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S2E3: The Capitol Insurgence, Employee Rights and advocacy from employment lawyer Bryan

Who would have thought that the enchantment of Disney and the pragmatic world of HR could share the same platform? Yet, this is precisely what we explore in this podcast episode. From the whimsical tales of planning a Disney trip with a toddler to the sobering realities of HR challenges, we journey through a wide array of topics.

First, we delve into the nostalgia of Disney trips, discussing the new reservation system, the app, and sharing advice for adults traveling with kids. This conversation reveals not just the practical aspects of planning a Disney trip, but also the absurdities and humor that accompany the Disney experience, like over-the-top Disney-themed weddings.

Switching gears, we transition into the world of HR consulting. Here, we examine the operational trials that come with managing employees across different states. Our guest, Brian, lends his expertise on issues such as pay transparency laws and the potential pitfalls of job vacancies with unrealistic salary ranges. These discussions shed light on the intricate and often challenging landscape of HR.

One of the most captivating parts of the conversation involves a real-life scenario – a mass staff departure following the owner’s involvement in the Capitol Insurrection. This incident highlights the profound implications that leadership decisions can have on a company’s workforce and its overall operations.

Another crucial topic we cover is the issue of employee rights and company transparency. We discuss the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Dobbs decision and the potential dangers of companies failing to protect employee data. The conversation emphasizes the need for employees to understand their rights and the importance of company transparency in fostering a healthy work environment.

Further, we examine the complexities of employee misclassification and the nuances of state laws regarding overtime. The discussion illuminates the potential costs of misclassification for companies and the importance of employee awareness about their rights.

Lastly, we navigate the intricacies of workers’ rights and negotiating employment in an at-will employment system. We delve into the challenges of advocating for oneself when accepting a new job, the risks associated with negotiating for higher salary and additional benefits, and the effects of capitalism on workers.

In conclusion, this podcast episode offers a rich blend of entertaining anecdotes and enlightening insights into HR and employee rights. From the magical world of Disney to the hard realities of HR, we cover it all, providing listeners with a comprehensive and engaging discussion.

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Read the Transcript

Nicola
Host
00:00
Good morning Brian. How are you?
Bryan
Guest
00:02
Hello, I am well. How are you?
Nicola
Host
00:05
Wonderful, wonderful, what good. Well, I can’t remember where were you called and you were calling us from somewhere. Cool DC.
Gina
Host
00:14
Not really.
Bryan
Guest
00:15
Orlando, not, that’s not.
Gina
Host
00:16
Orlando, that’s right. Oh no, we just remember you about DC. But just kidding, because you’re really Orlando and I’m going. I’m taking my daughter to Disney in like a month and I’ve never been there before. What should I do Jump off?
Bryan
Guest
00:33
of her. Yeah, I mean, there’s not go. How old is your daughter?
Gina
Host
00:39
She’ll be three.
Bryan
Guest
00:42
Oh, she’ll enjoy it. Ok, so you’re aware Magic Kingdom now allows alcohol, so they didn’t use to sell alcohol. So that’s, that’s good you can. You can carry some wine around.
Gina
Host
00:54
I’ll ask Lucia, my three year old, what kind of wine she likes. Does she like?
Nicola
Host
00:58
you know, you know, I’m on board with that Magic Kingdom. You’re not, but I’m on board with Magic Kingdom.
Gina
Host
01:04
Even if I wanted to drink, I can’t because I’m on bikini prep, but anyway, so that’s good. Ok, but like, what should I be aware of? Should I be aware of first of all? Is it a? Is it safe to even go, just like me and my daughter?
Nicola
Host
01:17
Yeah, of course it is. Don’t be dumb.
Gina
Host
01:19
Shut up, you haven’t even been there.
Nicola
Host
01:21
I went to the other Disney. It’s the same thing.
Gina
Host
01:24
All right, anyway, just oh, can I my top.
Nicola
Host
01:27
As an adult, though, write your telephone number in Sharpie down her arm. Why? Because if she gets lost on the day and she doesn’t know your telephone number and someone finds her, your telephone number is on her arm.
Gina
Host
01:41
Oh, I thought you said to write it on mine. I’m like I don’t want everywhere on her arm. Ok, because I was like oh, I don’t want weird creeps calling me, I’ll just make sure that you do?
Nicola
Host
01:51
Yes, you do. You want to fucking creeper calling you please fuck off.
Gina
Host
01:55
No, I don’t. My phone’s so dry anyway, so maybe I would enjoy it. Maybe I’d be like oh, a little little something for today. I’m sorry.
Nicola
Host
02:05
Brian, back to you. I. What do I know about Orlando? Fucking nothing, it’s OK.
Bryan
Guest
02:10
Yeah, I think, I think she’ll have a great time. Magic Kingdom will be fun. There it’s it’s. They’ve changed the like, the reservation system and stuff like that. So you kind of I would suggest looking up some YouTube videos on folks are called Genie Pass, I think. Oh yeah.
02:32
Yeah, like it’s. I went, my wife and I went a few months ago with one of my wife’s best friends and her two little girls, and my wife’s friend now has like a PhD in Disney. Because, like, you have to do that on the app Apparently, yes, because you like have to be on the app at like six, fifty eight am In order to get the reservations that you want, get in in queue early for the certain rides that are popular, like at Magic.
Gina
Host
03:02
Kingdom like Pirates of the Caribbean and stuff like that. And no for me.
Nicola
Host
03:07
It’s why I didn’t like the preplanning was more intense than the day there, and then the day there was like fucking it’s fucking Disney.
Gina
Host
03:15
I don’t know I got like really, but so so here’s the one before we get into it. I did download the app, so there’s that.
Bryan
Guest
03:22
The apps are easy to that’s good, yeah, yeah, you just have to be. You have to be prepared that you won’t get to see everything that you, that you or your daughter want to see, I’m not a Disney person at all.
Gina
Host
03:36
Even was I like will, neither am I like I’m like if I never go to Disney, I will be totally OK, my life will move on. Like I remember when I first moved to Florida I like went to go get my hair done and this woman was getting what do they call it? Like, before you get married, you get like the trial run of the hair and the makeup.
03:54
I guess the trial right and she was getting married at Disney and it was Disney themed and she had like Disney bobbles in her hair and I was like why am I here? Why do I live in this God awful state?
Nicola
Host
04:05
Who is this woman? Like she had like like little like tinkerbell like or your wife is what’s happening? Because the he’s the only one that’s married here and, I’m guessing, being ever married.
Gina
Host
04:18
Someone did that Brian, who was like, hey, babe, my hair, how does my hair look and like? And then I was like thinking like this is going to be your wedding pictures for all of posterity and you’re going to have like Mickey Mouse ears and like a tinkerbell.
Bryan
Guest
04:33
Yeah, that’s. That would be way too much for me. I mean, I’ve been to Disney a few times. Most of the times I’m there, I am hammered, I’m doing like drinking around the world or something. Yeah, especially since my wife and I don’t have kids. Like there’s no, I mean some of the stuff there is fun, but like yeah we just want to go and drink and watch.
Nicola
Host
04:55
I am rethinking this whole thing, Anyway she’s a little bit older, like I’m four or a five there, because I feel like it would be fun if they’re four or five, like it was like moderately fun for Quentin and he’s teen yeah yeah, all right, well, anyway, so that’s, that’s our Disney chat.
Gina
Host
05:14
So and my PTSD from Disney hair trial.
Bryan
Guest
05:20
Yeah, I guess I’ll leave you with this. The first time I went, my parent, when I was still living in the Midwest my parents brought my brother and I down for a trip to Disney and I was, I think, 12 and my brother was like six. Those, I think, were great ages. I remember it. My brother claims he has no recollection of ever being at Disney, which kind of pisses my parents off because they spent so much money on it. But I do remember us both having a good time like those were good ages for us. He didn’t get to ride some of the rides, but yeah.
Gina
Host
05:52
I don’t know because, like I, live in this area where everybody has more money than God and I don’t, and they’re like, oh, we’re going to Disney for the weekend and I’m like, okay, I’m going to go have a peanut butter jelly sandwich, thanks Bye.
Nicola
Host
06:06
Okay, I’m sorry. You know how much Disney was in New Zealand dollars.
Gina
Host
06:11
Oh yeah, no, I know you tell me one day for one stupid day. It was like two grand or something like two grand US dollars, what yeah?
Bryan
Guest
06:20
Yeah, that is, that is insane. I mean, that is just that is capitalism and it’s worst that is. That is horrible.
