Workplace Negotiating Insight No. 14: Don’t Trust Promises from Those Who Don’t Honor Them

Published on October 17th, 2017 by Alan L. Sklover

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“They didn’t honor past deals? Don’t make new deals with them.”

Observe and Learn:

Why trust those you know are un-trustworthy?

I have seen this situation maybe 1,000 times: a client who is terribly disappointed by an employer who I know has disappointed other employees in the past.

Time and again, these employers make promises, and never seem to honor them. It could be regarding rewards (say, stock), advancement (for example, promotions), minimum compensation (allegedly “guaranteed” bonuses), or even such basics as their title, their role or their benefits. And even when the promise is in writing.

And there always seems to be one excuse or another.

If you are considering changing jobs, asking past (and maybe present) employees about the reliability of the employer’s promises is one of the smartest things you can do.

As Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”

Don’t rely on promises from someone who in the past has not fulfilled his or her promises to others. That advice is straight from Einstein.

Observe and Learn.
Then Negotiate.

© 2017, Alan L. Sklover All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Prohibited.

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Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on October 16th, 2017 by Alan L. Sklover

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“What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight.”

– French Proverb

At night, things can seem one way; in the morning, quite another. So, too, at work can context make a supreme difference in the perception, meaning and effect of what you say and do.
The casual words you commonly use with your friends may not be appropriate at work. Likewise, the same gift you give to a cousin may be an actual crime if given to a prospective customer. And, too, what you share with your manager may not be appropriate to share with your staff.
Context differentiates everything, and these days, seemingly small and subtle differences in words and deeds can make or break a workplace relation, or even a career. Don’t be paranoid, but do be prudent in all you say and do in the workplace.

This quote was sent to us by Benyamin of Tallahassee, Florida. Much thanks to Benyamin! If you would like to submit a proverb, quote or thought, please submit it to us at vanessa@executivelaw.com.

Need to send a modal 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.]

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© 2017 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

Offer Letter or Company Plan – Which One Governs?

Published on October 10th, 2017 by Alan L. Sklover

 
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters
cannot be trusted with important matters.”

– Albert Einstein

ACTUAL CASE HISTORIES: Case History 1: Joseph signed an Offer Letter that said the following: “The Company will provide you and your family with health insurance coverage, subject to the terms provisions and conditions of the Company Health Insurance Plan.” Sounded good to Joseph.

After starting the job, though, Joseph found out that the terms of the Company Health Insurance Plan provided that “New employees and their families are not eligible for paid health insurance coverage until the employee has been on the job for six months.” So, the “terms and provisions” of the Plan essentially took away what the Offer Letter had seemed to provide Joseph and his family. Big disappointment, to say the least. In this case history, the Plan “overcame” or “superseded” what was in Joseph’s Offer Letter, or at least modified it to his and his family’s significant detriment. Ouch!

Case History 2: When Lemuel started his job, he was very interested in the company’s willingness to offer stock options to its employees. For this reason, he carefully reviewed the terms of his employer’s Stock Option Plan. It said quite clearly that “Company employees will receive a minimum of 1,000 stock options for each twelve months on the job, unless agreed otherwise.” Sounded great to Lemuel.

After a year on the job, Lemuel asked his Human Resources representative if he could get a written statement of how many stock options he had been awarded. To his surprise, he was told “You don’t have any.” When Lemuel insisted on an explanation, she responded, “Your Offer Letter stated clearly ‘Your compensation consists of a base salary, an annual bonus and health care coverage. No other compensation is being offered to you. To receive any additional form of compensation, you and an authorized representative of the Company and you must sign another document that provides that to you.”

So, the “terms and provisions” of Lemuel’s Offer Letter essentially took away what the Stock Option Plan had seemed to provide Lemuel and his family. In this case history, the Offer Letter “overcame” or “superseded” the Company’s Stock Option Plan. Ouch! Big disappointment, to say the least. Seems that the Offer Letter took away what the Stock Option Plan seemed to provide, by “overcoming” or “superseding” what was in the company’s Stock Option Plan.

Does your Offer Letter (or employment agreement) overcome everything that is said in any of the employer’s compensation and benefit Plans? Or do your employer’s compensation and benefit Plans overcome your Offer Letter (or employment agreement)? How can you tell? Perhaps, more importantly, what can you do?

