Question: Our organization is in charge of remodeling a facility for an organization that serves disabled people. We recently held a client briefing outlining our plans and experienced an awkward incident. One of our representatives came into the room to meet with the client group and was shaking hands until he realized that the man next in line had a deformed hand. At that point, our representative stopped shaking hands and didn’t… Read More

Question: When ABC excluded Carly Fiorina from Saturday night’s debate, it ignited a fierce dispute among several of our employees. The arguing broke along male and female lines, and two men made statements the women employees said “crossed the line.” Until this happened, I had encouraged and participated in the political discussions. They were fun, as our group was almost evenly divided between Sanders, Trump, Clinton and Fiorina advocates. Now, to make… Read More

Recently one of my employees began to argue with me and another employee in a staff meeting. When I told him to stop, he argued more loudly and it became an awful scene. We both wound up yelling. What should I have done instead? Answer: If one of your employees raises an opinion contrary to yours in a meeting, defuse potential conflict by asking him questions to understand his views. Once he’s… Read More

Question: I was badly bullied in my last job and know I need counseling. I keep reaching out and making appointments with counselors and then, at the last minute, I decide not to go. Sometimes I call and cancel the appointments. Sometimes I just pretend I forgot and when they call me, I say that I’ve made other arrangements. Am I crazy? Answer: You’re suffering. You want to get help but you’re… Read More

Question: My first day on the job, I exited the building at the same time as the woman I was replacing. As I wished her well in her new job, she said, “You seem like a nice person. Whatever you do, don’t cross Heather. And if you do, get out before she destroys you like she did me.” As I stood there shocked, she said, “You don’t understand now, but you will.” I wish… Read More

My boss figured out I was job hunting during the work day. I don’t know how he discovered this as he’s normally clueless. I think someone ratted me out. I was afraid he was going to fire me on the spot, but he told me he was going to “take pity” on me and give me two weeks’ notice. I think he’s just keeping me around until he hires my replacement. I… Read More

When you see risk, do you back away? If so, what does it cost you to play it safe? The price of security Given the choice between a sure thing and a higher risk/greater reward alternative, most of us choose what’s safe. We hesitate to put ourselves or our careers on the line. We go with the flow and say “it’s not so bad the way things are.” We consider what could… Read More

Are you minding your P’s and Q’s?  Check here. We have received a number of inquiries seeking information about an employer’s ability to request medical information.   Employees are given forms asking about their health status and they ask us “is it legal?” These inquiries, coupled with a fresh decision from the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, make this an ideal time for a thumbnail review. There is a thin gray line employers… Read More

When our fledgling company swapped space in our office building with another tenant, the landlord cut our rent in half.  As a small business owner, I was so pleased that I overlooked the fact that our new office suite contained a door to which the landlord lacked a key. My staff and I decided to prop open the door until the landlord could locate the lost key. The next day, I brought… Read More

Sex harassment — so common a term that everyone thinks they know what these words mean and what happens when accusations fly. Do you? He said he didn’t harass her. She said he did.  Often, sexual harassment happens behind closed doors and out of others’ eyesight. How do we unravel what happened?  If you’re in management or HR, or a co-worker wanting to come to another’s aid, you may want to know. After all,… Read More