Tag Archives: eboss watch blog

New eBossWatch Blog

We at eBossWatch are happy to announce the launch of our redesigned news blog at http://blog.ebosswatch.com.

More great bosses

After releasing the eBossWatch Best Bosses of 2009 list last month, we received feedback from many people praising their own managers.  We’d like to honor and feature some of these great bosses.  This is how their employees describe them:

■ Robert Stack is the founder, president and CEO of Community Options.  Community Options is a national nonprofit organization that develops small, community-based homes and innovative employment opportunities for people with disabilities and has been doing so for over twenty years.  Notably, this has been a tough year for everyone but for some reason, Robert has persevered and has taken us all along with him.  With a workforce of over 2,500 people in 32 cities throughout 9 states, Robert has inspired his staff to open more homes, take more people with disabilities out of institutions and provide more employment opportunities all at the same time.  When the economy got rough, Robert became more innovative.  Robert has not made one layoff during the recession but instead has invested in more training and appropriate resources for our existing and new workforce.  Robert is a complete inspiration and it would be so nice to profile someone who is running a true business with a social purpose that is changing the lives of so many people across the country.
 
■ On 4/10/2009, Erickson Publishing, LLC ceased operations, letting go a team of 14 incredibly talented people (I include myself in that number, not so sure I should include myself in the talented part).   We were all devastated because we all truly loved our job.  We produced a women’s magazine called BRAVA, that had been part of the viewing community for 7 years as well as the producer of the Madison Women’s Expo – a tradition of 200 exhibitors, celebrities and approximately 8,000 mostly female attendees.
 
Not to give up our determination for jobs we loved, a group of employees gathered together the following Monday to discuss a strategy to keep our jobs either by creating a new magazine or finding an investor passionate in bringing this back.
 
It was a long drawn out summer of meeting with potential investors and we struggled to keep our team intact in a horrible economy not exactly forgiving to the print media some taking leaps by not accepting positions doing other things.
 
Brad Zaugg, a veteran of the publishing industry of 16 years, met with our team and through painful negotiations and struggles, he started Brava Enterprises, brought the magazine back to life (bigger and better with more creative flow) and the Madison Women’s Expo (11th annual!) just took place in November.  I couldn’t ask for a better team lead by this man who would humbly say he didn’t do anything special.  But he saved all of our jobs and our love for it.  Not to mention he is the only man on our team – poor guy!
 
He deserves kudos.
 
■ I work for a start up that’s looking to change the face of youth sports. Our first initiative are the High School Rudy Awards.  The founder of the company, John Ballantine – is remarkable.  He has put together a team that is working to each of their strengths.  We’re encouraged to write our own job descriptions and to adapt them if they need changing, or if they don’t pander to our strengths.  He is consistently trying to uncover untapped strengths within each of us and wants us to ‘build our own brand’ which means to put ourselves out there in the community and press and reach out in any way we see fit.  I worked in the film industry for 20 years and have never had the level of support or encouragement I receive from John.  It makes you try harder, shoot for the moon and then some.
 
I’ve been laid low with the flu over the holidays.  He has repeatedly asked what he can do for me, do I need anything, can he go to the store and bring me groceries… and when I was being a stubborn pain in the ass and got worse, he offered to take me to the doctor.  Truly – how many bosses out there would even think of doing that?  What a gift this man is in my career.
 
■ I work for an online English learning company called TalktoCanada.com.  We’ve taught people in more than 80 different countries, and currently have a staff of just of 20 teachers.
 
I would like to nominate my boss, Marc Anderson, as the best boss of 2009.  Working online is a different concept than working face to face with your colleagues and especially with your boss.  My “relationship” with Marc has only been via the internet and the telephone these past 2 years that I have been working with him, but our relationship is no less real.
 
I am a Canadian living in Uruguay — so daily communication with Marc (who is in Ottawa) happens over a 10,000km distance.  I think it is awesome that he trusts someone as much as he trusts me since he has never “met” me and the distance factor is sometime a little overwhelming.
 