Nicola
Host
06:31
Okay so anyway, despite that, I think.
Gina
Host
06:36
Disney may not be happening for Luchia this year because I just like I also don’t know if I’m in the right mindspace to be dealing with all that shit why don’t we have Ryan and introduce himself? Besides being a PhD in Disney, what else are you a PhD in?
Bryan
Guest
06:55
Definitely not a PhD in Disney, that is, that is for sure. I’m there to tag along and and have a drink or seven. My, my, my focus in real life is to fold on on legal writing. As a lawyer, that was a natural transition to writing for law firms and writing for other publications like Forbes and LegalZoom, and then the other. The other side of my, my day to day work, is HR consulting, which is some of the fun that we’re here to discuss today, and that is the HR consulting, especially over the last like three years, actually, maybe to the to the day, the last three years has been a roller coaster whirlwind of of the, the ridiculous and the stuff that I thought I might never see or never even thought that would be something like all stops happening Totally totally just not, not, even, not even in the realm of reality that I would have conceived of.
Gina
Host
08:03
So can you tell us sort of being an HR consultant I’m assuming you’re kind of cutting off like pre, pre pandemic, post pandemic, because the past three years was either we were in the pandemic or were post. So what would normal, like things that would come across your desk be as an HR consultant pre pandemic, that were semi normal, like what would you mostly be consulting on?
Bryan
Guest
08:30
Generally boring stuff for what most people would consider boring operational type things. So a company says we’re growing to the point where we need to revise our handbook or we need to create a handbook because we don’t have one yet. We don’t have policies written down, or we’re about to hit 50 employees, so we need to start thinking about FMLA compliance and and ACA and stuff like that, though it very operational, sort of behind the scenes type of stuff where HR was more focused on not not as being front facing, more focused on the business side of things and not so much of the human centric side of it, like your ducks are in a row from a legal standpoint kind of exactly legal, and compliance is basically what it, what it all boils down to yeah, Okay, now what’s going on for the past three years?
09:20
The past three years have been some of those unfathomable things those are. Those are the last three years. I mean there’s there’s a lot of legal and compliance stuff, new stuff that has happened over the last three years, specifically remote work. A lot of companies don’t even know that they have employees in other states because the employees may not be reporting to the company where they’re working from. And then, in turn, even if the company does know that they have employees in other states, they may not know that they have to be compliant with those state laws where those employees are living, not just where the company is located, even if they have an office.
09:56
So those are things, that those, those that that right, there is probably the biggest eyebrow raise that I get, especially from new clients, where they’re like wait, we have to, we’re based in Texas, but we have to comply with with California law because we have an employee in San Francisco. Yes, to some degree you have. You have to be in compliance with with California law, which means you’ve got to pay daily over time, not just weekly over time. If they’re an hourly employee, you’re subject to other requirements, depending on your headcount within California and as a company size as a whole, that are above and beyond what what Texas requires. Yeah, that is that is the biggest eyebrow raise over the last three years is is all related to remote and hybrid work.
Nicola
Host
10:43
Wow.
Gina
Host
10:44
Okay and so wait. So just randomly, have you seen the Amazon show the consultant?
Bryan
Guest
10:53
I just saw a trailer for it last night and I definitely want to watch it. It does look good.
Gina
Host
10:59
Please watch it, please watch it.
Nicola
Host
11:01
Okay, I almost feel like I almost feel like we need Brian to come in for episode three of our review of the show.
Gina
Host
11:11
Yeah, because it’s it’s it’s insane and anyway. So so okay. So, yeah, I mean, I don’t know if I would have known like what state am I, you know? So does that, with this whole state and compliance thing, does that make businesses not want to continue to be remote or like what happens there Sometimes?
Bryan
Guest
11:31
yeah, sometimes it makes them not want to be remote, or they come up with ways to not hire people in certain states, which which you can do. You can just post your job in Texas. You know we’re only hiring within Texas. Yeah, because. I’ve seen that before, like jobs eligible for like, and then there’s like a bunch of different states, but not exactly or like even in the job posting they’ll say hey, we’re, we’re, we’re hiring for a remote position, but you do have to be located in Texas and that’s not a little yeah.
12:04
No companies can can absolutely do that, and that has happened. That actually started happening somewhat before the pandemic when a couple of states like Colorado and California started implementing pay transparency laws so that in the public job posting you had to post a job range for the position you were hiring for. So some states decided, or some companies decided, they didn’t want to do that because they don’t want people to know what they’re going to make, I guess, and so they would not hire, they would not accept applicants from, from those particular so that they wouldn’t, have to put in a range exactly.
Nicola
Host
12:46
People so dodgy.
Gina
Host
12:48
Yeah, why do companies do that? I mean, new York just got a a law just passed in New York, brian, which you probably know of that you have to put the salary range. If the company’s based in New York, you have to put the salary range in the like classified ads or the job posting. I’m old classified ads but you know what I mean.
Bryan
Guest
13:09
Yeah, and, and actually using New York as an example, recently there was a company that posted a job with a range of 90 to 900,000 to comply with that law. Obviously that is not a reasonable range.
Gina
Host
13:22
What was the range? 90 to 94 dollars 90 to 900,000. Wait, wait what company was that we’ll believe that. I don’t know.
Bryan
Guest
13:38
I don’t, I don’t, I don’t recall. I know I saw the job post it was. It might have been like 88 to 880, it was some, it was some like it was such a huge range oddly specific number, but it was also yeah, huge range it was, it was it was almost intended to be a joke, I think, or at least I hope.
Gina
Host
13:57
Yeah, but it’s also a way to get around the law. Yeah, it’s also a way to get around and they’re not wrong, right, because they are posting a range and nobody said you had to post an accurate range. But doesn’t that open you up to like? Well, they said I could earn up to like 900,000 dollars. How come I’m not earning up to 900,000 dollars?
Bryan
Guest
14:16
Because it’s a job ad, not a guarantee. So the guarantee, the guarantee is. It is going to be an employment agreement, offer letter, employment contract, something like that exactly, yeah this reminds me of.
Gina
Host
14:30
did you see that documentary about Pepsi with the jet?
Bryan
Guest
14:38
I have. I watched the first part of that. Yes, you remember that I do.
Gina
Host
14:44
I do know what you’re talking about part of our era, like where you would collect enough bottle caps and you could like trade it in for merchandise. And one of them was like this like crazy, I don’t know, some like military grade jet, and this kid figured out a way to do it.
14:59
Oh, hey, pepsi yeah, and Pepsi never gave them the jet really he was like, yeah, and he was in like lawsuits forever, but that’s what that reminds me of. He didn’t win, but there was like so much more to the story, but it was, it was. It was actually really fascinating. I was like this is going to be so fucking boring and then I was like glued and I bingeed the whole thing. So another one you might like is is the McDonald’s one.
Bryan
Guest
15:23
If you haven’t watched that, that’s a couple years ago about the monopoly pieces for McDonald’s and and the I never watched that one, but everyone has told me stuff like it’s good like such a great.
Nicola
Host
15:34
I need to watch that because I collected the monopoly reasons for.
Bryan
Guest
15:37
McDonald’s, it’s really good. It’s, I mean, like the mob gets involved, like it’s. It’s really, yeah, the mob is involved.
Gina
Host
15:44
Yeah, and also, it was rigged that no one could ever win right, wasn’t that the main, at least the big ones. Yeah, no, the main prize is like it was yeah you, no one was ever gonna win the big prizes, surely?
Bryan
Guest
15:57
that’s why in New Zealand, surely that’s and family members of people who were, like, involved in the game would miraculously win a hundred thousand dollar prize or something like that.
Gina
Host
16:08
I started watching this, but then I think I might have had my baby, and then I stopped watching it okay and fully subscribe to that like a sign me up. Congrats on your baby yeah, bt Dub I don’t know if you heard that that, that one episode we have where somebody’s boss was like she was an act of labor and the boss yes, yes and at the end she was like congrats on having a baby BTW yes, yes.
Nicola
Host
16:39
I can’t. Even that’s my friend. Okay, so you’ve got pre and post pandemic. We’ve got like all this weird shit unfolding in the HR space. I’m curious to know you know kind of getting to Gina’s needs and potatoes, and I’m curious to know what are some of the wildest things that you have seen in the last three years so there are.
Bryan
Guest
17:08
I’ve got some notes here on my other screen that just to just to remind me of the big ones. There are four big ones I think, or maybe three big ones and one related smaller one that we can definitely discuss. That I I don’t think I would have expected three or four years ago. So we can, we can discuss those and dive into those and let’s hear it.
