Sklover Reputation Repair Archives

“How can I overcome a poor in-company reputation?”

Published on February 3rd, 2012 by Alan L Sklover

Question: My reputation as a poor worker has been circling me for the past two years. It is only recently that I learned my supervisor has been adding details to my performance reviews, and sharing them with others. I have reported this, and it is under investigation.

This would explain why my reputation is so terrible. I’ve been passed over for three jobs that I applied for within the company as well as several other projects I’ve volunteered for. I am a “runner,” not a “walker,” always at the top of my game, eager to please and work hard to make accomplishments. How do I correct this situation?

(City and State Not Specified)

Answer: Dear Norma: Reputation repair is a particularly vexing problem. It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, and only a minute – or a mean person – to ruin one. Here are my thoughts.    

1. Ultimately, it is good work and good relations that build a solid – and almost unshakeable – reputation. There have been so many times in my life that I have heard things said about people I know – and people I know to be great people – that I simply WILL NOT believe unless I see proof of what is being said. We all know that people sometimes start malicious rumors, have jealousy in their hearts, and have self-interest in mind when they say bad things about another person, and so, hopefully, bear in mind “innocent until proven guilty.” For this reason, the ultimate way to dispel a bad reputation is to remain unflappable, and earn and then re-earn your good reputation each day by good work and good relations. There is nothing more effective or more long-lasting than that in “un-building” a poor reputation.

2. Make a proactive written request for an independent, objective new performance review for each of the years in question. Your letter indicates that you have filed a “report” but does not say if (a) it was written, or, more importantly, (b) if it made requests in order to “solve the problem.” Don’t make the big mistake of waiting for Human Resources to come up with solutions for you; you must aggressively and persistently stand up for yourself. Your first written, proactive request – to solve the problem caused by your supervisor’s actions – should be for a new, independent and objective performance review for each of the years in question. It should be written, sent by email, respectful, and to the point: a problem exists that requires a prompt solution.

3. At the same time, make a proactive written request for an “Action Plan” to remedy the wrongful situation. It appears quite likely that your supervisor may have violated two important company policies: (i) retroactive alteration of Performance Reviews, and (ii) breach of confidentiality regarding them. Because “you never get unless you ask,” I would suggest you make a concrete, detailed and practical “Action Plan” for your (a) transfer from your present supervisor, (b) promotion into a different role, and (c) ideal career path for your future, and submit it to your supervisor’s supervisor and Human Resources representative. A transfer, promotion and new position in which to rebuild your tarnished reputation is probably the most valuable goal you can achieve.     

4. Never forget: persistence pays off like nothing else does.  Merely making a report or complaint rarely gets correction of a serious wrong. You need to follow up, sometimes repeatedly. Sometimes it takes going “higher up,” as well, to make it certain that you are not going to “fade away” without correction of what has happened. In each instance, you might remind people that you are only doing what is right, what is in keeping with company policies, and intended to correct a problem, not cause one. You might also consider making mention that it is your hope and expectation that you will not be retaliated against in any way for these efforts.

Norma, anyone faced with a problem reputation at work has an uphill climb in front of them. Don’t despair: a determined person can overcome any obstacle, and this is one many people do, in fact, overcome. Make a plan, proceed with that plan, and stick to that plan, with persistence and then more persistence, and you have every chance for succeeding. 

Thanks for writing in. My bet is on you!!  

Al Sklover

PS: Our Model Letters help people stand up for themselves at work. If you or a friend is soon to face a Severance, Resignation, Bully Boss, Performance Improvement Plan, or other workplace problem, consider a Model Letter as a “Helping Hand Gift.” Just [click here] to view our list.

Help Yourself With
These Unique PERFORMANCE REVIEW Materials

Perf Rw 1: Before Performance Review: Memo to Make It Most Positive Possible
Perf Rw 2: After Performance Review: Model Rebuttal to Performance Review
Perf Rw 3: After Performance Review: Request for Perf. Rebuttal Forms & Procedures
Perf Rw 4: 141-Pt. Master Guide and Checklist for Performance Reviews
Perf Rw 5: After Perf. Review: Model Memo Thanking Manager for Helpful Review

[ Click Here ] and Go to Section "H"

 Repairing the World –
One Empowered and Productive Employee at a Time ™

© 2012 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.                                                                             

“Background Check done incorrectly – anything I can do?”

