What to Do Before Archives

Make a “Go File” . . . Pleeeeeze

Published on May 1st, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

File Folder

Workplace Negotiating Insight No. 16: Make a “Go File” . . . Pleeeeeze

Observe and Learn:

Life is unpredictable, and workplace life is especially unpredictable. You need to be prepared.

You don’t know when you might be laid off, offered a great job elsewhere, or be cut off from access to your office computer.

If anything good, bad or ugly happens to you at work, to protect yourself, your finances and your career, you REALLY need to have at hand a copy of the various written materials that seriously affect you. Otherwise, you will be “in the dark,” and effectively unable to stand up for yourself. At a critical time, being “in the dark” is not good.

What written materials? They include offer letter, employee handbook, bonus agreement, emails in which you were given promises or assurances, retention agreement, employment agreement, stock option award, non-compete agreement, etc., etc.

Trust me: If a real problem occurs, your computer access will be turned off before you know it. And, HR will not provide such materials to you when you most need them. Then you will not be able to negotiate.

And, too, if a prospective employer, recruiter or interviewer asks to see your present agreements, or review your non-compete, if you are unable to provide a copy, you may lose out on a terrific opportunity.

For example, can you start a great new job next month, or have you signed a “Garden Leave” provision in which you promised to give six months of notice when you leave?

So, it’s prudent that, little by little, you take home and keep a copy of all such written materials, and place them all into a “Go File.” Just as “emergency preparedness” authorities recommend people should create a “Go Bag” of valuable papers and prescription meds just in case they need to evacuate their homes without notice in event of fire, flood, etc.

Be wise. Be prudent. Be prepared.
Protect yourself by creating a “Go File.”
Pleeeeeze. You’ll be glad you did.

So many of our clients have failed to do so, and have suffered mightily because they didn’t.

Observe and Learn.
Then Negotiate.

Need to send a memo or letter? 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 Prohibited.

“Subsidized COBRA in Severance – What’s that?”

Published on July 19th, 2016 by Alan L. Sklover

Question: Dear Alan: I was recently laid off from my job in pharmaceutical sales, and received a small severance. I signed up for COBRA healthcare continuation for my family. When the bill came, for family coverage all I had to pay for my entire family was $325 monthly. That is far less than I thought it would cost.

Concerned that there was a mistake, I called Human Resources, and was told that it was not the usual COBRA benefits, but “Subsidized” COBRA benefits. What does that mean?

Bozeman, Montana

Answer: Dear Emy: Good question, as many employees don’t know the difference, and many lose out because of this lack of knowledge. Let me do my best to explain.
Read the rest of this blog post »

Letter of Education – Key Words & Phrases

Published on November 21st, 2013 by Alan L Sklover

Key Words

What is the meaning of:

“Letter of Education”?

“Letter of Education” generally means “You did something wrong, perhaps without knowing it; just don’t let it happen again.” It means that you broke a rule, generally not a rule serious enough to get you fired, but serious enough to give you a written warning. And – and here’s the “kicker” – to be placed into your Human Resources file.

It is like a “slap on the wrist” that leaves a “permanent scar.” It is like a speeding ticket that might one day increase your auto insurance premiums, or even cancel your auto insurance coverage.

Because it is in your Human Resources file, a Letter of Education can be used to damage your interests, because it can be taken into account in future decisions regarding (a) compensation, (b) promotion, (c) retention or layoff, and (d) termination for repeated violations. Also, if in a future interview “Have you ever received a sanction, penalty or letter of education?” you will have to explain this one .

For those who are registered securities representatives, a Letter of Education might be reported to regulatory authorities during your employment, or upon your departure in what is called a Form U-5. These are particularly sensitive and potentially troublesome.

Depending on the nature and severity of the “offense,” receiving a Letter of Education may be a very mild response or a severe response, to what it is you are alleged to have done. Regardless, because they may well have an effect on your future, they need to be taken seriously.

What is the right response to receiving a Letter of Education? That depends on many factors. In general, though, in light of the fact that a Letter of Education represents a negative “paper trail,” if and when appropriate, they ought to be either vigorously opposed, (ii) further explained or (iii) respectfully accepted with an explanation.

