can you shed some light?
My organization’s dress code is business casual — jeans are acceptable with nice tops. But our leadership team disagrees over who should have to follow this dress code. Should all our employees have the same expectations or is there a different standard for those that come in contact with clients or vendors more regularly?
Dilemma of the Month: My business is quite seasonal. We have work year round, but in the off-season we don’t need the same number of employees. It’s just not profitable to keep everyone on the payroll 12 months out of the year. Can I drop hours? Can I lay people off and rehire? Are there things that make one option better than the other?
I’m a corporate recruiter. For candidates that progress to an HR phone screen, we ask their expected salary and share the range we have for the role. Is it appropriate to use someone’s low salary expectations as a reason for not moving forward? I’m concerned that a candidate who makes so much less won’t be a good fit. Is that the case?
I am the CFO for a 90-plus person firm and the head of human resources reports to me. Several employees have told me they feel uncomfortable going to the HR manager with complaints or concerns, because she’s really good friends with some of the people here and they’re afraid she’ll be biased. What do you think?
We are a small business with a staff of three: myself, my husband and one employee. As a seasonal business, we are sometimes very busy and sometimes have hardly any business at all. Recently, our employee asked to convert from a salary to hourly pay. He made this request during our busy season. My question is: Do we have to pay him during a month when we have no business at all?
We are a 30-agent real estate brokerage company with one administrative assistant, our lone employee. However, her professional abilities have not kept pace with the times. She has no technical skills and can’t keep up with her other tasks. She is 75 years old and we are at a loss regarding how to handle easing her into retirement.
Is after-hours employee fraternization between a co-founder and an intern inappropriate, or am I just being extra cautious?
A client recently threatened to quit working with us after seeing politically-charged posts she deemed offensive on one of my account manager’s social media accounts. I’ve asked the employee not to let this happen again, but he countered that we have no policy in place (which is true), and furthermore, these are his personal accounts and he is entitled to free speech. How can I deal with this situation?
I interviewed a job candidate who was severely overweight and had trouble walking. While the job is mostly a desk job (administrative assistant) the admins are expected to run things back and forth when needed. Could I have asked her about her health? I didn’t. I didn’t offer her the job, either, and now I’m feeling guilty. What should I have done?
We drug test new hires at my company. When a potential employee’s test comes back positive it’s easy enough to rescind the offer, but we had a candidate have a test returned “negative but diluted” and we rescinded the offer. The candidate had already given two weeks’ notice at his current company and they won’t take him back. Did we do the right thing?
I have an employee who hasn’t been performing well. Last week, she was out sick again and I needed a report. I tried to call her, but she didn’t answer. So, I asked IT if I could get the report from her email, and they gave me access to her inbox. I found the report, but curiosity overcame me, and I opened a few other emails. I feel totally guilty — I snooped. Is this legal? Is it moral? What do I do with this information?
My assistant “Jane” has a reduced work week, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. I agreed to this when she was hired. However, two years later, I now need her to work more hours. I don’t need or want to hire an additional person — I just need her to work an 8-hour day. But she doesn’t want to. What can I legally do?
I recently made an offer to a new director of communications for my company. However, I then found out this individual had posted to Facebook asking friends for feedback on two job offers — one for my company and another for a local competitor. I was horrified and I want to remove my offer. Any advice on how to tactfully prevent this from happening in the future?