Gina
Host
17:39
What’s number one?
Bryan
Guest
17:41
So number one? Number one is a company, a true small business, less than 50 employees. That was owned family owned business, and they made an announcement to the company in the beginning of January 2021 that they had a family emergency and they were going to be unavailable for three days to go and take care of this family issue. Okay, it turns out that their family emergency was the insurrection that they flew to DC for to participate in the I don’t know to what extent, but that they were present and near or at the capital for the days events. I guess I’ll just leave it there and see if you have any questions.
Nicola
Host
18:51
The whole family going. If it’s a family, if there’s a family emergency, is the whole family going, like what’s happened.
Bryan
Guest
19:01
I mean, I don’t know. There’s a lot that I don’t know about the exact details of this particular instance. I doubt the entire family would have gone, but I know that at least the owner of the company and their spouse were present in DC for that day.
Gina
Host
19:25
Okay questions. Was it important for the owner and the spouse, whom I’m assuming worked there, to be on premise for this business to operate? So, in other words, if they just decided to call in sick, would the company be able to function for like a day or two on its own?
Bryan
Guest
19:50
There’s two answers to that One answer from my perspective and another answer from their perspective. Their perspective no, the company could not survive without them. My perspective it absolutely can and does.
Gina
Host
20:02
Okay, that was question number one, Because my follow-up to question number one is why do we need to know that? If you can’t make it to work, you’re just my boss. I don’t need to know what the fuck you’re doing. Maybe you have to get like a hemorrhoid removed, I don’t care right. Why do we need to know that? So, number one that’s super ridiculous. And number two it’s a small, family-owned business run. Whenever you hear small and family-owned, get to step in, because I don’t feel like anything good ever comes out of that. Number two did this ever come out to the employees Like what actually happened?
Bryan
Guest
20:43
Yeah, so it was sort of a slow drip, but that is sort of, I guess, the overall impact of sharing this story. As the first one is the impact that it had on the employees, but also on the company as a whole.
Gina
Host
20:58
That’s what I’m saying. So what happened when they started to find out? Like, yeah, tell us, I must know.
Bryan
Guest
21:07
So the way? Yeah, once they started to. Once the employees started to find out, it became apparent that the owner of the company was not always looking out for the company or the employees’ best interests, and so employees quickly became disengaged and many departed. Within 90 days of January 6th, I ended my contract.
Gina
Host
21:40
Did you end it voluntarily or did they ask?
Bryan
Guest
21:43
you to leave. No, you were like I’m out of here, okay. Yeah, I don’t want to be associated with this.
Gina
Host
21:48
Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be any part of that. Yeah, go ahead.
Bryan
Guest
21:52
Yeah, and about 80% of the staff that I had hired train to help to manage and facilitate and engage and help the business grow were gone in that same window as well. So it had a massive impact, not only on the individual employees who made sometimes the tough decision to leave At that point in what was still somewhat of an uncertain global pandemic and, in many cases, without a job to go to. That’s how bad it was for them.
22:23
Yeah, that they would just up and leave, but also an impact to the company and the remaining employees, because the company now had to put extra financial resources into replacing so many positions so quickly.
Nicola
Host
22:35
That’s a bit of a way to understand the take-off. That’s like a really intense stand. You’re like I don’t love what these people have done. I’m done Exactly.
Gina
Host
22:48
But also I feel like it just is indicative. So here’s where my last question and I think you were getting there on your own anyway, brian, but how fucking toxic was it that this was just commonplace? I’m sure there was already rumblings of all this other nonsense before this one thing happened.
23:12
First of all, why did they hire you as a consultant? Did they give you a hard time in your consultancy? What happened there? I just, without you even answering the question, I can already imagine what you’re going to say, but go ahead and say it yes.
Bryan
Guest
23:32
There were lots of red flags leading up to this. This was obviously like a red explosion. Yeah, yes, so to speak. Yeah, and it really lit the fire under a lot of people to find something else and get out the door and to be clear. I’ve kept in touch with a lot of people who were there. Some of the people are of a rightward political persuasion and even they were like I’m out, I don’t want to be a part of this.
Gina
Host
24:04
And I think that speaks to more like the duplicity, the duplicitous nature of what the owner said. It’s like I might not believe in whatever politics you believe in, but if you’re respectful about it, fine, like to each their own, I don’t care right. But it’s like the fact that you’re going to say it’s a family emergency and then just go trot off and do something Like it’s really, like it’s icky, it’s they lie. They lie to their entire employee, their entire company. So I think, yeah, I don’t like that. It’s not good Family.
24:40
So, but wait, why did they hire you, brian Like? What was the reason why they felt they needed a consultant?
Bryan
Guest
24:49
To help with employee engagement, to develop some additional policies.
24:57
They had an aggressive growth plan and we achieved it, but a lot of it was buttoning some things up which was tough for the ownership to handle sometimes because, as I know both of you are aware like that sort of new business startup mentality is, you know, let’s just do things, let’s just do it and we’ll deal with any repercussions later, whereas from my perspective it’s let’s think about what possible repercussions there are, put in safety measures to prohibit those and then not have to deal with them, because it’s always more expensive and more time consuming to deal with something after the fact that it is to prevent it.
25:37
So that’s sort of where I was coming in, but also helping to achieve some of those growth plans and do some strategic hiring Hiring instead of doing one hiring at one, hire at a time. Let’s hire a group for hiring salespeople. Let’s hire a group of salespeople, train them all at once, let them develop bonds and relationships together as they go through the training. Let’s develop a real training for them, as opposed to some random person taking an hour out of their day to say here’s what you need to do and then leaving them be Like just buttoning up a lot of things and putting some structure and some process around it.
Gina
Host
26:14
Were they resistant to any of your ideas?
Bryan
Guest
26:19
Yes, in their defense most business owners are, because it takes work, effort, time and money and a lot of business owners aren’t willing to put that time and effort in, so then why hire?
26:36
When I do find a client that does understand what it takes, it’s a match made in heaven, Because they may not always agree with me, they may not always like what I have to say, but they understand why I’m saying it. They don’t dislike me for saying something. They don’t think that I’m just trying to up the billables or something like that, that it’s trying to achieve their goals. The reason that they wanted to partner with me Sure, yeah, it is difficult sometimes, but that’s also sort of my role is you’ve hired me to give you the best answer. It’s up to you whether you implement that best answer.
Nicola
Host
27:20
Yeah, Brian, I’m curious to know what did you think when you studied law. Did you think this is where you would be?
Bryan
Guest
27:28
Not a chance in hell, no.
Nicola
Host
27:32
Where did you think your trajectory was going to take you?
Bryan
Guest
27:40
I thought that I would be more of a paper practice type lawyer doing estate planning especially here in Florida there’s plenty of work for that Probate guardianships, doing family law to some extent. That is sort of what I anticipated, what I thought, especially after law school, what I thought my trajectory was going to look like. I think I kind of stumbled into this somewhat related to the writing that I do because when I was working for a small law firm this was years ago when law firm websites were becoming a thing I started doing the writing for the website. One of the areas that the firm practiced in was employment law. I got to learn some more details about employment law because of the writing that I was doing for it and then also took over the operations and HR for that law firm and realized that I actually enjoyed doing these two things the writing and operations, hr stuff more than actual practice of law. And that’s sort of how that fork in the road happened for me. Wow.
Nicola
Host
29:01
Do you maintain your like? I’m assuming it’s similar to New Zealand? Do you maintain, like a practicing certificate for that?
Bryan
Guest
29:08
I do not no.
Nicola
Host
29:09
Okay.
Gina
Host
29:10
So you’re yeah, okay, yeah, okay. So what was number two on your crazy?
Bryan
Guest
29:17
list On my crazy list. So number two was see here’s. So one of the things that I generally try and stay away from with clients and with discussions is politics and religion. You know, like sitting at dinner with in-laws or something you know. It’s, while those can be fun topics and topics that we should be discussing as a society, sometimes it makes for inappropriate discussions in the workplace and that’s why I try and steer companies away from that. Agreed.
Nicola
Host
29:56
But as I look at, my list.
Gina
Host
29:57
Almost everything is political related, so I feel like this is leading up to something. I feel like this is a total setup.
Nicola
Host
30:04
I feel like we’re like okay, what did these Muppets say?
Gina
Host
30:10
I’m on the edge of my seat, yeah carry on Different company here.