Published on December 13th, 2011 by Alan L Sklover

Question: I was offered a job by phone, and accepted it, pending a background check. The next day I received a phone call from the company’s HR Director in which he told me the offer was rescinded due to several items that appeared on my background check, including convictions for crimes in states I had never been to. I told the HR Director that I had never been arrested in my life, but he said there was nothing he could do; he had to offer the job to someone else.

I immediately did my own background check on myself, using the same company, and did find real problems for a person who had a similar name to my own, but not the same name or birth date. I emailed this new information to the HR Director, but he never responded. When I spoke again to the background check company, it turns out that the HR Director could have seen what I saw, but he apparently  failed to narrow down the registry to the very last step: to my own particular information. Could I sue the background registry company?  

Yigo, Guam

Answer: Dear Joshua, Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the person who failed to be careful, at your expense, was not the background checking firm, but the HR Director, and you have no legal claim against him.           

1. So long as your not getting hired was not due to illegal discrimination, you have no claim for not being hired. No one has a right to be hired. There are lots of reasons an employer can decide not to hire a job applicant, some good and some bad. So long as an employer is not violating the law by basing its decision on unlawful discrimination, its reasons for not hiring you do not matter. If an employer is negligent or foolish – as seems happened here – you have no right against it for being that way.

2. If a Background Checking Company was negligent, you could have a claim against it, but it seems it was not negligent. From what you’ve written, it seems a reasonably diligent person could have found out from the Background Checking Company that you were not the same person as the person who was arrested. The Background Checking Company cannot be held liable for the prospective employer’s misuse of its data or its systems.

3. Since you seemed valuable to the HR Director once, perhaps he will consider you when another opening exists. Whatever your skills and attributes are, you seemed to be a valuable person to the HR Director once. That would suggest that your skills and attributes should be valuable to him again. Consider contacting him every once in a while about your interest, your availability, and – especially – your entirely clean Background Check. Keep it positive, and be persistent.

Joshua, thanks for writing in from Guam. I hope your job search will soon be more successful. When it is, I hope you’ll continue to use all of the resources we offer you to “navigate and negotiate” to job security and career success. 

Al Sklover

Help Yourself With These and Other
Unique JOB SEARCH Materials

Next Step 1: Letter to Friends, Family: Seeking a New Job
Reference 8: Request for Positive References to Former Managers & Colleagues
New Job 1: Cover Letter Submitting Your Resume
New Job 2: "Thank You" Letter after Job Interview
New Job 8: 50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Last Departure
New Job 10: Model Response to Interview Asking Your Salary Expectations
New Job 21: 163-Point Master Guide and Checklist to Interviews

[ Click Here ] and Go to Sections "A, B and C"


Repairing the World –
One Empowered and Productive Employee at a Time ™

© 2011 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

“What can an ex-employer say about an ex-employee?”

Published on July 5th, 2011 by Alan L Sklover

QuestionMy boyfriend was let go from his job. The only thing he was told was that he was being let go, though it should be noted that when he was hired, he was told the work may be temporary.

He is currently going through a divorce, and his wife went to his ex-employer and asked for a letter stating why he was fired. The company – which her step-father works for – provided her with a letter listing numerous reasons why he was “fired.”

My boyfriend was never provided with a copy of that letter. His wife then used this letter in court, and stated in the court that she went and asked for the letter, and was given it.

Is this legal? Can he take action against his ex-employer?  

(City, State Not Provided)

Answer: Dear Kathryn:

What happened to your boyfriend illustrates important issues about the relation between former employees and their former employers:     

1. After the employment relation ends, the former employer and former employee are, for the most part, essentially “strangers.”  With very few exceptions, former employees and former employers have no relation to each other, almost as if strangers, unless they have signed an agreement obligating themselves further. There are very few exceptions to that.

