Labor Woes:

IMG_6504I explained how I gave the staff August for a vacation. The other day (Monday a week ago) I received an email from: Luluisiana, referring me to an article in a newspaper about a CEO at a tech type firm who has decided to pay all his employees at least $70,000 a year. The text of her email read: “How About It.” That was it.

Not knowing what she really meant I thought I would forward it to Doramosa my legal person. My note was brief: “What is this supposed to mean?”  Doramosa wrote back: “It seems self-evident. She would like you to follow that CEO’s example.”

It wasn’t more than twelve hours after that email that one came in from the person most important to the operation, Shiabelle.  It read: “Are you going to give everyone who works with us 70 grand?” As you might expect she cc’d: Luluisiana, Dexter, Freddie, Sid, and Doramosa.

I was perplexed. I had to answer but should I just reply to Shiabelle or to everyone who thinks that is an issue. I decided not to do anything and pretend the matter had not come up. A couple of hours after that Freddie’s email arrived which was copied to all the others. He wrote: “Thanks, boss. Love you!!”

Initially I thought he was writing about the month off I had given him; but as I thought about it I wondered if it had anything to do with the $70,000. I figured there was no way it was the latter but the question lingered in my mind. Luluisiana and Sid also wrote me in response to Freddie’s email: “ditto.”

That gave me an ominous feeling that they might be thinking that they were all going to get the $70,000 but I kept telling myself it was not about that but the month off with pay. My puzzlement was put to rest when Dexter emailed me with: “Thanks for the raise boss it’ll sure come in handy. Been hoping to get some money for a trip abroad.”

I had no doubt they all believed they were getting $70,000. Sure, I’d love to give them that type money but there’s quite few reasons why I shouldn’t even if I could afford it. The next I heard from Dexter was this: “Boss, I’m trying to do a little planning. Is the $70,000 going to be retroactive to the first of the year? Let me know and thanks again.”  

I wondered if my failure to respond to any of these emails indicated my assent to the proposed raise. Now when I tell them it has all been a big error some are going to really upset, especially Dexter who appears to have gone out and started spending some of the money. I decided I had to respond despite what happened.

Before I did I received another email from Shiabelle. She wrote: “Please be advised I will not be coming back to work in September. I always thought you valued my work and extra efforts and hours I put in for you. To think you will pay everyone almost double what I have been working for over the years is a great slap in the face. I do four times the work of someone like Freddie and Sid who to be frank are no more than “gofers.” If you do value my work then you may want to consider increasing my pay by the same percentage amount you increased those “gofers” to $135,000.”   

To cut to the chase, no sooner did Shiabelle write that, Doramosa and Luluisiana also made a similar demand. Dexter replied: “I thought you were going to treat everyone fairly and equally. If you are making the salary $135,000 please do so for everyone. Do not discriminate. PS – will it be retroactive? Both Sid and Freddie wrote thank you notes.

I’m in a bind. To have my staff come back at the rate they left I will have to cut their pay by around $100,000 for some and over $100,000 for others from what they are planning on receiving.  When I do they will probably file some type of charges against me with the Fair Labor Commission or the Department of Labor. I may end up in federal court. I hope there’s no RICO crime involved.

I suppose that is what I get for following the French example of giving a month’s vacation. Should I email them with the painful news? Should I wait until they come back?  So much for a relaxing summer.

4 thoughts on “Labor Woes:

  1. On the morning of their return, announce to all (in the presence of outside counsel and other witnesses) your intention to close down the company immediately, following all related legal requirements assiduously.

    Go independent (or take a long cruise) for a while, then resume in a few months if you like. Just deserts for the spoiled…

  2. Hello Matt, I have a solution to your staff money problems. How about checking your game room and using up some of that “Monopoly Money” I’m sure your staff will appreciate the effort and maybe purchase the bank or two.

  3. Hi Matt,
    Very interesting scenario. I have to admit that I am confused as to who, or what, is the ultimate target of this post.
    French labor/cultural practices?
    Employees that make assumptions and misuse email?
    Frivolous labor litigation and the misapplication of the RICO statute?

    One observation…..email is a legal record, as you know, and I do not see where you gave any type of answer, consent, or even acknowledgement (verbal, written, or electronic) at all, to Luluisiana, in response to her request.
    People usually hear what they want to hear,…and in extreme hypothetical cases like this…..even if there is silence. Messages usually get filtered, diluted, and changed as the get passed along, but in this case they made up the answer they wanted to hear.
    I don’t see how these pipe-dreamers would have a leg to stand on.

  4. ugh!

    Quincy lawyer says client can ID man in Gardner video

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/08/10/quincy-attorney-says-client-has-identified-man-gardner-museum-video/F51Idh65S4zw1TReDsMlSO/story.html

    AUGUST 10, 2015
    A Quincy attorney said Monday that he has alerted federal authorities that one of his clients believes he knows the man who was at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum one night before thieves robbed the museum of $500 million in paintings in 1990.

    George G. Burke said the client recognized the man shown in the surveillance video from March 17, 1990, one day before two men dressed as Boston police officers entered the museum, tied up the guards, and stole 13 masterworks, including

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