Employment Law Attorneys
Three Reasons Why You Should Not Accept Severance Pay

Three Reasons Why You Should Not Accept Severance Pay

We all have made decisions we regret later on at some point in our lives,  especially related to our work.  Here are three very good reasons why accepting a severance pay may not be in your best interest.

Reason 1: Confidentiality Clauses and Clawbacks

You were just presented with a severance package but you hold the brass ring of all time employment war stories there is. You plan on exposing your employer and you are extremely agitated.  Without a doubt, you think you have the greatest case in the world. Then you discover the severance agreement contains an iron-clad confidentiality clause that will prohibit you, your wife, your children and your parents, from ever telling your big story about a colossal corporate wrongdoing. If you accept the confidentiality clause and later breach the provision through disclosure, you risk the company taking back all of the severance pay and getting sued by the company.  At this point, the severance pay must outweigh the potential monetary value of public exposure and your credibility as a new whistleblower. But your career may take a dive. This is the classic catch-22 I see all too often.  You may not want to accept the severance agreement if the future monetary reward is great.

Reason 2: Non-competition and Non-solicitation Clauses

Remember that document you signed when you were on-boarded and were not really sure why you were checking the electronic box? Yes, that one. The non-competition and non-solicitation agreement you never intended to enter into. Now, upon separation, your employer hands you the severance agreement and you see an acknowledgment provision relating to the old non-competition and non-solicitation agreement.  In the alternative, the non-competition and non-solicitation agreement is presented in the severance agreement and you never had one while working for the company.  It gets worse, you were just offered a higher paying position with a competitive company which also does business with the employer (yes this does happen) or the new employer is both the competitor and the former customer/vendor).  In either example, you want to accept the severance pay because it is modestly reasonable, let’s say $75,000-$100,000.  But your new offer pays a salary of three times the severance amount and several years of employment.  Obviously, you may want to decline the severance if this the first time you have been presented with a non-compete and non-solicitation provision, as the future salary far outweighs the severance being offered. You may want to ask the new employer to offer a sign-on bonus in exchange for the leave behind pay (severance and bonus).  But what do you do if the non-competition and non-solicitation agreement was signed back on your first day of work? In this case, signing a severance agreement acknowledging the original non-compete only makes matters worse. You are stuck with the restrictive covenants.

You may need to challenge the enforceability of the original agreement by declaring it void for lack of consideration (you did not intend to enter into it).  We do this all the time but there are risks associated with moving forward with employer number two, mainly having an injunction filed against you.  Again, the future salary will dictate your choice here and hopefully, your new employer will financially support your choice to compete.

Reason 3: Severance Amount Is Too Low

Let’s assume you have worked for the employer for ten years before being offered a severance package.  When you open the agreement, the severance amount is small. You discover the confidentiality clause and the restrictive covenant provisions mentioned above.  You conclude the severance is just too small in comparison to the loss of future economic value of not working in your industry.  You can decline the severance and sleep well at night knowing you can remain in your chosen field of work.  In the alternative, you can hire an employment attorney to scope out any and all possible legal claims to leverage on your employer to get a higher severance amount.  This is what we do every day.

If you’ve been terminated by your employer and offered a severance agreement, let the employment lawyers at Carey & Associates, P.C. help you evaluate the pros and cons of signing the agreement.

Get in touch today!

 

Controlling the Psychology of Working to Your Advantage

Controlling the Psychology of Working to Your Advantage

No one discusses the psychology of work and the enormous role it plays in your everyday life.  I have researched and watched this issue for more than twenty years, from discrimination bias to contract negotiation.  I comb through client fact patterns looking for every psychological angle emanating from all the cast of characters in order to position the client to achieve success or to resolve a dispute.

Why aren’t you doing this?

The Psychology of Your Manager

I know you think you know your manager, but I doubt you really know how your manager thinks and what motivates them. Psychology plays a direct and important role in such things as how your manager makes decisions regarding what jobs or tasks to assign employees and your career advancement.   Managers evaluate employee strengths and weaknesses, i.e. perceived psychology, and selectively assign tasks.  Employees are also chosen to advance based on their perceived psychology about whether they will be effective in handling the responsibilities of the new position.