Bryan
Guest
30:16
This is much more recent. This is in the days after the Dobs decision was released from the US Supreme Court Overturning Row. There was a company this is a much larger company too, a couple hundred employees One of those companies that has employees in multiple states and has to deal with the jurisdictional issues and all that compliance. They posted, as many companies did. They posted a message on their full company Slack channel expressing concern and support for people who are affected by the Supreme Court ruling and basically they did a good job of not really taking any political stance but saying look, here are some options that are available based on our insurance for counseling for people that you can talk to. Here are some internal company groups that you may find supportive. They did a great job of providing support when it was needed.
Nicola
Host
31:20
Love that.
Gina
Host
31:21
They also. They also said, they was like, they was like the biggest bot here.
Bryan
Guest
31:27
They also said so far they’re doing a great job. Yeah, they also said that we are developing a company policy where we will reimburse up to a certain amount for employees who need to travel to a different state from where they reside to have some healthcare needs taken care of. They didn’t say for abortion, they said for your healthcare. Again, great move, great policy. It was drafted well. It is good. What they did wrong was that they made this company announcement on the whole team, the whole company Slack channel, and didn’t turn off comments.
Gina
Host
32:08
The first comment to that Wait, do you have any like? Do you have any comments? Like, like you know, memorizing.
Nicola
Host
32:18
I feel like Brian’s coming into his brain.
Gina
Host
32:22
Just reading the comments, not participating. Just eat my popcorn reading the comments. Take it away, brian. What do you remember?
Bryan
Guest
32:31
So one of the comments yes, not verbatim, I’m not quoting, this, is paraphrase based on my memory A comment from someone who looks like me, a white male said if anybody His username was incel1984.
Gina
Host
32:52
Yep, that was probably like Chad, Chad19, or Ryguy1998, some bullshit like that. Okay, go ahead.
Bryan
Guest
33:06
The response was. The comment was basically anybody who wants to talk about alternatives to abortion, I’m here for you. That was not well received by many people in the company and a good portion of the company got together sort of off on the side, made an appointment with the CEO, spoke with the CEO. The company decided to take no action, left that comment up, closed commenting for the rest of it, so shut off any rebuttals to that particular comment, continued their policy, continued everything, but the damage was done. They did everything right up until they did it and the thing that they did wrong was more damage than them saying nothing on Dobs Day than what they did. A lot of employees left.
34:03
Like I said, this was a much larger company, a few hundred employees, but a lot of employees left. A lot of employees were visibly upset by this and withdrew from their work, withdrew from the company. From an engagement perspective. It had an impact, and not just on liberal women but on people from all walks of life. It had a negative impact at the company because so many people saw that, as the company did so many things right and they had an opportunity to do something else right, to either delete the comment or to respond to it and say yeah, this is really appropriate.
Gina
Host
34:48
Yeah, why didn’t they delete?
Nicola
Host
34:49
it. Why didn’t they just delete it? I’m sure that they’re like PR person or marketing person, having been a marketing PR person. There’s also that fine line of do we leave the comment up, because then people are gonna think we’re censoring people’s opinions, Like there’s the censor here.
Bryan
Guest
35:08
Yeah, that was, I think, some of the justification for leaving the comments up. But my approach was, if you’re going to turn the comments off after that comment is there and not allow any rebuttals to that, I understand not wanting to make it a place for a political debate on a company Slack channel, I get that. But if you leave that, then you’re saying that’s the last word and that is what I think a lot of people are wrong with.
Gina
Host
35:32
They have just deleted everything retroactively, just had the statement and then been like whoops, we didn’t just say like own up, whoops we forgot to turn off comments. This is our stance. That’s it, this is a non-mocational like your opinions yourself.
35:49
Not even saying that, just say oh whoops, we forgot to turn off comments. Like behind the screen there are humans. People will forget to do shit. Like it’s like we forget companies are made up of individuals who are human and therefore are going to make mistakes. So it’s like I feel like if you had just owned up and been like we’re deleting all the comments because we should have never had the comments on to begin with, like sorry if we offended anyone or something better said than that, do you think that would have been the better way to go?
Bryan
Guest
36:22
I think so, and not to toot my own horn here, but before they made this announcement, I said we should, and I said this to many of my clients even before the Dobs decision came down. You need to have an announcements channel on Slack where only certain people can post, and there’s no reaction to it and there’s no commenting to it After this debacle. Then they made an announcements channel where only certain people could post.
36:48
Yeah, that was a mistake. Slack is great for making company announcements and making sure that everybody sees them. It’s much better than email for that, because it’s more instant, especially when things need to be made timely. But you have to do it right and this was not handled well.
Gina
Host
37:05
Yeah, no, it doesn’t sound like it. And then like I mean, do companies even have to get involved with anything remotely like that? I guess if they’re giving health care they do right. But sometimes I wonder, can you just not say anything? How is that? I don’t know, because I’m not an HR. I’ve never been in a position where I have to make announcements of anything of that important. So, for instance, we’re product development. I would never dream my company’s product development, I would never dream to even make any announcement about that decision because, a I’m not educated enough in the ins and outs of it and B it has nothing to do with the services we provide. Is that ignorant of me?
Bryan
Guest
37:56
No, companies don’t have to take a stance on anything. They don’t have to make an announcement about anything. They do need to make announcements if they’re making changes to something like for open enrollment for health care. You need to remind employees that it’s open enrollment time. Here are the new plans, if they’re new or if they’re staying the same, and then direct them any questions you have about medical stuff. You need to talk to the insurance company or to the nurses that are provided for plan selection not to internal employees.
Gina
Host
38:31
I guess it’s like when it’s a dicey situation. This was a dicey situation. What would have been the downside of not saying anything?
Bryan
Guest
38:43
So the downside of not saying anything especially speaking post-2020 world the downside of not saying anything is it’s also seen as a negative by a decent number of employees.
39:02
Companies or employees today don’t look at work and don’t look at their employers as a nine to five. For 40 years they look at it as somebody, some institution that at least shares some of my values and will stand up for some of the things that I believe in. I may not always agree with what the company does, always agree with what the company says, but on big issues, I want my employer to take a stand and I want my employer to do what they think is right, even if I may disagree with it. I want them to do something that they think is right and take a stand. Yeah, if I disagree with it, that may push me away to another company, but that’s sort of the price of business today. I think that it is detrimental when, on big issues like this, companies don’t take a stand, even internally, like for this company, for example. If they had just said nothing, they probably would have ended up with the same result of disengagement and employees leaving.
Gina
Host
40:13
I guess I’m just like, how does a company go about doing that when, like, how do you take a stance without getting it to be overly political or overly religious? Right, like it’s a really fine line, and I think the example you gave was so good though, because they didn’t push either agenda right. But I think it’s so hard to get to that point. I don’t really know what happened, but the place that Nicola and I met at, that decision happened. Nicola had already been gone, but apparently the owner went on to Instagram Live and said something. I don’t know what was said, but she got such like backlash for it that she I don’t know what she said.
40:59
Oh no, I think what it was is we had a mental health day, the same the day after the decision. So the decision came on Friday, right, like the Friday, I think it was and then there was the weekend, and then that following Monday, we had a mental health day, and the company worded it like we’re so upset about what happened that we’re giving all of our staff a mental health day. But that wasn’t the reality. The reality was the mental health day had already been scheduled for months. So, like, what did she do wrong there?
Bryan
Guest
41:34
It trying to play something off as though it were it were in reaction to something to have this positive effect when it was in reality something already on the books. Like that’s another thing that employees want today is more transparency from their employer, and like, if you but we feel so everybody knew, everybody in the company knew it had already been planned.
Gina
Host
41:56
So then when you have them announcing, oh well, we’re so sad, we’re giving every the major, like we’re giving all of our employees the day off, and most of them were women, what message does that send to your employee? And then I think it kind of got out that that wasn’t actually what happened. And also, like, why do you need? I mean, I don’t know, it was just a fucking hot mess. But like, what does that do to your business when you do something so stupid like that?
Bryan
Guest
42:24
Yeah, it has the same negative effect on the workforce because they see for the transparency point, they see right through it, employees see right through it and it doesn’t, you know there is a lot more Well, she fucking lied.
Gina
Host
42:38
Right, right, she straight up fucking lied to all of her audience, at the same of employees, and then she got upset when people called her out on it.
Bryan
Guest
42:50
Yeah, and there is a lot of pressure on companies today to toe that line, like you said, and to make the right choice every time, all the time, and that is tough. But there are some instances where the right thing is clear and companies still either struggle with it and trip over doing the right thing, or they just do the wrong thing entirely, like in your example, the. Yes, it would be wonderful if you gave us an extra mental health day based on this, Not you know, let’s tag it on and make it a long weekend. Give people time to just relax and go spend some time with family and friends, process everything, not like, hey, we’re gonna turn this already scheduled mental health day into Adobe’s mental health day. That’s not the right approach. I definitely agree with you, but I think that either approach that they had taken because they tried to piggyback on something that was already happening.
