Question: After an investigation, we fired one of our employees for threatening and stalking two co-workers. He’s now demanding a positive letter of reference, which I’m writing. I earlier tried to appease him with an innocuous letter giving simply the dates on which he’d worked here along with what his job duties were.  He refused to accept this, and frankly he scares me. Can you give me any pointers for writing a… Read More

Question: I made a serious mistake, permanently damaging relationships with my boss and coworkers when I lied and almost lost my professional license. I’m on probation and can’t work in my chosen profession for a year. What’s worse is that the verdict against me now sits on my permanent public record, meaning that anyone who looks into me professionally will see it. My only chance for career salvation seems to be to… Read More

Question: My co-worker and I both head to the Alaska Club after work. Since both of us use the elliptical and stair climber and like to work out in the Woman’s Club, I often wind up getting on equipment she uses first. We’re supposed to wipe down the equipment after we use it. She never does, and thus if the machine she leaves is the only one available when I want to… Read More

In today’s workplace we are faced with uncertainty.  People are feeling the burn.  From the North American Workplace Survey, half of employees feel overworked and burnt out.  Economic variables, work overload, and the 64% of managers who expect their staff to be “on” and “available” after hours has increased everyone’s stress levels.  Disruptive or harassing co-workers also give rise to people disliking their work environment, or providing more fuel when considering leaving… Read More

Question: My employer keeps two sets of books, one that she submits to the IRS and one that tells the real story. She’s done so for 15 years and is a multimillionaire, though on paper she looks like a struggling business owner. I’m not a real fan of the IRS myself, but my boss has done other things to me that make me hate her and I’d like to blow the whistle…. Read More

Are your employees griping because their last performance review was 18 months ago? How objective is the process? Is it on a Likert-scale…“Does the employee engage in their daily task” 1 – 10….How effective is this? Often times the employee dreads the process as well, wondering their “score” and of course how much of a raise is in stored for them. 59% of employees state performance reviews are simply not worth the… Read More

Question: Although I’m a human resources director, I’m not a company owner or principal and am lower in status than the producers who “make us money.” For that reason, I haven’t done anything about the rumors circulating concerning one of our top producers. According to staff, he snaps at them, leaves the office for unexplained meetings and is always hyper when he returns. He’s recently lost a lot of weight. I had… Read More

Question: My supervisor brings her 11-month-old baby to work with her, and the owner allows this. He, of course, doesn’t work here, and it’s the other employees and me who pay the price for having an office baby. When she first had her baby, she asked if she could bring it to work. We all said yes, thinking she meant until she lined up day care. At first, the baby was cute… Read More

Can bullies in Alaska workplaces hide behind the fact that there’s no state law against bullying? According to contemporary thought, bullying isn’t illegal unless you work in California (which has a Workplace Violence Safety Act), Utah (with a Healthy Workplace Bill) or at a public agency in Tennessee (which has a Healthy Workplace Act protecting those who work in state and municipal agencies). As a result, many believe bullies have virtual immunity… Read More

After Anne landed what she thought was a dream job, she quickly bonded with a charismatic co-worker, Karla. When Karla poured wine liberally at an informal dinner at her house and said, “Tell me all about you,” Anne did. Others snickered as Anne walked into the breakroom the next day. That night, when she logged on to Facebook, she saw her co-workers had posted wildly exaggerated stories about her based on what… Read More