Happy Valentine’s Day

Published on February 14th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

ducks in love

On this
Valentine’s Day
We wish all of you

To have
A loved one,

To be
A loved one,


To be One
Who loves.

All of us LOVERS at

Akeesha, Morgan, Al, Vanessa, Andre, Brandon, Briana, Jaymie, Amber, Ivan, Jon and Sam – and those Who Love Us and Who We Love.
© 2016 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Duties – The Four “Situational Exceptions”

Published on February 9th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

“Due to the highly confidential nature of my position
even I don’t know what I do all day.”

– Unknown

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORY”: Bart was a highly respected Business Development Officer for a major antiquities dealer headquartered in London. His interests, education and experience all overlapped one another. In fact, he had been fascinated with the antiquities trade – the sale, purchase and barter of ancient artifacts and treasures – as long as he could remember, and remained so to this day.

As part of an expansion of his firm, Bart had been designated to open a new Chicago office because Chicago has a large, vibrant and growing antiquities market. Chicago’s client base, comprised of art institutes, museums and wealthy individuals, was judged to be quite under-served, and so this assignment was posed a significant opportunity for Bart.

Just before relocating with his family to Chicago, Bart was asked to meet with the firm’s Head of Human Resources. Upon arrival, Bart was led to a conference room and asked by the firm’s lawyers about emails he had exchanged six months earlier with an antiquities collector in Rome, who was interested in a particular item of antique jewelry soon to be sold at auction. In his email, the Rome collector asked Bart what he thought would be the minimum acceptable auction bid. Bart’s email response to the Rome collector was that he thought it would be no more than one hundred thousand dollars.

Bart’s estimate of the minimum price was on target, with good reason: it had been decided upon by the firm’s auction department just days earlier, although it had not yet been made public. It now seemed as if Bart was being accused of disclosing confidential information – a very serious policy offense in the antiquities business, which highly prizes secrecy and integrity. Sure enough, Bart was immediately suspended without pay, pending completion of a full investigation by the attorneys. And, too, his relocation to Chicago was placed on hold.

Fortunately for Bart, he had been prudent in preserving emails of others who oversee his work. His review of emails to and from the Rome collector revealed to him that the request was originally sent from the Rome collector to the firm’s Executive Director, who had, in turn, directed it to him, with a note directing Bart to provide that requested estimate. When the Executive Director was asked, and then shown his email to Bart, he then recalled what took place, and for this reason Bart was cleared of the allegation of gross misconduct.

LESSON TO LEARN: Issues of confidentiality of business secrets, confidential information, and proprietary knowledge, are critical career issues. “Loose lips” not only “sink ships,” but they can also “torpedo careers,” as well.

These disputes are definitely on the rise, likely due to three factors: (i) increasingly competitive business conditions, (ii) a growing sensitivity to issues of confidentiality, and (ii) the greater ease and ability of employers’ closing monitoring and surveilling their employees’ communications.

As you may know, there are many companies that sell software that constantly look out for certain words, phrases and numbers in employee emails, texts and other digital communications.

The lessons to learn?

(1) take the time to understand what constitutes “confidential information” at your job;

(2) always keep in the back of your mind the four “situational exceptions” to confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations, explained below; and

(3) take certain simple steps to protect yourself from allegations of improper disclosure.

These three categories of “suggested confidentiality precautions” and – most importantly, the four “situational exceptions” to confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations – are what this newsletter issue is all about.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: To avoid confidentiality issues and pitfalls, keep these questions and answers in mind:
Continue Reading. . .

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on February 8th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

Featured Coffee Cup

“Trust one who has tried.”

– Virgil

At work, and especially during difficult times at work, pay close attention to the views of those who have “tried” and, thus, speak with the “voice of experience,” whether they have won or lost. On the flipside, don’t give much credence to the views of those who have never tried. By their never having tried they say, in effect, “Even I don’t have faith in my own words.”

© 2016 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[This quote was provided by SkloverWorkingWisdom Member Dan of Detroit, Michigan. If you would like to contribute a favorite quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at vanessa@executivelaw.com].

Chinese New Year

Published on February 7th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

Monkey sitting on a pedestal. Chinese 2016 New Year symbol

On This First Day of the Chinese New Year
– A Message for all our Friends, Regardless of Ancestry:

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all of the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.

This New Year is the Year of the Monkey. Those born in “monkey years” are lively, quick-witted, innovative and mischievous, as well as smart, intelligent, and especially so in their career and wealth. In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life.

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck.

During this 15-day holiday period, we wish all of our visitors of Chinese ancestry, and all of our other friends, family, visitors and readers, as well, a New Year full of good fortune, good cheer and good health.

© 2016 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

What We All Believe In: Fairness

Published on February 4th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

Refugee Children

When I was 2 years old, my family moved from the city to the suburbs. My brother was 4. My first memory of our new home was of getting beaten up by three boys, who were 5, 5, and 10. It was because “my kind” was not welcome in the new neighborhood.

I have never felt anger at those boys, and I feel none now. They were just acting on what they had been taught at home.

But since then, many times I have wondered what made their parents tell them such things, and why “my kind” was so unwelcome so as to deserve a beating.

I think, too, of the 2-year-olds who are now refugees, and see and hear, every day, how unwelcome they are in their new neighborhoods, no matter where their parents try to bring them. My mother was a child refugee, who came here with her mother and aunt; her father “never made it.” I always wondered about that, too.

I believe in fairness, and have dedicated much of my life to fairness. I am not a liberal and I am not a conservative. You might say I am both, because both believe in fairness; they just disagree about what “fairness” means. To a child, it can’t mean being beaten up, or worse, because of the skin, ancestry, religion or home they were born into.

If you have visited this website seeking fairness at work, of course you are welcome. This website is built and maintained for that very reason. I only ask that, in turn, you try to “do fairness” and “speak fairness,” and, also, to teach fairness to your children.

Al Sklover               

© 2016 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 30 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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