Gina
Host
43:52
This was already scheduled. It was a negative. Yeah, we’re gonna address this decision, you know when we’re all back and whatever. I just thought it was hilarious because she was like crying and upset about how it backfired and I’m like you dumb fuck. Of course it did Like.
Nicola
Host
44:09
Was she actually. But I’m sorry, that’s kind of look. I didn’t actually know much about the story until like two seconds ago, and I’m sorry. Like PRYs, either don’t fucking comment at all or make a fucking proper comment.
Gina
Host
44:23
Don’t play off that bullshit, like you suck Well, and I think that’s what people were getting upset about. And then there was another portion of people that were like what is giving everyone a mental health day off helping the cause, right? Like shouldn’t you be out there protesting or shouldn’t you be out there? I don’t know. I mean, I’m not a protester by nature. I am cool with anyone who wants to, but the idea of standing outside in the hot sun in Florida doesn’t strike me as anything that I would like to do. But I don’t know. I guess the bottom and we’re like way off track, but the bottom line here is she fucking lied and that goes to show the type of person she is and what type of company she’s running.
Bryan
Guest
45:15
Right because that’s the mindset that employees have. Then If you’re so blatantly lying about this, what else are you lying about? What else are you doing behind the scenes?
Gina
Host
45:24
What else is shady is going on A lot of shit, Brian, a lot, but this isn’t about us.
Nicola
Host
45:29
It’s not about us, it’s about you, Brian. It’s about you.
Gina
Host
45:32
Yeah, so what was the third thing that happened? Or are we still on number two, because that was a pretty big one? So can you go back into the company Slack and still see that comment?
Bryan
Guest
45:44
It still exists, I’m not.
Gina
Host
45:46
Probably like in the archives or in the cloud or something.
Bryan
Guest
45:50
Yeah, it definitely still exists. Yeah, I think it’s a great example of just how to do almost everything right, but then trip over something pretty easy to do right at the end.
Gina
Host
46:07
So ridiculous? All right, what’s number three? What do you got for us?
Bryan
Guest
46:11
So the third thing we have, the third big one, is a little bit more operational, a little less political.
Gina
Host
46:19
So this is.
Bryan
Guest
46:22
There’s a lot of companies. One of the things that a lot of companies come to me for is to help button up processes, to put some structure in place. Employees many times create structure or at least need some guardrails around what each role is supposed to do, what each department is supposed to do hiring processes, training that’s one of the biggest things today is that people don’t get trained. They’re just expected to come on the job and figure it out. So hiring and onboarding is definitely a big focus, especially again in the last three years with remote. It has put in some additional hurdles to do it effectively. But there are definitely ways to do it and the best way is to start thinking about it like, as a company, how can we make this process positive for our employees and give them what they need to be successful in the job? Obviously, you’ve invested enough in the hiring process and paying this person. Let’s give them every chance at success, and so that starts with hiring and onboarding.
47:30
And there is some confidentiality out there that is related to hiring and onboarding. A lot of notes are taken during the interview process, during the hiring process. Those are notes that are good, especially to reflect back on if, in 30 days, 90 days a year. You’re having some issues with an employee, you can look back and say, okay, did we spot some red flags early and just didn’t know they were red flags. But those notes should be retained and they should be kept confidential. The employee who is hired should not be able to find those notes in Google Drive or in a Slack message. So that is a. It’s not a breach of any law.
Gina
Host
48:22
So somebody found that right, but it’s just like that’s like Business 101. So somebody found like the company bad-mouthing them.
Bryan
Guest
48:34
So an employee found out that found a slack thread of the people that they interviewed with commenting about their interview just after it occurred just moments after it occurred and concede the thread about it. They could also see documents that were attached.
Gina
Host
48:57
Okay, what were the comments? Were they like? Were they like appropriate comments or were they like she’s dumb or whatever like? What kind of comments were?
Bryan
Guest
49:06
there. Yeah, it was nothing that I think is would necessarily be out of line, but it was they were. They were sort of borderline comments. There were some comments, like you know, the candidate was math Didn’t wow me, did a, did an okay job, but didn’t wow me, stuff like that.
Nicola
Host
49:28
Hey, I feel like an interview. That’s like when you find looking for fit. I don’t dislike, like.
Gina
Host
49:34
I would. I would have been more like. You know like, if they were like, did you see the knockers on? Or something like that. You know like.
Nicola
Host
49:41
I would have been all over that. This is why you need a consultant.
Gina
Host
49:46
I know, but no, no, but I think, but I, but I get what you’re saying, brian. Like it’s a like, while it’s not inappropriate, they don’t need to see that or read that, or know that it’s, it exists, they don’t need to know that. It’s like the records room, nicola. It is the you have to watch the consultant, Brian is so creepy.
Bryan
Guest
50:07
I definitely will, I definitely will.
Gina
Host
50:09
I definitely will get my reference to the records room now. Okay, God.
Bryan
Guest
50:14
Okay, yeah, so those comments themselves? Yes, they’re not. They’re not any any threatening or legal legal actionable comments legally actionable comments. But an employee shouldn’t be able to see those comments about themselves, and especially in their first like month on the job. They also shouldn’t be able to see the attached documents in that thread, where they are, where, where there are additional notes about not their candidacy but also other candidates for the same role, and to find out that they weren’t the company’s first choice, that there was somebody else who was a first choice over them. Of course we all know that at some point we’ve probably been hired as the second, third, fourth, seventh choice, but to know that is different than assuming that or having that thought running in the back of your head, and that has a negative impact again on the employees level of engagement. Because if they, if they, if the company, if they perceive the company not all in with them not being their number one we’re all in with you choice then they are not going to provide the same in return.
Gina
Host
51:29
So it’s simple leave, though, like did she find, he or she find the comment and then leave, or what happened there?
Bryan
Guest
51:36
This person has not left. This person is still still with the company, still and and still trying to navigate through some of this, but is really trying to to give it their best and and put those comments aside and go with the, with the positive comments they have received while on the job, as opposed to looking at some of the past comments when these these now colleagues only knew this individual, only knew the candidate for 30 minutes at the time. Now, now they’ve gotten to know this candidate and this person can provide solid and exemplary work. So, now that this person is trying to focus more on on the present as opposed to to some of the past.
52:21
But I think it would have been easy for the company to avoid this, this potential disengagement scenario, by simply having a process in place for having private slack channels, for having password protected folders on Google Drive or outlook or you know whatever, whatever cloud service they want to keep their their resumes and and and applicant notes. And it’s not, it’s not hard to do that. It’s a simple, easy step to take that that could avoid all of this, this headache and heartache for an employee that that really just wants to do a good job. It sets the stage for potentially actionable items to be discovered, because if the process and policies are not in place to to protect some of this information, what other information might be discoverable by employees that would actually be confidential information like medical records or write ups and employment, further employment records, salary information that is confidential in certain areas, so it I had that issue around salary, like confidential salary information, because I had used a group email.
Nicola
Host
53:46
Well, it wasn’t originally a group email account, it was my email account, but as we went, as we got bigger, it ended up having to become a group email account and I had to move information. I had to move archived information out of that account into somewhere safe, but before I had the chance to, the people that had access to the account had already gone looking for the information, the salary information.
Bryan
Guest
54:15
Yeah, and that’s that is something that that is something that I get a lot from employees who who come to me. They come to me with a policy. You know a screenshot or something from a policy from their company saying you’re not allowed to discuss salary information with with one another. That’s, companies can’t do that. You can’t restrict employees from discussing their salaries. What companies can’t do is disclose an employee’s salary to everyone else. So you can’t just simply say, hey, sally makes 34,000.
Nicola
Host
54:55
John makes 36,000 in a company meeting unless those employees give their specific consent to do that, oh my god, like when her boss announced how much she was earning in the company. That was ridiculous, so that’s illegal. Just to clarify that’s illegal, yeah.
Bryan
Guest
55:15
Yeah, you can’t prevent. The National Labor Relations Board has actually taken taken some action against companies who are who had these policies in place or attempting to prevent employees from discussing their their salaries with one another. Yeah, you can’t. You can’t. You can’t prevent that. But some, some employees don’t want their salary note. Some people still see that as as personal, confidential information, and so it’s up to the individual employee whether that information is released to the rest of the company.