If you are blind to the role of psychological analysis, get your head out of the sand and in the game!

Think of your job like a chess or strategy game, you need to consider every conceivable variable that will impact your chosen goals, both positively and negatively.  If you are not evaluating your opponent, i.e. your boss or coworker, you will not advance in your current position or your career.  I am not asking you to confront your boss with your new found psychological intelligence, keep it to yourself and use it to guide you when making critical decisions to your benefit. Successful employees and executives do this every day.

Here is what to look for when evaluating your boss’s psychology in order to gain an advantage:

(1) Evaluate facial and body cues that may show a degree of nervousness or over aggressive micromanaging (polar opposites), facial and body cues are one of the most important signals to read when assessing your opponent.

(2) Examine the person’s prior work conduct toward yourself and other employees and the reaction those individuals had in relation to the decision being made. Was there a consistent logic flow or arbitrary selection decision making process without basis?

(3) Go beyond the email language and check if the person really intended what was stated, email can be misleading.

(4) Examine the individuals the person promotes and if they are a logical fit or the result of office favoritism and worse, discrimination.

(5) Examine the potential for personal issues being brought to the office and determine if they are playing a role in the person’s work life.

This list is by no means exhaustive of the possible variables impacting your opponent’s decision making.

The Psychology of Your Coworkers and Yourself

When you arrive at work, you walk into an office workspace filled with a multitude of personal psychologies.  There is no control other than the corporate mind speak dished out by the company or what you believe the proper protocol to acting professional is.  There is no discussion about how to manage yourself or others while at work. Sure, there are rules regarding behavior, but in reality, employees are thrown into the workplace and are just expected to know how to act and react moment by moment.

Short of being fired for poor misconduct, how do you navigate the psychological warfare of the office?

The solution is to become aware or mindful of your interactions with co-workers, including supervisors, especially when you are having a bad day.  Take a week and just observe the behaviors of others but don’t be reactive, just observe.  While you’re observing various office behavior, listen to your inner voice, you know the voice that is talking inside your head right now as you read this.  The more you become aware of this inner voice, the more self-control you will have during moments you need it most.  That inner voice is the reactive brain and not your conscious brain, it just keeps on talking at you over and over all day long.  Listen to your conscious brain, the one you make decisions with and the one you use to learn new information. Notice that the conscious brain does not ramble on at you, it is more concise and logical, not dramatic and overblown.

Another method of handling the office psychology is to observe the expectations you set for yourself and others. Stop working from those expectations and focus on the current issue you are experiencing.  Your own expectations may be causing the problem you may be experiencing but you just don’t know it.  We pre-imagine how events in our work life should result, but we never really think about how we created those expectations in the first place. When the crap hits the fan and our expectations are dashed, we tend to blame ourselves or others in a knee-jerk reaction.  We never stop to think about our own thought processes, we just accepted what our mind (inner voice vs. conscious mind) said to us.

As employment attorneys, we confront the end product of psychology in the workplace and are requested to find solutions.

 

For more information, please contact Mark Carey.

NY Times The Daily: The Rampant Problem of Pregnancy Discrimination, Part 2

NY Times The Daily: The Rampant Problem of Pregnancy Discrimination, Part 2

Many women are passed over for promotions and raises when they become pregnant. Part 2 of this series examines the subtle sidelining of pregnant women and mothers in corporate America. Guests: Natalie Kitroeff, who covers the economy for The New York Times, and Erin Murphy, who alleges that she was denied opportunities by her employer, Glencore, once she became a mother. For more information on today’s episode.

The issue of pregnancy discrimination at work will not go away…unless you raise your voice and stop remaining silent.  Erin Murphy chose to speak out.  We should all speak out and end this devastating form of discrimination. We all came from someone.  Would you treat your mother like Erin Murphy was treated by Glencore.