Don’t get crazy over receiving a Letter of Education, but don’t be complacent, either.

© 2013 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Strictly Prohibited

Rumor I might be fired. What should I do?

Published on May 21st, 2009 by Alan L Sklover

Question: I started a new job in January. Soon thereafter, my child needed surgery. Not too long after that, I got sick, too. I heard a rumor that I’m going to be fired, and don’t know what to do next. Any thoughts?

Stafford, Virginia

Answer: What you describe is pretty close to what happened to an employee of our firm when she started. I must admit, after her mother got sick, her child got sick, and then she got sick, I started to wonder if I had hired the right person.

What she did worked, and I would recommend to you: Ask for a meeting with your supervisor, and tell him or her (a) what happened, (b) that you believe it won’t happen again, and (c) assure him or her that you REALLY want the job. You might even tell him or her of steps you are taking to get help coping in such family emergencies.

I can tell you that when I was told that, I “swept the slate clean,” and gave our new employee another chance. Over the past four years, she has become very, very dependable, and one of our most valuable employees. I am pleased with myself that I made the decision I did. And she honored her assurances.

Give it a try. It could only help. Your health is in my prayers.

Best, Al Sklover

Alan Sklover’s Timeless Classic, Newly Updated and Revised

Fired, Downsized, or Laid Off:

What Your Employer Does NOT Want You to Know
About How to FIGHT BACK

Now available by Instant Download to Your Tablet
(Ipad, Nook, Kindle, etc.)


Instantly Downloadable PDF to Your Home Printer


© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

I might be laid off. Should I raise concerns about discrimination now, before it happens?

Published on January 20th, 2009 by Alan L Sklover

Question: I am a fourth year real estate associate attorney in a 40-attorney firm. Since real estate work has slowed, I made sure to send the partners a memo highlighting my value, such as good relationships with important clients, as well as my willingness to work in other areas of the firm. Hopefully, I won’t be laid off.

If I am laid off, two issues come to mind: first, nepotism. One lawyer in the firm is related to a high-level partner, and though he is obviously not a good attorney, he seems to be immune from fair evaluation or possible layoff.

Second, gender discrimination. It seems hard to deny that female attorneys who are married with kids are always the first laid off, without good reason. Can I point this out without seeming “threatening?”

Altoona, PA

Answer: I think your sending a memo to the partners outlining your value and expressing that you are amenable to doing other work is a smart move.

As to “nepotism,” it is 100% legal and “fair” everywhere. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the law does not, should not, and can not stop people from treating their friends, relatives even lovers better than others who they don’t feel an affinity for. Expressed differently, the law can’t punish love and affection. People are entitled to keep their lazy, stupid, arrogant children in their company, and instead lay off hard-working, smart, good-natured employees. It may be a foolish thing to do, but it is 100% legal.

As to “discrimination,” I am being quite frank with you when I say that I don’t think it is possible to raise this issue in your present circumstances without seeming “threatening,” especially with your bosses, who are lawyers. A certain degree of defensiveness always arises when such issues are raised. I do not recommend raising the issue unless and until you feel you need to, and are prepared to deal with such defensiveness. When the time comes to raise the issue of discrimination, remember to “confront the issue” but do not “confront the people.” That is, don’t call people evil, don’t attack, don’t raise your voice or use angry words.

I think you should have a consultation with an employment attorney who you have heard is not only good in the “legal” sense, but is also equipped with the “common” sense. It would be a good idea to learn your rights under local law, and have an attorney “at the ready” should you be laid off.

Best, Al Sklover

Alan Sklover’s Timeless Classic, Newly Updated and Revised

Fired, Downsized, or Laid Off:

What Your Employer Does NOT Want You to Know
About How to FIGHT BACK

Now available by Instant Download to Your Tablet
(Ipad, Nook, Kindle, etc.)


Instantly Downloadable PDF to Your Home Printer


© 2009 Alan L. Sklover. Commercial uses prohibited. All rights reserved and strictly enforced.

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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