In this election, We Endorse . . .

Published on October 27th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

. . . the candidate in every election who espouses, believes and lives the same “employment values” we do, because of the importance in our lives of “good work”:

  1. No employee is entitled to a job.
    No employer is entitled to a slave.
  2. Employees owe a duty of loyalty to their employers.
    Employers owe a duty of fairness to their employees.
  3. Employees should give their honest, full-time, best efforts.
    Employers should recognize and appreciate such efforts.
  4. Employees must earn their compensation.
    Employers must pay compensation when earned.
  5. In determining bonuses, managers should have some discretion.
    In their own bonuses, managers should not be selfish.
  6. Employees should leave personal issues out of the office.
    Employers must recognize valid family and personal needs.
  7. Employees should always give employers notice before leaving.
    Employers should always give employees notice before firing.
  8. No employee should live in fear of harassment, hostility or retaliation.
    All employers should be held accountable for those behaviors.
  9. The essence of Employment is collaboration.
    Collaboration requires mutual trust and respect.
  10. Employees are humans beings.
    Employees are not “human resources.”

The choice is yours.

We hope you will exercise this precious right.

So much depends on it.

© 2016 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

Need to send a memo or letter? Need a good checklist or form agreement? For a complete list of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Form Agreements, just [click here.]

FMLA – “Parent” Definition is Flexible – “Parents” include People Who Cared for You

Published on October 25th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.
She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.”

– Ellen DeGeneres

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: Just recently, in the course of representing a client, I carefully reviewed the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) law and its regulations. When I did, I learned something that I did not know, but wish I had known: Under the federal FMLA regulations, the definition of “parent” includes any person who acted in the place of your parent when you were a minor, even if they were not related to you in any way.

When I learned this startling fact, I was able to assist my client in establishing that his employer had clearly violated the FMLA law when it refused him a FMLA leave of absence to assist his ailing uncle who was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. On the basis of this “discovery,” my client was able to “be there” for the uncle who “was there” for him after his own parents had been taken from him as the result of a fatal car wreck when he was just a teenager.

I hope this “discovery” is helpful to you, or someone you know, if and when you need to be an “angel” to someone who once was an “angel” for you.

LESSON TO LEARN: The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of job-protected unpaid leave to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent, with a serious health condition. It is a great law, because it permits employees up to 12 weeks off to care for family members, and at the same time guarantees their jobs when they return (with just a few narrow exceptions.)

In enacting the FMLA law, the U.S. Congress wisely recognized the changing nature of the American family. The Congress also recognized changes in the American population, including the growing number of elderly Americans and the growing need of employed persons to provide care both for their children and their parents.

For FMLA purposes, a “parent” is defined broadly, in keeping with the changing nature of the American family. A “parent” under FMLA includes the (i) biological, (ii) adoptive, (iii) step, or (iv) foster parent of an employee. Most interestingly, “parent” under FMLA also includes an individual who acted “in loco parentis” to the employee, when the employee was a minor.

“In loco parentis” is a Latin phrase that means “in the place of a parent.” It refers to the type of relationship in which a person has put themselves in the situation of a parent by voluntarily assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a child. It exists when an individual intends to take on the role of a parent. It does NOT require any pre-existing legal, biological or other relation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you are in a quandary about needing time off work to care for a person who cared for you when you were a minor, it may be wise to bear in mind these five points:
Continue Reading. . .

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on October 24th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

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“Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?”

– Ben Franklin

Ben’s advice is always good advice. Creating and pursuing a daily “To Do” list is one of the most effective ways to be an effective person. It is one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Effective People. Or as Phil Knight, founder of Nike always similarly says, “Just Do It.” Do it now, do it today, but just do it. This is a simple and highly recommended pathway to achievement of goals, the confidence of others, and thus, increasing success.

This quote was sent to us by Richard S., of New York City, a favorite blog reader and supporter. Thanks, Richard! If you would like to contribute a favorite quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at

Need to send a memo or letter? Need a good checklist or form agreement? For a complete list of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Form Agreements, just [click here.]

© 2016 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

Should I Report THIS to HR? – 10 Pro’s and Con’s

Published on October 18th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

“The pessimist is disappointed by the direction of the wind.
The optimist is certain it will change.
The realist adjusts the sails.”

– Unknown

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: This really happened to me on the first day of my second job as an associate attorney:

I was wearing a new suit and a favorite tie that day, but because it was warm and my shirt collar was a bit tight, I undid my top shirt button and pushed my tie up to keep my collar near-closed.

A meeting had been called by the firm’s senior partner to introduce me and two other new attorneys to the legal staff. There were perhaps thirty attorneys sitting in a large conference room. I had been interviewed by the senior partner six weeks earlier, and he had been quite gracious, warm and engaging. He told me something like “Alan, you are clearly the person we want and need for this job.”