2. Thus, neither the former employee nor the former employer has any legal expectation of privacy, confidentiality or secrecy, unless they have agreed to that. Thus, both the employer and the employee are free to tell other people anything they want regarding the other. That said, again, just like strangers, if one makes a false and damaging statement about the other, the “victim” of the false statement can sue the 0ne who spoke or wrote falsely.   

 3. The law does prohibit defamation, but that requires the utterance of a false statement. Defamation is a very narrow concept. It requires (a) the public dissemination, (b) of a false statement, (c) that is damaging, and (d) is outside of several different exceptions that the law permits. For example, in a courtroom trial, no matter what a witness says – no matter how false, no matter how widely it is publicized, and no matter how damaging, the law says “This is protected, and is outside of what we call defamation.” Another exception are expressions of opinion, because they are not statements of “fact.” There are many other such exceptions. It is very possible that the letter written by your boyfriend’s former employer were true, or were protected opinion, or fit into some other exception.  

4. So the former employer is free to make true statements (oral or written), and so is the former employee. My  concern is that the reasons in the letter that went to Court may have been true. As noted above, both former employees and former employers are free to make true statements, regardless of the effect of those statements.  

5. Incidentally, the fact that your husband’s wife’s step-father works for the company should make the letter’s statement suspect, perhaps even without any credibility. One thing I do hasten to point out: I would expect that your boyfriend’s lawyer in court would remind the Judge that his wife’s father works for the former employer, and thus it makes the letter somewhat suspect. In fact, the letter would seem to some to be without any credibility whatsoever.

So, for these reasons, from what you have written, I think what the  former employer did was “legal,” and I don’t think your boyfriend has any legal recourse against his former employer.  Sorry for the bad news.

Thanks, in any case, for writing in, and I do hope you’ve found this information helpful. We’d very much appreciate it if you would use our advertisers – by clicking to them on our blogsite – and in that way help us keep going with what we do.

Al Sklover

© 2011 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

“Any ideas on how to deal with a recruiter who seems to be sabotaging my job search?”

Published on November 24th, 2010 by Alan L Sklover

Question: I recently had a VERY bad experience with an unscrupulous and dishonest recruiter who shared an old resume of mine without my authorization with another recruiter who then proceeded to go to every company he knew I was interviewing with.

He seemed intent on slandering me and misleading hiring managers about me. I’m considering a lawsuit.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

         City and State Withheld

Answer: Mason, by this blog post I am asking all of our readers who may have had experiences like yours, or ideas they might have to share with you about dealing with the problem, to write in. From my experiences with my clients, I know you are not the only person who has been hurt like this by recruiters.

I’d even like our recruiter-readers to chime in on how they see such conduct from their own point of view.

My view is that, as our economy has “tightened,” and there are less jobs around, recruiters have suffered financially. Unfortunately, this seems to have led to a bit more unscrupulous recruiter behavior, including (a) unauthorized use of resumes, (b) unauthorized altering of resumes, (c) misrepresentations regarding job requirements and rewards, and (d) interfering with the hiring of candidates they do not represent, so as to increase the chances that their own candidates are hired, which seems to be what happened to you.

While every case is different, these are the four (4) primary paths we’ve taken to dealing with such recruiter misconduct:

A. “Cease and Desist” Letters: These are just what they sound like: demands that the Recruiter “cease and desist” from engaging in this wrongful behavior, or face a lawsuit. This is the most common way to put someone on warning that further conduct will not be tolerated, and the most common way to end such conduct. These are typically written by attorneys.  

B. Respectful “Appeal Letters” to Specified Corporate Hiring Managers: In some cases, we have written directly to those Hiring Managers whose views of our client we believe the recruiter in question has “poisoned.” We respectfully explain the situation, and that the recruiter in question (i) had no authority to represent our client, (ii) does not know our client or our client’s abilities, (iii) was, instead, seemingly acting to hurt our client’s chances of being hired, and the Hiring Manager’s chances of getting the best candidate for the job.

