Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on April 1st, 2019 by Alan L. Sklover

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“I like gardening – it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.”

– Alice Sebold

This is one quote I heartily endorse. I am one of those who feels less caught up with the crazier parts of life when I am highly engaged in the wondrous simplicity of gardening, whether indoors or outdoors. If you have not been bitten by the gentle rapture of gardening, well, then you have something to look forward to. Even one single plant on your desk at work can diminish the stress and anxiety of your workday. Go buy yourself a nice little plant to be your silent daily friend, and give it a try. As you take care of it – I promise – it will take care of you.

This is the third quote sent to us by Jody K. of Laconia, New Hampshire. Keep ‘em coming, Jody. They’re always great.

If you would like to contribute a saying, proverb or quote, we’d love to receive it and share it with our Blog Family. To do so, just send it to “The Boss,” 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.

© 2019 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

Job Security Secret: If you hear “At Will,” think “Unless Otherwise Agreed” (“U.O.A.”)

Published on March 26th, 2019 by Alan L. Sklover

Sklover Working Wisdom Secrets of Job Security

Job Security Secret:

If you hear “At Will,” think “Unless Otherwise Agreed” (“U.O.A.”)

 

Whenever an employee talks about having no Job Security, they almost always mention that they are only an “at will” employee.” The discussion should not end there.

Most people know that “at will” employment means that either the employer or the employee may end their work relation at any time. It is a kind of harsh freedom for each party to end the work relation. But each side can also, when it wishes, seek to place a limit on the harshness of the other’s freedom by “agreeing otherwise.”

Here’s the best example: most employers want employees to “agree otherwise” by giving two or four weeks notice before they depart, so the employer might make necessary transition arrangements. This is an agreement to limit “at will” by “agreeing otherwise.”

Well, you can also seek to limit the harshness of being told you are no longer needed by asking your employer – when you may have the leverage – to “agree otherwise.”

As examples, (1) asking for at least four weeks’ notice before your last day on the job, (2) asking for at least two months’ severance if you are asked to leave, and (3) asking that your employer will give you a pro-rata bonus and/or vest you in any unvested cash or stock awards, when you are asked to leave.

Here’s another valuable one: If you are asked to relocate to another state or country, as a condition to the relocation you might ask your employer to “agree otherwise” that, if you are going to be terminated, you will not be terminated until the end of your kids’ school semester, to avoid unexpected disruption in their schooling.

These are all “agreed otherwise” limits on the harshness of “at will” employment. The examples cited above are only a few of many, each a kind of “medicine” that eases the pain of “at will” employment, and represents the functional equivalent of a kind of Job Security. This is what a good employment attorney should do for you, but here’s the real secret: you can do it by yourself!

Don’t be bashful about asking for “agreed otherwise” measures to soften the blow of your employer’s decision to end the relation.

So, if you are confronted with an offer letter or employment contract, don’t be bashful, be proactive. Don’t be reticent to say, in effect, “I understand your concern about employees departing without prior notice. Do you understand my concern about being asked to leave the same way?”

You can also ask for such an “agreed otherwise” limitation on “at will’s” harshness at a time you may feel extra “leverage,” such as when (a) you are being asked to sign an offer letter, (b) you have just closed a big sale, (c) you have achieved a great victory, or (d) your employer is asking you to sign a Retention Agreement in fears you might leave.

So, remember: if you ever hear or see the phrase “At Will” always think “Unless Otherwise Agreed,” what we call “U.O.A.” It will be a great step forward in your sophistication of thinking about “Navigating and Negotiating for Yourself at Work.”™

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.

© 2019 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on March 25th, 2019 by Alan L. Sklover

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“People start to heal the moment they feel heard.”

– Cheryl Richardson

It is so, so true. Whether at home, at work, or anywhere else, being “heard” – in the deepest sense – is a very powerful antidote to distrust, upset, imbalance, and other manifestations of bodily and emotional disease and distress. I think the feeling of being truly “heard” gives a person hope that, once being “heard,” they may soon return to health, calm and internal peace of mind and spirit. At work, especially, a place where there so often arises feelings of insecurity, take the time every now and then to truly communicate, to “hear” another person, to show that person they are being truly “heard.” It can only make things better.

This quote was sent to us by Beth R., one of our original Blog Family Members, from Austin, Texas, whose support and encouragement have inspired so many of my blog posts. Beth, I bow to the divine in you.

If you would like to contribute a saying, proverb or quote, we’d love to receive it and share it with our Blog Family. To do so, just send it to “The Boss,” 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.

© 2019 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

“#MeToo is Now #YouToo, Too” – Dignity for one requires dignity for all

Published on March 19th, 2019 by Alan L. Sklover

Sklover Working Wisdom MeToo Movement

 
“Gender equality is a human fight, not a female fight.”