55:46
Obviously, people on the finance team, people doing payroll, they’re going to know that they should also be subject to some confidentiality and they’re not allowed to disclose someone else’s salary. They can talk about their own, they can’t talk about other people’s, and that kind of, I think, is a good segue into sort of the one of the overarching ultimate points that I wanted to make today, which is that employees need to know their rights. Obviously, companies come to me and ask me for help, you know, building policies and putting structure in place and dealing with some tough situations operationally or legally compliance, and so many of them come to me to and so many of them don’t know their rights and companies take advantage of that, whether knowingly or or unknowingly. Companies take advantage of that in the US, employee rights are a lot like the, the ADA. There’s no enforcement agency for it. Yeah, there’s the EOC. But you have to make a complaint first, which means you have to know that your rights have been violated before you even go to the EOC.
Nicola
Host
56:58
And. I feel like so many states and so many laws and so many different things. It would be really difficult for average Joe blogs to navigate your rights like just navigate your basic rights.
Bryan
Guest
57:13
It’s extremely difficult, because not only are some things rights across the board, are some things, things that you think should be rights, but aren’t rights across the board. Some of those things may then actually be rights in certain states but not in others. And yeah, it’s this whole. It is an incredibly complex. It’s a complex area and it’s tough to navigate for both companies and employees, because employees may feel that their rights are being violated when, in reality, they aren’t. And that’s just the way the US employment law works, that it very heavily favors businesses or employees. Rights are being violated, but they don’t know that they’re being violated.
Gina
Host
57:57
So what happens?
Nicola
Host
58:00
I’m going to I’m going to hop in before you finish your question there because I’m curious what are some of like the the top employee rights we should be hyper aware of? Like what are some of the ones where you’re like fuck this shit, these are the ones you need to know, like always. Look at this.
Bryan
Guest
58:20
And from an employee focus, it’s overtime and at an accurate pay. So a lot, of, a lot of companies will try and avoid overtime pay by classifying somebody as a manager or or on salary and thinking, just because they pay them a salary, that they’re automatically exempt from overtime. That’s, that’s not the case and employees oftentimes don’t know any better, so they just accept it and using using the nuance of different state laws here, overtime is different in in California, for example, that it is in Texas. In Texas it’s federal, it’s 40. Anything over 40 hours is is time and a half in a single work week. In California it’s anything over eight hours a day plus 40 hours in a work week, plus there’s also. There’s some nuance of this, but there’s also if you, if if you’re working more than 12 hours, then it’s double time and so like. Those are things that a lot of employees just don’t know that they’re entitled to.
59:21
But that also comes. That also relatedly goes along with misclassification of employees, which is something that companies need to be aware of. So if you classify your employee as exempt but they’re not, you could be if that employee learns that their rights are being violated and files a complaint and the EOC file finds that the company has violated the employees rights by not paying them overtime and misclassifying them as an exempt employee when they’re actually non exempt, then that company is subject to not only fines and penalties for that misclassification but also to paying that employee back overtime pay and, in some cases, paying the back taxes for both the company and the employee for the additional pay. So it can become extremely costly for companies to do a mis, to engage in misclassification, and that also happens between contractors and employees.
01:00:21
A lot of companies, especially today, again going into the post 2020 world, a huge part of the US workforce today is fully freelance fully 1099 contractors, yeah, and companies oftentimes take advantage of that and say you know, we want to hire, we want to, we want to partner with somebody who’s a contractor so that we don’t have to pay them, we don’t have to pay them overtime, we don’t have to cover their benefits, we don’t have to pay the payroll taxes, we’re just going to pay them straight 1099. But if a company determines when an employee works, how they work and what they do when they’re on the clock, they’re an employee.
Nicola
Host
01:00:57
They’re not the same rule in New Zealand.
Bryan
Guest
01:01:00
Right and so that that again the company’s engaging in misclassification, knowingly or unknowingly, and could be subject to massive fines, penalties and and disengagement from from the rest of the workforce as they learn that the company is doing something, something shady, even if they, even if the company didn’t know themselves. A lot of companies don’t even know that that misclassification is a thing.
Nicola
Host
01:01:21
Okay, so we’ve got misclassification, We’ve got. I feel like I feel like with some of these, though, again like how, where do people go to find out what their rights are? Because I feel like with some of these were like yeah, okay, cool, Make sure you know about overtime, Make sure you know about, you know, employee classification, yada, yada, yada. But again, like it’s so tricky to navigate if you’re just averaged your blogs and you’re coming in and you know, sign in your contract and off you go, Like you’re not looking out for these big kind of blaringly red flags, right? So where can people kind of go to kind of work out what their rights actually are? Like what’s Joe blocks? He’s a plumber down in Orlando at Disney. Where’s he going to get his fucking rights? Like, where is he going?
Bryan
Guest
01:02:18
So in Florida he isn’t going to find much help.
Gina
Host
01:02:24
Where he’s going to find yeah.
Bryan
Guest
01:02:27
Where he’s going to find help is in blue states. Many of the blue states California, colorado, washington, for example have great workforce rights webpages, faqs, information on their state labor department websites. Yes, it still takes a little hunting sometimes to find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s not always straightforward front and center, but a lot of states do put that information on their webpages so that employees can have a better idea of what their rights are. But, honestly, your best bet is to just start Googling. If you think you have some sort of violation, start Googling and ideally you’ll end up with a hit in one of those states that will give you some detailed information. Hopefully you live in one of those states, because then their contact information is there and you can easily get in touch with the labor department in that state.
01:03:31
If you’re not, then yeah, you need to do a little bit of digging and sometimes people have to go to employment lawyers for assistance. Some employment lawyers do some pro bono stuff, especially in more red states, because they know that employees workers just don’t have the resources and just need five minutes to answer a question. Do I? Is there a cause of action here? Is there something that? Is there some right that’s being violated. I feel like it should be.
Gina
Host
01:04:06
I feel like some right is being violated. Aren’t most employees at Wail in the United States? Like you, don’t really need a reason to fire them.
Bryan
Guest
01:04:15
Correct, but the if you have an employee who thinks their rights have been violated and here we can use an example that I didn’t even have on my list, but this is a great segue. Say there’s an employee who’s been on the job for eight months and they have done not a great job, they have been given some training and they just haven’t met the expectations. And now the owner of the company says we need to terminate this person and find a replacement. So the person is terminated, as you said at Wail, no reason given, just termination. The employee is four months pregnant, so now we have a potential discrimination clause on our hands because the individual was pregnant. They go to an employment lawyer and the employment lawyer then writes a letter to the company saying you have wrongfully terminated, you violated my client’s rights, Even if there was justification.
01:05:35
This is where the system sometimes manages to screw everybody.
01:05:42
Even if there is justification for that termination let’s assume that there is in this example the company is still most likely going to pay the terminated employee a settlement just to make the whole thing go away, because it’s going to be cheaper than litigating and defending it.
01:06:01
And so that’s where you have employees who, in this case knew their rights but also were able to in some ways take advantage of the situation because of the employer terminating them while they were pregnant, even though they knew the employer had a just cause for doing so. So let’s assume now that there was no just cause for doing so. Now the employee is just out of the blue terminated and therefore months pregnant. Now they think, of course I’ve been terminated because I just told my employer a month ago that I was pregnant and now I’m going to need to go out and leave in a few months. They just want me off the books. They don’t want to have to deal with that hassle. So it creates complexities and challenging situations for everyone involved, partly because of the at-will employment, because, even if no reason is given, if someone alleges wrongful termination, then the burden shifts back to the company to provide a legitimate reason for the termination, a non-discriminatory reason.
Gina
Host
01:07:20
So I was told that I was being let go because I went against the company’s core values, and the core values more or less summed up or like the company comes before you, like lead with kindness, like things that really don’t amount to much, it’s not instead of like being like don’t steal, don’t lie, like, which of course, I’m not gonna do. Is there any recourse there?
Bryan
Guest
01:07:56
I mean. So yes, in America there’s always recourse. Whether it’s worth it to go down that path is an entirely different question.
Gina
Host
01:08:06
I mean that’s the thing that you always have to, kind of like, do the checks and balances for. So I just was like really shocked that they wouldn’t even really give me a reason. And does a company have to give you a reason, or can they just say it’s not working out?
Bryan
Guest
01:08:23
Yeah, companies often say it’s not working out or this position is no longer available and you’re like but I hold the position right now. Yeah, no, companies do not have to give a reason, unless a cause of action occurs where a lawyer gets involved or a government agency gets involved, to say this could potentially be a wrongful termination. We need you to justify this with a legitimate business reason.
