Question: On my first day at my company, the co-worker I was hired to replace said, “Whatever you do, don’t make Bart mad.” “So, what will he do?” I asked, thinking she was teasing me. “You don’t want to find out,” she said. I soon learned. Bart and I crossed paths because I needed IT support and foolishly thought I’d get it. So when I didn’t get a response to my first… Read More

Question: We’d like to terminate “Betsy.” She’s a mediocre supervisor, a gossip and a pot-stirrer. She frequently closes her office doors to “chat” with employees, including those who work under other supervisors. We’ve counseled Betsy about this, as it’s a productivity drain for both her and the employees, but she claims that employees see her as someone to vent to and that she defuses a lot of problems. Worse, when Betsy doesn’t… Read More

Question: I thought going into business with “Oscar” would prove to be the best business move of my life. We met in a professional organization, had served together on several boards and he’d held senior roles in two major companies. Our talents were complementary. When we left our lawyer’s office, having inked our partnership agreement, we celebrated with Champagne and scotch and Oscar told me our partnership would ensure my and my… Read More

Question: Our board of directors recently decided to terminate our agency’s executive director and temporarily elevate our CFO into the ED position. Soon after we made this decision, three of our board members received anonymous emails accusing the CFO of cheating on her expense account and also undermining the former executive director. While we take these types of allegations seriously, several of us suspect our former ED wrote these emails. Our board… Read More

Question: Shortly after we placed “Stella” on a work performance plan she started placing a smartphone on the table in front of her at every team meeting and obviously pressing the record button. The second time she did this, her manager asked her to put her phone away and she said, “I’ve been taping meetings for a long time; I just thought I’d be open about it.” The manager said, “I think… Read More

Question: I made a mistake. It cost me my job. As a result, I’m on the job market after more than two decades working for one employer. I don’t know anything about interviewing and my resume looks like all I’ve ever done is work for this one company. What do I say when a prospective employer asks “Why are you looking for a new job now?” Answer: When you’re asked a direct… Read More

Question: We’re about to terminate an employee and worry she’ll take trade secrets when she leaves. Although we’ll shut off her computer and internet access during her termination interview, how do we protect what she might already have taken?   Answer: Although common law provides employers some protection from employees or former employees misusing trade secrets, your best protection starts before you fire an employee. Hopefully, you’ve outlined your company’s expectations concerning… Read More

Question:  When my supervisor pulls me into the conference room to “counsel” me — aka rip me to pieces — he always brings in the company’s human resources officer. He says it’s for “both of us,” but she sits there writing notes that make him look good and me look like a jerk. I’ve learned I cannot trust her or what she writes. Things have been heading from bad to worse and… Read More

Question: I’m the office manager for a small law office. When “Cece” and I last worked together four years ago, she was a newly minted paralegal. Managing her quickly became the worst part of my job and ultimately led me to resign. My job involved overseeing Cece and the other paralegals as well as everyone in a support function. Cece made this as difficult as possible. She sneaked into work late, left… Read More

Question: I’ve had lunch daily with the same three co-workers for almost four years. We’ve shared everything together, and stayed close through my divorce, another’s two pregnancies and a third’s new marriage. We don’t, however, share the same political views. I secretly hoped Trump would win, but kept my mouth shut, because my friends wanted Clinton to win. When Trump won, my friends didn’t notice I never joined in their lamenting. I’ve always… Read More