I have been working as the Programs Manager (doing everything) for the past year – and I can confirm that Marc is the BEST boss of 2009 not only because of his willingness to trust and give people opportunities and chances, but also because he is a really kind and funny person to work with.
 
I look forward every morning to waking up at 2am (because of the different timezones that we work in) to chatting with him and working through the different projects at hand.
 
■ I have the best bosses ever.  I have been with Choyce Peterson, Inc. for ten years now and have never worked for nicer people in my entire career (25 years).  Mr. Alan R. Peterson and Mr. John P. Hannigan are both very considerate, humorous and caring gentlemen.
 
As examples, Secretary’s Day is a big celebration.  I am always presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in the morning which is then followed by a wonderful lunch at a nearby Greenwich, CT restaurant.  My birthday is never forgotten – again, another celebration with a cake and singing and laughter.  For the holidays, we enjoy a company dinner with Kris Kringles.  Each one of us picks a name out of a hat and we buy gag gifts and roast each staff member during the course of a lovely dinner.  Fun is had by all.
 
They are both very family oriented — family always comes first and are understanding and thoughtful of family needs.  Charities are well remembered throughout the year not only during the holidays.  They encourage and support charity marathons and walks with which the staff are involved.  Every evening before I leave for the day, they always thank me for the day’s work.  They make work fun with their humor and sometimes pranks.
 
It’s simply a pleasure to come to work each and every day.  I am truly blessed.

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Department of Interior pays employee $150,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

In September 2009, the Department of Interior was ordered to pay a Federal employee $149,459 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a Department of Interior employee named Celeste Gray who claimed that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor for over two years.

Gray alleged that her supervisor “rubbed her shoulders, called her into his office to pick up trash off the floor in front of his desk, put a bottle of oil on her desk for her hair; told her that there was ‘nothing he did not know about a woman’s body.'”

Gray’s allegations were supported by two coworkers, who testified that their boss had asked another employee what kind of bra she had one and would look at the breasts of a female coworker and say, “Oh, I see the girls this morning.”

Gray suffered serious psychological damages as a result of the sexual harassment that she endured.  She suffered from hypertension, headaches, sleep disorder, depression, anxiety, nightmares, low self-esteem, excessive drinking, and alienation from family members.

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Got a tip about a bad boss that eBossWatch should feature?  Do you want to expose your toxic boss?  Let us know!  Send us an email at tips@ebosswatch.com 

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Boss’s Tip of the Week #2: Meetings: How to get things done (without wasting time)

Here is the second installment of the Boss’s Tip of the Week.  This advice column for managers is brought to you by Bob Rosner and Allan Halcrow, co-authors of The Boss’s Survival Guide.

Imagine what would happen if operations in an air traffic control tower were like the average corporate meeting: People speaking over one another and interrupting, random outbursts that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, some participants texting while others sleep, no clear assignment of responsibility and no follow-up. Scary, isn’t it?
 
Most meetings are pretty scary, too: Black holes that absorb huge amounts of time and accomplish very little (if anything). But just because there aren’t jumbo jets full of passengers at stake doesn’t mean we can’t still run meetings with the efficiency of an air traffic control operation.  
 
Start with a good reason to call a meeting in the first place. And no, an excuse to eat doughnuts is not one of them. But these are:
 
*Effective communication. When you need people to really understand something (a change in the company’s strategic direction, a new threat from your competition, a reorganization), a meeting ensures that everyone hears the same thing at the same time, and you can better judge the response.
*Shared expertise. Except in Congress, two heads (or more) are generally better than one. So when you face especially daunting challenges, getting people with different expertise and perspectives together to address the problem is a smart use of resources.
*Consensus. The search for consensus has been overdone: You do not need everyone to weigh in on what kind of paper to put in the copier. But you may need consensus on whether to launch a new product. If so, a meeting can be the most efficient way to get there.
*Productivity. When you hit a roadblock, you can let all work come to a halt to allow for a lot of finger-pointing and hand-wringing. Or you can bring people together to identify the problems and find solutions.

