Sklover Working Wisdom

Another Chain Broken:

Sklover Working Wisdom

Non-Solicitation in the Petrochemical Industry. Effective This Week: Another client is free from the “chains” of a non-compete or non-solicitation restriction.

2016 70

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Sklover Working Wisdom

“Learning to work for an a**hole is a really important thing to do.” ” – Anne Mulcahy. Former CEO, Xerox. The words may be a bit. rough”. but the message is definitely “right on.”

2016 63

Trending Sources

The Future of Work

Sklover Working Wisdom

— Will most employees become freelancers? —. It’s a trend, a growing trend, a worldwide trend – and a troubling trend.

2013 72

“What Salary Do You Seek?” The Four Smartest Responses

Sklover Working Wisdom

“Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps you in touch with your children.”. - J. Paul Getty. ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES ”: About 15 years ago, I interviewed a candidate for a position with my firm who simply refused to tell me the salary – or even the salary range – he was seeking. When he said “I am not prepared to discuss that,” I was quite taken aback. When he said “I would rather not negotiate against myself,” I was puzzled. When I asked “Can you at least tell me what your ballpark is?”

Fired Compliance Officer Strikes Back – Is Awarded $51 Million for Doing So

Sklover Working Wisdom

“In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence,”. one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”. – Czeslaw Milosz. ACTUAL CASE HISTORY : John Slowik, the former Chief Compliance Officer of Olympus America, Inc., the largest distributor of endoscopes in the U.S., discovered that his employer was paying bribes to win new sales. When he reported this to his employer, he learned the meaning of the old saying, “Tell your boss the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

My View:

Sklover Working Wisdom

Isn’t this a bad time to “make waves” at work? Maybe yes, maybe no. There is no doubt about it: people all over feel job security anxiety. Everyone – at all levels – is afraid to lose his or her job. Younger employees are afraid that, if they “make waves,” they will hurt their careers.

2011 75

My View:

Sklover Working Wisdom

The Japanese Concept of “Gaman” – Enduring the Unendurable. The Japanese people exhibited extraordinary grace, calm and resolve during the widespread pain of their recent nuclear crisis. And they continue to do so to this day.

2011 75

My View:

Sklover Working Wisdom

Two Weeks Notice: Why Should Only Employees Respect It? More and more we see the same thing happen: employees fired, laid off, or downsized, without prior notice. Yet these same employers seem shocked, dismayed, even offended if an employee resigns without any prior notice. Are we missing something?

2011 77

Memorial Day

Sklover Working Wisdom

“It is not where you serve, but how you serve.&#. - Rubin Clark. If you have not visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., please consider doing so. It is not flashy or grand, but simple and direct, like the men and women it honors.

2011 75

Don’t Believe “The Big ‘At Will’ Lie”: 117 Reasons an “At Will” Employee Cannot Be Fired, and There’s Plenty More

Sklover Working Wisdom

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing. what other people say you cannot do.” . - Walter Bagehot. ACTUAL CASE HISTORY* : We hear it, see it, read it and are told it nearly every day: “At will employment means that you can be fired at any time for any reason.” You see it in Employee Handbooks. You hear it in discussions and negotiations. You even read it in Court decisions. It is a misunderstanding, a falsehood, a grave error, and a distinct disservice to everyone.

2011 67

“If I am not paid commissions due me, is my non-compete still valid?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : When I was hired, I had to sign a two-year non-compete. I want to leave this company due to the fact they withheld $300,000 in commissions due me. Competing companies want to hire me. Since my employer breached my commission contract, am I still held to their non-compete? Also, have employees been successful in suing over non-payment of commissions? New Hyde Park, New York. Answer : Dear Mike: 1. First, the simpler answer: Yes, employees quite often win commissions lawsuits.

“Promised raise not given to me; what do I do?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Hi, Alan. I am working for a start-up company for the past six months. Around the time I started, I was promised I would get a hike in my salary after working six months. Now that I have received the seventh month salary, I notice it is without any pay hike. And my manager refuses to give me the pay hike. What do I do? Ramya. Bangalore, Karnataka. India). Answer : Dear Ramya, Your dilemma is a common one.

2011 67

“Is it discrimination when a boss favors an employee he is dating?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : My colleague at work is having a sexual relationship with our boss. I know that is the case because I have been at her apartment and have seen them together. I expressed my concern to my friend, but nothing changed. Then I took it on myself to talk to our boss, telling him how I feel and how their relationship was hurting morale at work. Shortly after that, I took a cut in pay, and was assigned a position I had no experience for.

“New Job, First Week – Seven Questions You Should Always Ask”

Sklover Working Wisdom

“Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.” . Native American Saying. ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES ”: It just never ceases to amaze me: new employees encounter needless difficulties – and lose out on significant benefits – for one simple, yet avoidable, reason: they simply fail to ask a few important questions during their first week on the job. .

