You can just hear the frustration in today’s reader note:

For the past year, I worked as a bartender at the same place. I got fired for covering a shift that was out of my element – I worked the floor as a server, which I had not done before. My boss claims that I lost the company money, even though he wasn’t there to see my work.

The company doesn’t pay overtime – my shift would start at 6:00p and I wouldn’t clock out until 3:30a after cleaning glasses, stocking and everything else that he requests us to do. He has stated on many occasions (with no backup) that my cash drawer is short and made me pay back the shortage. He has withheld my tips when there were credit cards still open.

The company has failed to give me my personnel file saying he has 31 days and he won’t return any of my phone calls. How long does he really have to get me my final paycheck and personnel file?

There’s a lot going on in this story so it’s very difficult to provide a solution that would cover everything.  We don’t know where the bar/restaurant is located. Or what policies the business has in place – if any. However, I have written about some of the issues mentioned above:

Final Paychecks: Do’s and Don’ts

The Right Way to Maintain Employee Files

But there were parts of the story that really got to me. For example, how the employment relationship ended. Yes, the employee appears to have done something they weren’t supposed to do and there were consequences. Hopefully, the employee knew prior to covering the shift that their actions would lead to termination. This is why companies create rules in the first place. So employees know not to do things that will get themselves fired.

employment, employee, quit, leave, fired, manager, leadership, relationship

The second part of the story that struck me as odd is the pay situation. Nothing makes employees madder than messing with their money. Employees should know how and when they’re getting paid. If an employee has a question about their pay, the company should be able to explain it quickly and honestly. When companies cannot clearly articulate pay, it can be perceived that they are cheating employees – which is probably not the case. But, since they can’t explain themselves…

Lastly, when an employee leaves the company – whether it’s voluntarily or involuntarily – it should be done with dignity and respect. The employment relationship is over but no one needs to be embarrassed or belittled. Any outstanding matters such as final paychecks or paperwork, should be discussed with a reasonable timeframe for completion.

If a company fires an employee and doesn’t know the answers to questions like, “When do I have to give the employee their final paycheck?” or “Do I have to give an employee a copy of their personnel file?”, go find out the answers. Don’t just make something up to get the employee out the door or ignore an employee’s phone calls. Contact your friendly local employment attorney. Call your local Chamber of Commerce and see if they can put you in touch with someone. You can also contact a local SHRM chapter to see if they have a member who is an HR Consultant.

Allowing the situation to deteriorate doesn’t help anyone. And rest assured, the rest of the company is watching what’s going on. They’re also wondering if it will happen to them.

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Discussing Salary Information In the Office

by Sharlyn Lauby on April 22, 2014

There’s a never-ending conversation about whether it’s acceptable to discuss pay with co-workers. I’m of the mindset that a person’s pay is their own business. So if someone wants to tell everyone their pay – go right ahead. It’s your information to keep private or share.

I do believe it’s important to realize that sharing your pay isn’t an act of transparency. And it’s often not without consequences.

salary, pay, compensation, open salaries, transparency, discussing, honesty

As a human resources professional, employees would come to me all the time about their pay. And I would have to explain, in logical and realistic terms, why a person receives a certain salary. Compensation is complicated. There are many factors that go into pay. Here’s a post I wrote a couple years ago on developing a compensation plan.

If employees are going to start going out there and telling everyone how much money they make, I think they should also take the time to understand why their pay is set at that level. Then, when everyone decides to share how much money they make over beers at Happy Hour, there can be some understanding why someone might make more or less than someone else. It’s about processing the information in proper context.

Look, employees are going to talk about pay. It’s unavoidable. What’s unfortunate is when employees don’t have enough information about how salaries are established. All employees hear is “So-and-so makes more money than I do.” The employee gets ticked off. No one wins.

So I’d like to make a suggestion. Companies should take a few moments during onboarding to explain how salaries are established. I once worked for a company that proactively told employees “We get salary survey data every year to make sure we’re competitive.” Now, this same company also pointed out getting survey data didn’t mean everyone’s pay was going to get adjusted. It meant they worked hard to ensure salaries were in alignment.

If employees know how companies establish pay and they know the organization regularly monitors the marketplace, then hearing what other people make isn’t the same issue. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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The Resume Isn’t Dead [poll results]

April 20, 2014

A few weeks ago, I asked “Do You Really Need a Resume?” in a poll. Here’s what you said:   Judging by the responses, there’s not much to report. The resume isn’t dead. Long live the resume. Poll: The Resume Isn’t DeadClick To TweetPowered By CoSchedule It would be interesting to ask this question in […]

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Compensation: More Than a Paycheck [infographic] – Friday Distraction

April 18, 2014

I recently saw a post over on the Jellyvision ALEX blog about a decline in voluntary benefits. You know, things like dental, vision or life insurance. You can check the post out here. I agree that benefits are an important part of an employee’s total compensation package. This infographic from Mercer shows us what employees […]

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Companies Can’t Engage Employees that Don’t Stay

April 15, 2014

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by Career Engagement Group, a global consulting firm focused on creating inspiring careers for your employees. Fuel50 is their web-based SaaS solution that allows companies to deliver career engagement to every level of the business. Be sure to download their new whitepaper “Hold on tight – retention is now […]

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Are Family Members a Liability at Work – Ask HR Bartender

April 13, 2014

Many human resources professionals are also responsible for risk management in their organizations. Today’s reader is faced with one of those liability situations. Hi Sharlyn! We’re a small, but rapidly growing company. We realize the need to have an HR department. I’m new to the HR role, have taken some seminars, and have a general […]

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The Social Employee [infographic] – Friday Distraction

April 11, 2014

I know we’re all tired of the “you need to be on social media” speeches. Today’s infographic, courtesy of McGraw Hill, shows us how social media is changing the way we work. Employees understand the power of social and expect it to be a part of their personal and professional lives. The infographic (click to […]

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