Whichever of these is your goal, know and communicate that to everyone involved. And do yourself (and everyone’s rear end) a favor and don’t try to accomplish all these things in the same meeting. 

Real Life Example
 
Teresa Taylor, chief operating officer of Qwest, starts every meeting by asking, “Do we all know why we’re here?” Taylor told the New York Times that often people don’t know why they are there – they were invited and so they showed up. If there are eight people in the room, they may have eight ideas about why they have been included. Taylor also asks, “Are we making decisions? Are you going to ask me for something at the end?”
 
Once the group has decided what they’re doing she asks again if everyone needs to be present – and sometimes people excuse themselves.  Taylor concedes the discussion can eat 10 minutes of time, but she says the investment is well worth it.
 
We’ll have more meeting tips in future columns.

Dave’s Supermarket sued by EEOC for sexual harassment

Last September, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Cleveland-based Dave’s Supermarket, accusing a meat department manager of repeatedly sexually harassing female employees and accusing upper management of knowing about the bullying and not taking steps to prevent it.

The EEOC claims that Dave’s Supermarket manager Jugo Vidic subjected female employees to a hostile work environment permeated with sexual harassment that included making repeated, unwanted sexual advances on female employees as well as exposing himself to his female coworkers.

Dave’s Supermarket Chairman Burt Saltzman said, “We don’t think there’s any merit to (the lawsuit), and it’s under investigation.”  Saltzman also said that Vidic still works at the store.

Dave’s is a Cleveland-based grocery store chain which operates 13 stores in Northern Ohio, employing more that 1,500 employees.

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Got a tip about a bad boss that eBossWatch should feature?  Do you want to expose your toxic boss?  Let us know!  Send us an email at tips@ebosswatch.com 

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EEOC sues Dollar General for sexual harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Dolgencorp, LLC, doing business as Dollar General, in September 2009 for subjecting a number of female employees to a sexually hostile work environment at two North Carolina stores.

The EEOC lawsuit states that a male Dollar General store manager sexually harassed several female employees by making crude and offensive sexual comments, by requesting sex from the women, and by touching their breasts and buttocks.

According to the lawsuit, the women complained about the sexual harassment to Dollar General company managers, but the harassment did not stop.  One of the women quit her job in order to escape the workplace bullying.

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Got a tip about a bad boss that eBossWatch should feature?  Do you want to expose your toxic boss?  Let us know!  Send us an email at tips@ebosswatch.com 

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Professors sue and demand ouster of Edison College president

Trouble seems to be brewing for Kenneth Yowell, president of Edison Community College in Piqua, Ohio, who has drawn criticism from a number of Edison professors. 

Charles Quincy Essinger, a former adjunct professor filed a lawsuit against Yowell and the college for allegedly unlawfully firing him in retaliation for videotaping a board meeting in April 2009 in which the faculty held a no-confidence vote in Yowell.  Essinger also accuses Yowell of writing an email in July that attacked his character and competence.

Stephen Marlowe, an Edison professor whose recent contract-violating layoff outraged faculty members, has been reinstated by the college after his union agreed to drop all of its formal grievances against Yowell and the college. Despite the victory, Marlowe and local union leaders continue to express their dissatisfaction with the leadership of Kenneth Yowell.

Marlowe and a number of other faculty leaders believe that he was laid off because of his recent public criticism of Yowell, both in his involvement with a no-confidence vote in Yowell and as the editor of the local union news blog.

In reacting to his reinstatement, Marlowe said, “We won the battle but not the war. My termination was the last in a series of really heavy handed missteps in leadership. My case was symbolic of what many people have suffered for the last 20 years of (Yowell’s) leadership. The only reasonable outcome of this situation is that (Yowell) retire.”

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Got a tip about a bad boss that eBossWatch should feature?  Do you want to expose your toxic boss?  Let us know!  Send us an email at tips@ebosswatch.com 

Rate your boss at eBossWatch

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