2013 48

Future of Work

Sklover Working Wisdom

— The Wired-24-Hour-a-Day Employee: Where will it end? —. In case you didn’t notice it, employees are now near-expected to be “on call” – or more accurately “on-email” and “on-text” – 24 hours a day.

2014 43

“If my boss approves a payment to me in error, am I entitled to receive it?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Dear Alan: I have an issue with my employer over a lack of payment. Here’s the situation: I was a salaried employee with my company for the first four months of the year, after which I took a different position as a part-time manager. I noticed in our login system that I had 40 hours of personal time I could use, which I requested to use a couple of weeks ago as a week off. It was approved by my District Manager, and I took the week off.

2011 59

“Can I be forced to repay commissions I never received?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Can my employer take commissions away from me that were paid to another sales representative prior to me even working for the company? This is the situation: my employer is clearing up old debts, and writing them off before the end of the year. Each territory will be responsible for the commissions already paid even if you were not the person who was paid the commission. This seems very unfair to me since I never got the money in the first place. Thanks for your help. Melissa.

2011 58

“How can I prove retaliation has occurred?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : My employer has a policy against retaliation for objecting to impropriety, dishonesty or illegality. I objected to one of them by filing a grievance, and then one month later I was chosen for a layoff for supposedly financial reasons. How do I prove this is retaliation? Larry. Milton, Washington. Answer : Dear Larry, Your question is an absolutely great one, because it comes up all the time, and is the subject of many, many court decisions. Let me explain: .

2011 58

“Does the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or other laws, protect lower-level employees of not-for-profits?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : I have a question: Does the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in reality protect little people, meaning low-rung employees? Or are we out of luck? In my case, this means a bedside nurse at a large private not-for-profit hospital. I am wondering about cases such as mine that do not represent much money, but a real injustice exists, nonetheless.

2011 58

“Can a company selectively enforce non-compete agreements?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Dear Alan: Can a company selectively enforce non-compete agreements? What I mean is that I know of several instances where my company knows that a former employee is now working for a competitor and my company chooses not to take legal action. Another interesting note that I also know is that my employer has knowingly hired employees from competitors knowing that they also have non-competes. Des Moines, Iowa.

“How do I resign while on FMLA leave (especially with a bully boss)?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Dear Alan: What is the appropriate procedure/consequences of resigning while on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)? Background: six years, incredible performance. Company was acquired, and I received a new manager from the acquiring company, who instantly displayed classic “bully boss” behavior. To protect my health, I immediately starting looking for a new job.

2011 58

“If I resign will I still get my retirement money I put in?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : If I resign will I still get my retirement money I put in? Terry. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Answer : Dear Terry: . With very few exceptions, money you have contributed to your retirement remains yours, no matter what. An employee who contributes money to an employer-sponsored retirement plan should never lose those monies, due to resignation or any other reason.

2011 59

“Should I file a lawsuit in my city, or in the employer’s state of incorporation?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : My former employer claims I violated a non-compete agreement, and is therefore exercising a “clawback” provision to take back my vested stock shares, which are still held by the company. I want to stop them, and I may need to file a lawsuit for an injunction if they don’t correct this. They operate in Pittsburgh, where I work, but are a Delaware Corporation. Where should I file the lawsuit for the injunction? Any other guidance here? Thanks. Presley. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“What’s better – asking for more severance without an attorney, or with one?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Before signing the severance agreement, will an employer be more likely to give additional severance requests if the employee tried to negotiate on their own, or through an attorney? Petersburg, Florida. Answer : Dear N.W.: Your question seems to be capable of being answered in one word. However, it really does call for a more comprehensive answer, because there are many factors involved: . Are employers more likely to offer more severance if an attorney gets involved?

2011 57

“Can I stop my former employer from using my voice on its answering service?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : I was let go from my previous job in February, 2010. When I was let go, I informed the General Manager and the Human Resources Manager that I wanted my voice taken off the main answering machine, and his office answering machine. The General Manager snickered, and I said, “If you want to pay me to use my voice, that’s fine.” He said, “No.” I gave him one week to remove it. As of this date, my voice is still there. What can I do? What rights do I have, if any? Thank you.

“Does an independent contractor have a duty of loyalty?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : If an independent contractor is a subcontractor to a business, can the independent contractor bid against that business on a totally unrelated project? That is, does an independent contractor have a duty of loyalty, like an employee has? Also, can an independent contractor be liable for anything under the law of agency? Honolulu, Hawaii. .

“What is the best course of action to stop bullying and hostility?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : My wife was recently subjected to a meeting where four senior management people basically subjected three 50-year-old women to a “beat up.” This is a major corporation in the U.S. The bosses did do some things to hide the reality of the situation, such as inviting 20-something employees into the meeting, and calling the women afterwards and telling them the meeting was not directed at them. Shortly after the meeting, my wife was put on a “verbal” warning, though delivered by email.

2011 57

“What happens to my employee equity if the company is sold or IPO’d?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : I was fascinated about your bright explanation of equity plans in your newsletter entitled “ Long Term Incentive Compensation: 10 Basic Concepts.” Soon my company will be disentangled from the parent corporation and we will face an IPO (shorthand for “initial public offering,” or sale of the company to the public).