– Freida Pinto

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: Gerald, a sales team supervisor, regularly made jokes about sex in team meetings, was known to often touch female team members “by accident,” and held private meetings with female sales team members in his office, with the door closed.

Two female team members were rumored to have complained to HR of Gerald’s habits, their discomfort with it, and then simply seemed to “disappear,” that is, they did not return to work on Monday morning, without any of the sales team members hearing from them that either had a new job elsewhere.

Tom, a male sales team member, was called into HR, where he was met by an outside attorney working for the company, who insisted on interviewing him. The interview, which lasted almost two hours, seemed to focus on what Tom observed, and – quite surprisingly to Tom – why he did not report his observations to HR, as is now required by new company policies, about which he was not aware.

Barbara, Gerald’s supervisor, was also interviewed by an outside attorney for the company, and the questions asked to her focused – to her surprise – on what she had done to train her teams on anti-harassment policies and practices, and to regularly assess the quality of the work environment of her reports, as is now required by new company policies about which she was not aware.

Cary, who headed up Human Resources for the Sales Division, was also interviewed by the investigator, whose many questions focused – to Cary’s surprise – on what training and ongoing assessment he had initiated of the employee morale of Sales Division employees, as is now required by new company policies of which he was not aware.

New thinking, new limits, new policies, new expectations, new accountabilities, new risks, new consequences. There are a lot of new things to learn and keep in mind.

LESSONS TO LEARN: The #MeToo Movement has been something of an earthquake in the workplace, and it continues to have a wide variety of “aftershocks.” These “aftershocks” are not only what you see, hear or read about. It’s something less visible, more visceral. It’s about what is no longer acceptable, no longer tolerated, no longer joked about, no longer without substantial consequence. It’s not about a law; it’s more about what is simply not tolerated. It seems to be one of those epic steps forward in societal norms that, hopefully, will never be reversed.

The #MeToo Movement has clarified that freedom from abuse at work is something human right, a right to be free from a kind of deep humiliation, physical intimidation, outright fear and human exploitation. This web post covers just one of its many facets: how it has grown from a laugh-laden phenomenon to one that can not only ruin your career, but even put you in jail. It is serious, and needs to be taken seriously.

As a general matter, employers have not before been held accountable for harassment at the workplace of which they were not aware. So, if you did not complain, you had no effective right, and your abuser had no effective responsibility. That seems to be changing, and employers are increasingly concerned about the cost of being caught unaware. . . Yes, it’s a dollar and cents issue, too. Employers are no longer ignoring #MeToo issues, but are now seeking to prevent them, with their own interests in mind.

Employers, managers and colleagues are all increasingly being held responsible for not doing something to stand up, and face down, those who harass at work. According to a recent Bloomberg Law report, law firms are being hired to engage in a record number of investigations into employee harassment complaints. There has also been a sharp increase in the number of employers who are conducting preventive training to prevent workplace harassment in the first instance, and to come up with better ways of handling it if and when it does rear its head.

The lesson is clear: things are changing, and they require thoughtful consideration of how you need to adapt with those changes, or be confronted with potentially career-ending “news.” There is no simple, universal “rulebook” but an evolving one that gives every employee good reason to keep her or his mind wide open for what and how the new workplace requires of employees.

If you are not convinced, just look at what has happened to so many CEO’s, so many famous and wealthy men like Mr. Weinstein, Mr. Cosby, Mr. Lauer, Mr. O’Reilly, and so many others who were blind, oblivious or overconfident about their ability to avoid the new accountability that is @MeToo.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Having worked on workplace harassment issues for many years, the following 10 points are among those that would be best kept in mind. They are steps that are among those I would suggest all employees consider doing to be, and to be perceived as, part of the solution, and not be, or be wrongly perceived to be, part of the problem:
Continue Reading. . .

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on March 18th, 2019 by Alan L. Sklover

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“A slim settlement is worth more than a fat lawsuit.”

– Yiddish Proverb

Let this lawyer of 36 years tell you the truth: this proverb is quite wise. Or, as one lawyer once defined a lawsuit for me: “A lawsuit is a $200 court filing fee and a dream.” In the employment context, these days, it is so, so often a bad dream, too, as well as a potential end to your career. This blogsite, and my law practice, are both dedicated to the prevention of workplace disputes, and their resolution, without litigation, or its even-worse cousin, arbitration. Instead, we espouse and encourage wise navigation and negotiation. Just like you should do what you can to avoid needing an operating room, you should do all you can to resist entering a court room. They are equally risky and equally dangerous places to be.

This quote was sent to us by Josh B., of New City, New York. Thanks for this wise reminder, Josh. It can’t be emphasized enough.

If you would like to contribute a saying, proverb or quote, we’d love to receive it and share it with our Blog Family. To do so, just send it to “The Boss,” 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.

© 2019 Alan L. Sklover. 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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