DEAR JOYCE: Settle a
Pay your friend
Maltby is also the author of an important new book, "Can They Do That?: Retaking Our Fundamental Rights in the Workplace"
A snippet of Maltby's comments on each of these seven things your boss can't legally do to you describes the gist of what really occurs:
(1) Dictate political expression.
The U.S. Constitution applies to the government, not to corporations. A private business, large or small, can legally ignore your
freedom of speech. An
(2) Deliberately listen to telephone calls.
You have no way to know if your boss listened to your personal calls unless he is foolish enough to tell you or to put monitoring equipment where employees can see it.
(3) Lie about you in a reference check.
The courts give employers a great deal of leeway in defamation (slander) cases. If it's a close call, the employer typically gets the benefit of the doubt. And you have no way of knowing what your former employer said about you in a reference check unless your potential new employer tells you -- which virtually never happens.
(4) Use your genetic information in making employment decisions.
If your employer acquires genetic information during a routine pre-employment physical and refuses to hire you, you probably won't know what happened; employers are not required to explain their reasons for not hiring a candidate.
(5) Fire you for trying to organize a union.
If the company fires you for trying to start a union and you get your job back, your boss will terminate you again even if you don't resume organizing. Management will wait for you to make a small mistake -- like showing up late because you were stuck in traffic -- and use it as an excuse to fire you. In their eyes, anyone who tries to organize a union is a troublemaker whom they will find a way to get rid of.
(6) Shut down the company without giving you 60 days notice.
If that happens, your only remedy is the equivalent of 60 days' pay, no matter how high your actual damages.
(7) Force you to take a polygraph.
This protection is real. Employers rarely demand that you take a polygraph.
Maltby's 275-page book provides complete explanations for the above examples. It also provides many more chilling insights into the absence of personal rights in the workplace:
-- A machinist was fired for having a few beers after work with friends because the company's. owner believed that drinking is a sin.
-- A truck driver who was employed by a company that -- without warning -- closed and canceled its health insurance died three months after the closing when he couldn't pay to continue his cancer chemo.
This book shows you, the employee, how to protect yourself as much as possible under the existing laws, which, more often than not, Maltby says, favor employers.
Available at Amazon.com
Jobless Overwhelm Retraining Programs
The crowds of unemployed people trying to get retraining have so swamped long-underfunded community colleges and other job skills programs that many communities now have waiting lists of six months or more.
Insider Tips for Job-Seeking College Grads
The latest data from the Labor Department show that employers might be beginning to dip their toes back into the hiring waters, but that doesn't mean finding gainful employment will be easy for recent college graduates. Here are some strategies to keep in mind
Teaching Jobs Not Necessarily Recession-proof
Joyce Lain Kennedy
I changed careers from public relations to teaching because I though it would be more secure. I like working with children but was laid off in June. I'm expecting to be recalled for the next school year, but I'm not sure if I want go back to more job insecurity. I'm considering enrolling in an occupational therapy program. Advice?
Want Office Harmony? Read This!
Dr. Daneen Skube
The only place you'll find a completely harmonious workplace is somewhere that the unicorns roam. If you can't find that mythical office, anywhere that humans roam in groups is fraught with conflict. However, here's some tips to make life at the office manageable
Six Ways to Survive Illness on the Job
Joyce Lain Kennedy
I could have an unpredictable but potentially debilitating illness that may or may not cause me to miss a fair number of workdays in the years ahead. Retiring is not realistic at this time. Will the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect my job?
(c) 2009 Joyce Lain Kennedy