C. What We Call “Warning Letters” to a Wide Range of Hiring Managers: If the recruiter specializes in a certain industry, or employment area (such as Information Technology), or we know has certain retainer clients, we do not hesitate to contact each of the companies he or she usually deals with, and in a very carefully-worded letter, let these companies know that unscrupulous recruiter behavior has taken place. This is an attempt to change behavior by appealing to the recruiter’s most important interests: his or her client relations. Too, it gives the errant recruiter a taste of his or her own “medicine.”

D. Initiation of Lawsuits for Defamation and/or “Tortious Interference”: In certain instances, we have had to go further, and file lawsuits for defamation – which is the dissemination of false factual statements that harm a person’s reputation – or tortious interference with prospective business relations – which is intentional harm to another’s economic relations without proper justification. Like surgery in medical matters, we view litigation as only to be considered when it seems absolutely necessary, and only after all other means of redress have been tried.

Looking for a New Job? We offer a 152-Point Master Checklist of Employment Negotiation Items to help you “remember everything and not forget anything else.” To obtain a copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!

You only have one reputation, and career interests are among the most important interests a person has. Reputations and career interests must always be protected from those who – whether negligently or intentionally – pose a threat of harm to them.

Mason, I hope this has given you both ideas and inspiration to take steps to defend your reputation and career. Watch for the ideas and experiences of others in this regard on our Comments and in these Q & A’s.

If this has been helpful, would you please consider recommending us to one or more of your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media.

           Best, Al Sklover

Help Yourself With These and Other
Unique JOB SEARCH Materials

Next Step 1: Letter to Friends, Family: Seeking a New Job
Reference 8: Request for Positive References to Former Managers & Colleagues
New Job 1: Cover Letter Submitting Your Resume
New Job 2: "Thank You" Letter after Job Interview
New Job 8: 50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Last Departure
New Job 10: Model Response to Interview Asking Your Salary Expectations
New Job 21: 163-Point Master Guide and Checklist to Interviews

[ Click Here ] and Go to Sections "A, B and C"

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

Sklover Reputation Repair™ – Protect Your Career From Online Risk

Published on November 17th, 2010 by Alan L Sklover

“Glass, china and a reputation
are easily cracked and never mended.” 
– Benjamin Franklin

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY*: Over a 25-year period Megan, 43, had climbed her way up the “fashion ladder” from department store salesgirl to Visual Director of one of the world’s most famous fashion houses. Somehow, along the way she managed to pick up a Masters Degree in Design, several prestigious fashion design awards, and frequent invitations to speak at fashion expos.

Her gradual climb, though, took a bad step in 2009 when – for some unknown reason – an anonymous blogger wrote that she thought Megan had incorporated ideas and images from other Visual Directors into her own visual displays. The allegations were 100% untrue. Nonetheless, the world of visual fashion display was abuzz about these blog postings. Megan was crestfallen.

Things only got worse. First, in Megan’s defense, several of her good friends posted blog articles of their own defending her, which seemed only to further spread the “poison” all around the internet. Second, though time passed, Megan noted that, when she put her own name into Google and other search engines, she seemed to find more and more mentions of this allegation. Then she received a telephone call notifying her that an invitation to speak at a fashion design dinner had been withdrawn for no apparent reason. Finally, she received an email from an executive recruiter she knew asking her if she knew what was “all over the internet” about her.

Megan requested our “reputation repair” help in addressing the situation, a situation we are seeing more and more of our clients experience. We have learned over time that there are steps a person can take to decrease the chances of such a thing happening, and to take if something does happen, despite precautions. We helped Megan clear up the negative references, and have now expanded our law firm practice to include these “reputation repair” services. 

LESSON TO LEARN: In this “internet era” it is all too easy to lose a good reputation. Everyone who is employed or wants to be employed needs to both be vigilant about their reputations, and aggressive in repairing their reputations if damage takes place. Entire careers can be lost in a moment in this way.

Because so many of our clients have experienced the loss of their good reputations, and have asked us to assist in repairing them, we have learned – and are learning more and more each day  – about what can be done in terms of “reputation repair.”  

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are ten (10) steps you can take to both (a) monitor and (b) repair, your own online reputation so as to ensure that your employment and career remain undamaged:

Read the rest of this blog post »

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™".

Receive All Our Posts - It's Free!

Monthly Newsletter, Discounts, Events