Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on September 17th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

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“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.”

– Thomas Sowell

How true! Unnecessary meetings that are unnecessarily unfocused, unnecessarily long, unnecessarily full of people, and unnecessarily unproductive are an unnecessary “thief” of precious time, energy, and – quite frankly – patience. Yet they seem to take place with unnecessary frequency. Consider requesting a pre-set (1) agenda, (2) participant list, (3) assigned note-taker, and (4) time limit, the next time you are invited or summoned to a meeting. Not always possible, but always preferable.

This quote was sent to us by Louis S. of Carrefour, Haiti. Your contribution is appreciated, Louis! If you would like to submit a proverb, quote or thought, please submit it to us at vanessa@executivelaw.com.

Need a model memo or letter to transmit a request or complaint? A good checklist or form agreement? For a complete list of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Sample Agreements, Just [click here.]

Interested in Membership? It’s free, and has advantages, including discounts on our products. Just [click here.]

Need a private telephone consultation? Just [click here.] Evenings and weekends can usually be accommodated.

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

A Note to Our Jewish Friends . . .

Published on September 10th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

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Our Best Wishes to all

Our Friends of The Jewish Faith –

and all others, too – for a Sweet,

Happy, Healthy, Safe and

Prosperous New Year.

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Prohibited.

We’re pleased to offer another new “Model Letter”:

Published on September 5th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

“Complaint of FMLA Interference and Retaliation to U.S. Dept. of Labor”

If your manager or employer has made it difficult, if not impossible, for you to take an undisturbed FMLA Leave of Absence, or retaliated against you for doing so, and HR has not effectively addressed it, this is the Model Letter for you.

It addresses all of the essential points, in an organized, effective fashion. It is an effective complaint, and also represents an effective source of leverage when negotiating with your employer to achieve a just, fair, reasonable result.

Like all of our Model Memos and Letters, this Model Memo shows you how, “What to Say, and How to Say It,™” like no other.

*To obtain your copy of our Model Letter Complaint against FMLA Interference and Retaliation, just [click here.]

**To see a list of all of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Agreements – that show you “What to Say and How to Say It” in hundreds of different workplace situations – just [click here].

***If you would like to arrange a Telephone Consultation with Mr. Sklover, just [click here].

“You’re not alone . . . at work . . . any more.”™

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover All Rights Reserved.

Boilerplate – Key Words & Phrases

Published on September 4th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

Key Words

In contracts, what is meant by:

Boilerplate?”

Often people refer to certain provisions of an agreement as “boilerplate.” For example, it is quite common that a client will say to me “The agreement I need you to review is mostly boilerplate, so it should not take long to review.”

What do people mean by “boilerplate?”

Many years ago, “boilerplate” referred to extra metal plates that were wrapped around a boiler to limit damage if the boiler blew up. They were often unneeded and used more for show than for effect.

As commonly used today, “boilerplate” refers to provisions or sections of a contract (1) that are “standard,” (2) don’t much affect the contract’s “important points,” (especially those that refer to money matters), and (3) so, don’t really need to be reviewed carefully.

Beware: each of those three statements are wrong, more wrong, and even more wrong, and it’s better you learn that here and now, and not “the hard way.”

First, there is no such thing as a “standard” contract clause or “standard” contract language because every employee, every employment relation, every word and every punctuation mark in a contract or agreement is different, and so all need to be carefully read and considered. Missing a single “black dot” in a contract is the legal equivalent of missing a single “black dot” on an x-ray.

Additionally, when reviewing a contract, you must also consider what might be “missing” from it, and how what is “missing” might pose a threat to you and your interests.

Many times I have seen seemingly innocuous provisions in agreements that – intentionally or not – change the expressed intentions and effect of the contract.

Here are some common contract provisions that people often mistakenly call “mere boilerplate,” and in doing so endanger themselves and their interests:

  • “Section Titles”: This “boilerplate” provision usually – but not always – provides that the headings or titles of paragraphs have no effect in interpretation, but are just there for the sake of convenience. So why read it carefully? Because sometimes the drafter omits the tiny word “no,” and thus changes the entire meaning and effect of the section, to its very opposite, that is, that the section titles are of meaning, and thus need to be considered in interpreting the agreement. If you don’t read the full paragraph carefully, you may misunderstand what the agreement means, leading your mind and your analysis astray.

  • “Entire Agreement”: This “boilerplate” provision usually – but not always – provides that only the words inside this agreement count, that nothing outside of it makes any difference. Why is reading this carefully important? Because sometimes other documents are inserted into this paragraph to make it say, for example “The words in this agreement and in the non-compete agreement previously signed by the parties, are and will continue to be binding.” If you failed to see that italicized language, your “boat” may be “sunk” if you get a new job, and your new employer gets a letter alleging you are violating a non-compete agreement. OUCH!!

  • “No Unsigned Agreements or Amendments”: This provision, found in many employment agreements, usually says that no oral or unsigned agreements can bind the employer, but only written and signed agreements can do so. Sometimes, though, this is added, without most people noticing: “by the employer’s CFO or CEO.” So, if this agreement, the one that contains this very provision, is not signed by the CFO or CEO, but for example by the Head of HR, then this very agreement – this entire agreement – is not binding at all on the employer. Neat trick, no?

I don’t mean to make you paranoid, and I am not trying to scare you into hiring an attorney every time you have to sign a piece of paper, but I do want to shatter any myth you may have heard or been told, especially by HR, that any words or clauses of any contract can be treated casually.

So, please bear in mind, that when anyone says that “That paragraph is nothing but boilerplate,” or “Most of this agreement is boilerplate,” as soon as you can, you should put on your strongest reading glasses, and carefully read and consider every word of it. And each punctuation mark, too.

Don’t permit yourself to be misled, don’t mislead yourself.
Nor should you “save” five minutes of reading and lose, perhaps, your career, as a result.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Need to send a model memo or letter to make a request or complaint? A good checklist or form agreement? For a complete list of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Sample Agreements, Just [click here.]

Interested in Membership? It’s free, and has advantages, including discounts on our products. Just [click here.]

Need a private telephone consultation? Just [click here.] Evenings and weekends can usually be accommodated.

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Strictly Prohibited

Labor Day

Published on September 3rd, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Labor, work, toil or endeavor. Strain, struggle, travail or exertion. No matter what you call it, it comes from within. At work, keep up your spirit, your faith and your passion in all you do, for each day your work gives birth to a better world. Remember that it all begins, and ends, with what’s inside of you. From All of Us at SkloverWorkingWisdom, to all who Labor, Happy Labor Day!

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved


Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 35 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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