When the senior partner arrived, he sat at the head of the large, shiny, wooden conference room table, and began the meeting. Each of the three of us who were on our first day were asked to come forward to be introduced. When I was called, I stood up, walked to the head of the conference room table, stood next to the senior partner, and smiled.

Without saying a word the senior partner moved closes to me, grabbed my neck with his right hand, buttoned my collar with one hand – scraping it deeply as he did – and said, “We button our top buttons here.” As he did so, one of his finger nails scratched my neck quite deeply. He then went on to introduce me. The rest of the day I worked with several small blood stains on my collar and tie. I decided then and there, on that first day, to seek another job at another firm, which I secured about a month later.

Should I have gone to HR to complain? I didn’t do so, thinking only to myself, “Just find a new job and get the heck out of here,” which is what I did within six weeks or so. Though it was many years ago, and standards of conduct have changed, even then it was an unusual departure from commonly recognized standards of acceptable workplace conduct. At least I think so.

LESSON TO LEARN: So many people come to me after an “unusual event” or “bad treatment” at work with the question, “Should I report this to Human Resources?” It is always a hard call to make. Why? Because there are always so many significant “pro’s and con’s” in doing so, or not doing so.

In a perfect world, any kind of misconduct should be reported to those whose job it is to deal with such issues. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. No matter what anyone tells you, what you say to your Human Resources representative will be shared with others, quite possibly the person whose misconduct you are reporting, or his/her managers, or even friends. Though retaliation in the workplace is almost always prohibited by company policies, and often by the law, retaliation in one form or another is so common that you can almost count on it rearing its ugly head in one form or another.

Pro’s: On the one hand, if you report misconduct to Human Resources, there is a good chance the misconduct will be halted, at least in the short term. Chances are pretty good that, at the least, a warning will be given to the person in question, formal or informal. Doing so also gives you certain legal rights, and future credibility if needed in the future. No one can ever say “If it was such a problem, why didn’t you report it?”

Reporting misconduct to Human Resources gives HR the legal obligation to at least look into the report. And, if the misconduct is repeated or gets worse, your employer will have legal liability to you, which they would not have if you failed to make a report. I can’t tell you how many times I have told clients: “It would have been helpful if you had objected to this, or even reported it, in an email.”

Con’s: On the other hand, if you report an incident to Human Resources, the fact that you did so will undoubtedly become known to the person whose conduct you reported or complained of, because Human Resources must communicate with them as part of its investigation. Never, ever, ever think that you can say to Human Resources, “I am reporting this to you, but I want you to keep it confidential.” That is like telling the police the name of a person who you know committed a robbery, and asking them to promise not to speak with that person.

Additionally, reporting an event of misconduct can pour cold water on an otherwise productive relation, either with the person who engaged in misconduct, and perhaps, too, his or her friends. And, too, if someone makes a lot of complaints to Human Resources, their complaints start to lose credibility after a while. Those viewed to be “constant complainers” generally don’t go far or last long.

Why’s and Why Not’s: It is sad, but undeniable: filing a report, complaint or objection with Human Resources can be a risky thing to do. Should it be? Never. But it can be, that is for sure. And doing so when not truly needed may diminish your ability to do so in another circumstance when it is truly needed. Would you believe a complaint from an employee if he or she made a new complaint, about a new person, each and every day, for a year? Of course not. Judicious use of your ability to go to HR is a must.

One thing must be borne in mind: Human Resources representatives are NOT to be presumed to be “on your side.” Their very job description is clear that they are always “on management’s side,” which might or might not be, depending on the facts and circumstances, “on your side,” too. Human Resources representatives are surely not your “friend,” or your mom, or your lawyer, or any kind of “company police officer.” Their job is not to bring about fairness or to protect employees but, as it says in their title, to “manage human resources.”

So, there are “pro’s and “con’s” in both reporting and not reporting an incident to HR.

The truly best answer to the question “Should I report this to HR?” is “Maybe, depending on the outcome of a careful and thoughtful consideration and weighing of the “pro’s and con’s” with a strong emphasis on the word “careful.”

In reading this newsletter, please bear in mind that nothing at all in this newsletter is meant to suggest that you should not take steps that are needed to protect yourself, or that you should ignore any company requirements that you look the other way when you observe impropriety. Rather, we seek to help you make the best decision regarding whether or not to report, object or complain.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are ten considerations to weigh before deciding your own course of action if an incident of misconduct or impropriety takes place either toward you, or in some way involving you, at work:
Continue Reading. . .

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on October 17th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

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“Remember: Jobs are owned by the company.
You own your career.”

– Earl Nightingale

How simply and elegantly put! One great insight with many lessons imbedded. True “working wisdom.” Keep it in mind. May it help you focus, motivate you forward, and guide you along your path!

This quote was sent to us by John, a blog member and supporter. If you would like to contribute a favorite quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at

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

© 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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