Gina
Host
01:08:54
So violating. Because, like I still, don’t understand why I got fired. Oh, I mean, I technically resigned, but I also don’t know why I then got fired.
Bryan
Guest
01:09:04
So I’m like that’s a shitty position because there’s so many, so many workers in America who had that happen frequently. They just don’t know, and I think again, part of that is a symptom of at will, because companies are trying to cover their own ass and just not giving any reason in the hopes that they won’t end up with a wrongful termination lawsuit, as opposed to giving some reason and then having it be more clear that there’s a wrongful termination because they stumbled over the reason or they gave some discriminatory reason for it. So many companies just say, just do nothing and then go silent on the employee and so they never know and so that doesn’t help the employee, even if the reason was legitimate, that there was some true issue with the employment relationship, the employee doesn’t know and then they go on to another job and they experience the same thing all over again and it’s just yeah, I see it more as a symptom.
Gina
Host
01:10:04
It just and I know for Nicola it felt really fucked up and I think it feels really fucked up for a lot of people and for America is not pro employee, it’s not, it’s pro capitalist. I mean, that’s at least how I feel. What do you think?
Bryan
Guest
01:10:22
I agree.
Gina
Host
01:10:24
It’s like fuck the employee. We could just figure it out from you, know, yeah, so.
Bryan
Guest
01:10:32
Employees are the replaceable robots. And so then, how do you?
Gina
Host
01:10:37
advocate for yourself, because I felt like, like I got so angry and so upset and you know, and I know Nicola got really depressed but, like, as people who get fired and continue you know this is not the first time, it’s not the last time how can you advocate for yourself? Like I, the only thing I could think of doing was I forced them to write me a termination letter, like I was like I don’t know why I feel like I need this. I should just have it outlining, like when my like the dates of my employment, what my severance was gonna be, all of that. Like I don’t know why I felt like I needed that, but I made them do it and I did get it, but like it was only a consultancy for me. So I don’t like I shouldn’t even gotten severance, but they’re so dumb. They gave it to me because they don’t know they’re asked from their elbow. But I really feel like I could have, like I really feel like I didn’t know how to advocate for myself and that made me really upset.
Bryan
Guest
01:11:43
And again, I think that’s a symptom of the system, that employees just don’t know their rights and even if they do, they don’t know where to turn. And unfortunately, one of the best ways to turn is also one of the most prohibitive, and that’s to an employment lawyer, and employment lawyers usually are not cheap.
Nicola
Host
01:11:59
And so and it’s also really like the minute you’re getting in the big guns like you know, an employment lawyer is considered a big gun and then you come in and all guns fucking blazing and then your employer is gonna turn around and be like er anyway.
Bryan
Guest
01:12:12
Right. And if you live in a state like California or Washington or Colorado, new York, that have some good labor departments, that have some level of advocacy for employees, they are swamped, overworked, overburdened. So it won’t be as quick as spending money out of your own pocket to go to an employment lawyer, but you can always file a claim with your state’s labor department and have them. They will investigate. It may not be quick, it may not be the answer that you want, it may not be as in depth as you think it needs to be, but they will take action on it. But the outcome is it’s. The outcome is often just disappointing. It’s just never. It’s never what you think is warranted or is necessary. And again to your point, gina, that’s kind of a it’s kind of a symptom of not only the at will employment system but also capitalism, that the business is valued over the worker.
Gina
Host
01:13:20
So what can you do, like going into taking a new job. You know, obviously, if you’re gonna go work for like a huge conglomerate you’re not gonna have too much ability to amend a contract right Like an employment contract. But what can you do to kind of advocate for yourself when you do, when you do decide to take a job with a new company assuming you can amend the contract Like what should I have done differently?
01:13:50
Or should anyone do differently. Because, you know, I just at the end of the day, I just felt very like, like and I’m sure that I’m not unique in this but I felt like how is this bumble fuck of a company that’s barely surviving like firing someone who’s actually experienced like? What kind of twilight world am I in right now, like you know, I mean the bottom line is and Nicola knew it is I was costing them too much money because I asked for what I well, less than what I’m worth, but yeah.
Bryan
Guest
01:14:30
But that, so that is the problem that so many workers face. Is that, to answer your question, what can you do?
Gina
Host
01:14:40
Yeah.
Bryan
Guest
01:14:41
You can remember that almost everything is negotiable. But if you negotiate a higher salary, additional benefits, severance or you know whatever, you’re also going to cost the company more money. So you may be one of the first to go if you’ve negotiated a higher salary and additional benefits. So it-.
Gina
Host
01:14:59
So I guess my real nitty gritty question is if you’re coming into like a company that isn’t huge, that their contract is an ironclad, can you add anything? Or ask to add, like anything that says like, if they’re planning to fire you I’m just riffing, I don’t know really what I’m trying to get at Like they need to give you certain amount of days, or like can you do anything in that vein I think you understand where I’m going with this to protect yourself.
Bryan
Guest
01:15:31
Yes, you can do that. So you can negotiate in your offer letter which, as long as both parties have signed it a company representative and the new employee it is essentially a contract. It’s not an employment contract. That the way in the way that many other countries use employment contracts, but it’s as close in most cases as we get in the US you can negotiate.
01:16:03
You can sort of negotiate out of the at will system by doing exactly what you just said. You can say you can ask for. You have to be prepared for the company to say no, we’re going on to another candidate. But you can try and negotiate and ask for a 90 day notice for termination or, in lieu of notice, 90 days worth of severance, 30 days for any of that. You can negotiate that. And sometimes if a company really wants you or they really need your skill set, they will play ball with negotiation. You can’t. The one thing I always tell workers who come to me is that you’d never get what you don’t ask for. And I know that’s a cliche. But if you think you want something, if you think that you’re entitled to even just another $1,000 a year, ask for it, otherwise you’re not going to get it. You’re guaranteed not to get it.
Gina
Host
01:17:02
Yeah.
01:17:05
But yes for your direct question you can sort of negotiate in a way out of at will. So like the way that they had, it was like you had a 30 day review, a 60 day review and a 90 day review and then I guess a six months. Now I think a lot of us go into that thinking, well, of course it’s gonna be good because I know I’m a good worker, right. But you’re not really taking into account, like company culture, clashing personalities, truly understanding how the business works, what the morality of the business is Like. Are you working with liars and cheaters, which we happen to be working with liars and cheaters? So a lot of that you don’t know. But I think, having walked through that now I would say like I think that would be my number one thing that I would do to safeguard myself that, if they’re think so, I don’t have you ever heard of the EOS system? Yeah, okay, just question what do you think about it? Just generally, I’m curious.
01:18:09
Yeah, I’m really curious to hear this.
Bryan
Guest
01:18:13
I think that I think that there’s there’s a lot written about and discussed about ways to make companies better, make them more profitable, make them more engaging for employees, how, how to actually engage those employees and make those employees more productive. I don’t I don’t every every situation is unique, but there are often similarities, and the one thing I can say with certainty is that, if you want to be, forget any, any type of system or methodology. If you want to be a successful company with productive, efficient and engaged employees, pay them, yeah, pay them what they’re worth, pay them more than what they’re worth. Pay them with with benefits, pay them with with actual salary and time off. That that is the. That is the way to get engagement from employees, which then turns into productive employees, which turns into revenue for the business, and that study after study after study, both pre 2020 and post 2020, shows that is the formula.
Gina
Host
01:19:38
Okay.
Bryan
Guest
01:19:38
You pay employees.
Gina
Host
01:19:40
I think you’re thinking of something else the EOS system, the entrepreneurial operating system, that.
Bryan
Guest
01:19:47
I was thinking.
Gina
Host
01:19:49
Yeah, I you’re thinking of, you’re thinking of stock options, so so never mind, I it’s something, it’s a very. I got so confused there for a second.
Nicola
Host
01:19:58
I didn’t know what the fuck was happening.
Gina
Host
01:19:59
I think it’s about employee stock options and and I think that could potentially be a great thing if you’re like an IBM or something, but for like a small startup, I once.
Nicola
Host
01:20:10
I once got stock options in a business. Yeah, I mean, it’s exactly what Brian said, I got like 200 bucks out of it when I left.
Gina
Host
01:20:18
Yeah, but I mean like if you were getting stock options, plus all the other things that Brian’s mentioning, like, yeah, like an actual salary, like not subpar salary, you know you’re not being worked to death. Then, yeah, absolutely no. The EOS system is a whole different bag of worms.