“What if the accommodation provided for my disability is not enough?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : I was recently diagnosed with a disability, while at the same time I was given a 60-day probation period for not completing my work on time. The 60 days are up and now they put me on a 30-day Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”). I think they are going to fire me. The only accommodation I was given was a later start time for work. Should they take into account my mental abilities? . Provo, Utah.

Utah 58

“Can ‘involuntary resignation’ be used in an ‘at will’ state (for a bully boss)?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Can involuntary resignation be used in the state of New York even though we are an “employment at will” state? My boss is bullying me and isolating me. He also has not spoken to me for six weeks. He is going around me to my subordinates, and having them do my normal tasks. My physician has been involved, and has diagnosed my problem as anxiety and depression due to harassment and hostility at my work environment. Thank you in advance. Lisa, Binghamton, New York.

2011 58

“Can a resignation be made effective on a later date that avoids a repayment obligation?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Hi, Alan. I recently resigned from my job with a global investment bank. My contract specifies a notice period of three months. In my letter I did not specify a date on which my resignation would be effective, I just said I was resigning. When I spoke to my manager, he stated that I would have to pay back my relocation costs.

2011 58

“Can employers require medical information from job applicants?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : I work as an Employment Specialist in Ohio coaching a wide range of job seekers on their job search strategies. More and more people are asking me about being asked by prospective employers to provide them with a release to obtain medical histories and files on the actual job application. Is this legal? If so, how do these applicants protect their medical information? . Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Answer : Great question, Dave, but one that is not easy to answer. Here’s my best: .

“What can I do if the HR person is the bully?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Hi, hoping you can help me. We have one HR person at work – there are no other HR employees besides her. She’s a nightmare. She verbally abuses employees, gossips in the hallway, and targets good employees she doesn’t like to get them fired. Luckily, I’m not on her list yet.). My first thought would be to tell HR, but I can’t. Is there anything I can do legally? Some central organization that deals with HR professional ethics?

2011 58

“Are non-compete agreements binding on independent contractors?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : I worked as a 1099 independent contractor, and not as an employee. I was paid no salary, but only commissions. While I did that, I also signed a non-compete agreement. I left there and I am now working for a different company, also as an independent contractor (not an employee.).

“Employer’s Sole Discretion” in Contracts, Handbooks and Compensation Plans: Six Strong Arguments to Defeat It

Sklover Working Wisdom

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No one is entitled to their own facts.” . Author Unknown. ACTUAL CASE HISTORY* : Brandon was a Business Development Officer for a large Midwestern company in the music publishing rights business. His job was to seek smaller music publishing rights companies who had over the years acquired a “catalogue” of music publication rights as possible acquisitions, and then to structure and close the deal.

“Job offer rescinded after I quit my other job; are they liable?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : I was offered employment in writing, a start date, and wage was included in the letter. It was signed by the Regional HR Manager. I quit my current job to start the new one. The day before the start date I was told that the offer was made in error, that corporate approval was not received first. I am now jobless. Are they liable? David. Apple Valley, California. Answer : David, your experience is far more common than you might think. Here are my thoughts and suggestions: A.

Offer 58

“Charity Participation – A Powerful, Yet Unknown, Career Booster”

Sklover Working Wisdom

“Don’t trust people whose God is green.&#. - Herbert Tenzer, Former U.S. Congressman. And Trustee or Chairman of Several Charitable Organizations. [to to Alan Sklover, then a law student]. ACTUAL CASE HISTORY* : Few people know it, but Bill Gates may owe 99% of his business success to charity participation.

2011 59

“If I am offered my dream job, but my teaching contract says I can’t leave, how do I handle it?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Alan, I am a teacher. I was given my contract for the upcoming school year in May, which I signed. At the end of July I heard about and applied for an instructor position at a local college. The interview went extremely well. It is a dream job for me. School starts on August 29 th , but I may not hear about my getting or not the college instructor job until August 24 th.

Offer 58

Long Term Incentive Compensation: 10 Basic Concepts

Sklover Working Wisdom

“Gold without wisdom is but clay.” . Slovakian Proverb. ACTUAL CASE HISTORY* : Kathy was pleased. After 27 years as a Human Resources executive with a large textbook publisher, she had retired from full-time work about a year earlier, and had become a part-time HR Consultant. Over the years she had several times been awarded stock options by her employer. Because she had been with the company over 25 years, and because she was over 60 years of age, all of her stock options had vested.

“Can I do work ‘on the side’ so long as it doesn’t violate the non-compete I signed?”

Sklover Working Wisdom

Question : Hi, Alan. I am currently working full-time at a company as a Marketing Director. I signed a non-compete agreement when I started. My question is this: is it okay if I do freelance marketing for clients on my own time so long as it doesn’t violate the terms of my non-compete? Lorraine . New York, New York. Answer : Hi, Lorraine, . Like any other agreement, a non-compete agreement means what it says, no more and no less.