LESSON TO LEARN: If they differ, which one – your offer letter or your employer’s plans – “govern and control?” It all depends, of course, on the wording of the documents – both offer letter and plan – and your willingness to take the time and effort to (a) read them carefully, and (b) ask for clarification, either on your own or, perhaps, with the guidance of an experienced employment attorney.

These days, with employers trying their very best to lower their “employment-related overhead costs,” we are seeing more and more of these issues, and sadly, most often only after someone has lost out on what they deserve.

But you can protect yourself, if only you are willing to try to do so by (i) reading carefully, (ii) thinking carefully and (iii) requesting clarification that even a 10-year old could understand.

That’s what we call wise “navigation and negotiation” of your employment relation, to ensure you get all you deserve, and don’t miss out on anything you do deserve.

Take it from me: unless you act to protect yourself, no one else will, especially your employer.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Have you received an offer letter, or are you expecting to receive one soon? Do you believe you are entitled to any compensation or benefit that is provided under a company Plan, such as stock, stock options, severance, health care, disability insurance, life insurance, educational benefits, or otherwise? To avoid being deeply disappointed, here are seven things you can – and should – do to protect yourself:
Continue Reading. . .

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on October 9th, 2017 by Alan L. Sklover

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“There is no better test of a person’s integrity than how he or she behaves when proven to be wrong.”

– Marvin Gay Williams, Jr.
Forward, NBA Charlotte Hornets

How simple. How true. An elegant guide in challenging times.
This quote provides a simple way to take stock of other people, and to examine the person you are, at the same time. Far too often, it seems, there are too few people around us who are “built out of good wood,” as they say in Minnesota, where I used to live. Whether at work or otherwise, it’s a great tool with which to build a successful career and maintain a positive life. Don’t forget that the people you choose to associate with are often those you begin to act like.

This quote was sent to us by Tulimak of Togiak, Alaska. Our “shout out” to you, Tulimak! If you would like to submit a proverb, quote or thought, please submit it to us at vanessa@executivelaw.com.

Need to send a modal 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.

© 2017 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

Blackout Period – Key Words & Phrases

Published on October 4th, 2017 by Alan L. Sklover

Key Words

What is the meaning of:

Blackout Period ?

In its most general sense, a “blackout period” is a period of time during which certain people are either prohibited, or limited, from engaging in a certain activity.

In the employment context, the term “blackout period” is most commonly used in two ways:

First, employers who maintain investment or retirement plans for their employees sometimes impose “blackout periods” during which employees are prohibited from making certain changes to their investments. This is generally intended to prevent employees who know about the planned changes from taking advantage of their knowledge of the proposed changes, to the possible detriment of other employees, who are unaware.

Second, corporate executives and certain employees who may be privy to “inside information” are prohibited by the imposition of a “blackout period” from buying or selling the company’s stock. This is intended to deter what is called “insider trading,” which is unfair to all other shareholders who do not possess the “inside information.”

What “inside information” would justify the imposition of a “blackout period?” Examples include (i) knowing that an announcement is going to be made that the company is being purchased, or is merging, which might make the stock price go up, and (ii) knowing that the company will soon announce that its computers have been hacked, and its secrets have in this way been divulged to hackers, which might make the stock price decline.

Some companies impose regular “blackout periods,” such as fifteen days before each fiscal quarter or fiscal year earnings reports are publicly announced.

“Blackout periods” are imposed by companies to deter improper activities, but may be enforced by governmental agencies, including the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.

If your employer imposes a “black out” period on any of your activities, chances are very high that you will be notified. Engaging in prohibited activities during a company-announced “blackout period” is almost always considered grave misconduct and therefore “cause” for firing.

Get the picture? Keep it in mind. You read about it here. Knowledge is power. Forewarned is forearmed. That’s what SkloverWorkingWisdom™ is all about.

For a complete list of our Model Letters, Model Memos, Checklists and Form Agreements, just [click here.]

For a telephone consultation on strategies to deal with “constructive discharge” or other workplace issues, just [click here.]

© 2017 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Strictly Prohibited

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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