Bryan
Guest
01:20:34
Yeah, and see, here’s, here’s the thing to go back to, sort of the. I mean, you know you can include this, not include this just for our, just for the three of us having this discussion. It’s something I always love to tell people about because I do a lot of writing for also in HR space, and I do some some writing on on comparisons between other countries employment laws versus the US, and one of the things that regularly fascinates me is that we are one of the only countries on earth that hasn’t figured out so many systems. We haven’t figured out universal healthcare. We haven’t figured out maternity leave. We haven’t figured out maternity leave. We haven’t figured out how to, how, to, you know, give a social system for for employees so that they can, they can weather the storm between jobs or medical bills, like I. The other day I was just I was looking at stuff for Norway, was it? I think it was Norway.
01:21:36
They have the bomb, everything 418 days of paid maternity leave.
Gina
Host
01:21:42
It’s insanity, I know. And they have like universal healthcare, they have like unlimited sick, it’s, it’s all done, Can we?
Nicola
Host
01:21:53
are we all moving to Norway? Is this what we’re saying?
Gina
Host
01:21:55
Yeah yeah we’re going to all do it. Oh my God.
Nicola
Host
01:21:58
Are we getting married and moving to Norway?
Gina
Host
01:22:00
Yes, yes, I think we might as well have like a visa. The three of us will be a throttle and we’ll caravan to.
Nicola
Host
01:22:07
Norway. So between one of us we can get a visa and then the other one could be the the why.
Gina
Host
01:22:11
Why not?
Bryan
Guest
01:22:12
One would hope, one would hope.
Gina
Host
01:22:14
If I can, catfish some Norwegian guy and I’ll get in, and then you know what you wouldn’t do that, and then invite me as your sister wife. I was just watching this once again and, brian, you could be my, my, my brother.
Bryan
Guest
01:22:27
Perfect, I love it. I love it Hold on.
Nicola
Host
01:22:29
This is in Norway. Hold on, we, we are.
Bryan
Guest
01:22:33
We are one of. I think it’s 29 countries on earth that does not have guaranteed paternity leave. We are one of six or seven that does not guarantee maternity leave. Like, if, if, like, if, what? Are there 210 countries, if 205 of them have figured out, including places like not to Again include not include what up to you, but like Not to put it in the right way, but countries like Saudi Arabia that have Paid family leave? How can we? Not do that.
Gina
Host
01:23:11
America is so far.
01:23:13
Like, so the more that we do this podcast, and the more that we have people coming in from all over the world, the more I realize and I’m not like anti-American at all, I’m not, you know. I feel like I’m not. I’m not like anti-American at all, I’m not, you know I feel like I’m grateful that I was born here. I’m a citizen because, yes, we do have a lot of opportunities, but there are some things that are we do, that are really fucked up, and mainly the ones that you are discussing right now. It’s like Like America is not built to Support small businesses, america is not built to try to lift up, but I think that’s the way that we are. I think that’s the way that we are. I think that’s the way that we are, and I think that’s the way that we are. You know, we’re all so impoverished. You know areas or demographics.
Bryan
Guest
01:24:08
We’re just like slapping band-aids on things and it’s, you know, the more I talk to people From everywhere, the more I’m like what is going on right now, Like, yeah, let’s go to Norway that they have. Like yeah, and you know, think, think about this. I mean, I think that’s the way that we’re going to be coming. Coming I forget what they called it, but the the coming financial catastrophe that is boomers retiring and going into nursing homes Like we do not have. There are so many people in that age group that are just going to be screwed Cause they don’t have the financial resources to go into nursing homes, and states and the federal government Are not Putting money in anything yeah.
01:24:46
They’re not doing anything to build, to build the facilities and to train the state, and they’re not doing anything to support all of those people that are going to be going into those places Like that’s like At this point in my, my mom and dad’s life, like I’m 43.
Gina
Host
01:25:01
They already had like two homes, a shit ton of money in the bank. I’m like I make decent money but I’m like barely scraping by. I’m a one, you know, I’m a single mom, I’m in one one income household and I’m like I’m lucky if I’m going to have enough to retire on. You know, and I think that’s. I think that’s like a lot of our generation. We’re all in that same boat. And also cause like what companies give 401ks anymore? Very few of far between. What companies give pensions? None Unless you’re like a first responder of some kind, like it’s just. But then you want to go in and feel like the company is like part of your family but they really don’t give a shit about you.
Bryan
Guest
01:25:46
That’s exactly right. The company, the company does not care about you.
Gina
Host
01:25:50
You are disposable to a company.
Bryan
Guest
01:25:52
Yes, and, and that is, that is the system that we live in, and I think, that, that, yes, we can have a debate and all for it, about you know what, what we should do to correct the wrongs Of this current system. But at least if you know what the system is, then that is empowering. You can empower yourself by knowing the rules as they currently exist. Yes, should, should many of those rules be changed, and should we have some social safety nets? Should we have some of these, some of these other programs in place? Absolutely, but right now we don’t, and so we can advocate for those changes. We can, as you said earlier, protest for those changes, we can take action for those changes.
01:26:36
But until any of that happens, knowing the system that you’re in and understanding your rights and abilities within that system is is the best way to empower yourself as a worker.
Gina
Host
01:26:49
Yeah Well, brian, you’re so fucking smart and eloquent, and no wonder why.
Nicola
Host
01:26:55
We love you.
Gina
Host
01:26:55
Brian, we love you.
Nicola
Host
01:26:58
And thank you. Yes, we can we find you, Brian, like where’s your?
Gina
Host
01:27:03
Tell everyone where we can find you if we want to annoy you about wrongful termination, which is almost never a wrongful termination. I’m still trying to figure out a way to make my termination wrongful from our can I, can I? Can I get something? No, but yeah, we can. We can find you.
Bryan
Guest
01:27:23
Yeah, I’m not. I’m not big on on social media, I do have.
Gina
Host
01:27:27
I love that actually.
Bryan
Guest
01:27:29
I’m not. I don’t really. I don’t really do much on social media. The best place to find me is my website, brianjdriscollcom. That’s Brian B R Y A N, and there’s a contact form there. You can also just email me, brian, at BrianJDriscollcom, and I am always open to having a having a chat with somebody about about what’s going on, whether they’re an employee or or a business. I the idea that I have the, the sort of the mantra that I have when I’m working with companies, is what benefits the employees.
Gina
Host
01:28:07
Because, as I said earlier, it’s employee versus employer.
Bryan
Guest
01:28:10
Yeah, because if, if it’s, I still want to help the company, because by helping the company it helps the employees and the when, when you have an engaged workforce, you have a productive and profitable workforce and that benefits everybody Sure.
Gina
Host
01:28:25
Well, I love that and I wish more people were like you. And let’s try to, let’s try to all get on the Brian bandwagon and help the employees with and and if the Brian bandwagon doesn’t work, we’ll just caravan to Norway. Thoughts feelings.
Bryan
Guest
01:28:42
Yeah, I mean I, you know, I, I, I hate cold weather, but I don’t know, I might, I might be willing to make some trade-offs.
Gina
Host
01:28:50
I mean universal healthcare and like unlimited paternity leave. Not that I don’t know if you guys want kids or anything, but that’s. I would brave the cult for that. I mean, I’m a native.
Nicola
Host
01:28:59
It’s attractive.
Gina
Host
01:29:01
Yeah, I like that. It is attractive. Well, we’ll be in touch when we figure out the logistics on that. We might also be dead by that time, but we’ll be in touch, maybe. Yeah, all right. Well, it was so awesome having you on and you’re so smart and insightful and I hope you keep listening and tell your friends and, even though you’re not on IG, put it out in the universe that you’re going to be here so people can listen to you.
Bryan
Guest
01:29:26
Absolutely, and I, I thank you both for for first of all doing something like this. When I first found your, your pod, it was fascinating to listen to and I, I, I think I mentioned on our first call together, but the one that you did with with Taylor was was just so resonating for me. That’s when I was like I got a, I got a, I got a.
Gina
Host
01:29:46
Congrats on having a baby, brian. Like you can’t even write like congratulations, like.
Nicola
Host
01:29:55
I can’t write.
Gina
Host
01:29:56
Yeah, yeah, well go enjoy the rest of your day and we will be in touch, and if you need anything from us, you know where to find us Absolutely.
Bryan
Guest
01:30:06
Thank you, really appreciate it. Thank you both.
Nicola
Host
01:30:09
And thank you Brian. We really appreciate it, absolutely. All right, speak soon. Bye.

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