To read Erin Murphy’s June 18, 2018 federal complaint against her current employer Glencore click here Murphy Complaint As Filed 6.18.18

If you need help with your employer because you are experiencing pregnancy discrimination, contact us.

There’s An Epidemic of Discrimination Against Pregnant Women at Work (NY Times 6.17.18)

There’s An Epidemic of Discrimination Against Pregnant Women at Work (NY Times 6.17.18)

On Sunday June 17, 2018 the New York Times posted an article, There’s An Epidemic of Discrimination Against Pregnant Women at Work involving a case attorneys Jill Saluck and Mark Carey are working on.

The article reported “Throughout the American workplace, pregnancy discrimination remains widespread. It can start as soon as a woman is showing, and it often lasts through her early years as a mother… Many of the country’s largest and most prestigious companies still systematically sideline pregnant women. They pass them over for promotions and raises. They fire them when they complain…In corporate office towers, the discrimination tends to be more subtle. Pregnant women and mothers are often perceived as less committed, steered away from prestigious assignments, excluded from client meetings and slighted at bonus season.”

The NY Times article explored Erin Murphy’s willful pregnancy and sex discrimination case against her current employer Glencore:

“As a senior woman at Glencore, the world’s largest commodity trading company, Erin Murphy is a rarity. She earns a six-figure salary plus a bonus coordinating the movement of the oil that Glencore buys and sells. Most of the traders whom she works with are men.

The few women at the company have endured a steady stream of sexist comments, according to Ms. Murphy. Her account of Glencore’s culture was verified by two employees, one of whom recently left the company. They requested anonymity because they feared retaliation.

On the company’s trading floor, men bantered about groping the Queen of England’s genitals. As Glencore was preparing to relocate from Connecticut to New York last February, the traders — including Ms. Murphy’s boss, Guy Freshwater — openly discussed how much “hot ass” there would be at the gym near the new office.

In 2013, a year after Ms. Murphy arrived, Mr. Freshwater described her in a performance review as “one of the hardest working” colleagues. In a performance review the next year, he called her a “strong leader” who is “diligent, conscientious and determined.”

But when Ms. Murphy told Mr. Freshwater she was pregnant with her first child, he told her it would “definitely plateau” her career, she said in the affidavit. In 2016, she got pregnant with her second child. One afternoon, Mr. Freshwater announced to the trading floor that the most-read article on the BBC’s website was about pregnancy altering women’s brains. Ms. Murphy, clearly showing, was the only pregnant woman there. “It was like they assumed my brain had totally changed overnight,” Ms. Murphy, 41, said in an interview. “I was seen as having no more potential.”

When she was eight months pregnant, she discussed potential future career moves with Mr. Freshwater. According to her, Mr. Freshwater responded, “You’re old and having babies so there’s nowhere for you to go.” A Glencore spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Freshwater’s behalf. After she came back from four months of maternity leave, she organized her life so that having children wouldn’t interfere with her career. She arranged for child care starting at 7 a.m. so she would never be late. But as her co-workers were promoted, her bosses passed her over and her bonuses barely rose, Ms. Murphy said.

When there was an opening to be the head of her department, Ms. Murphy said she never got a chance to apply. The job instead went to a less experienced man. Ms. Murphy said an executive involved in the selection process had previously asked repeatedly whether she had adequate child care.

Ms. Murphy said that after she missed out on another job, the same Glencore executive told her it was because of the timing of her maternity leave. Ms. Murphy has retained a lawyer and is planning to file a lawsuit against Glencore.”

In response to the NY Times article Attorney Jill Saluck commented, “Sometimes a pregnant employee will be subject to blatantly discriminatory remarks by her employer, indicating a clear bias against pregnant workers. But more often, pregnancy discrimination is much more insidious. Often after pregnancy, a woman’s career will suddenly and inexplicably plateau.  Her non-pregnant coworkers will receive raises and promotions, but despite her consistent hard work, she will not be afforded the same opportunities. If this is happening to you at work, chances are that you’re not the only employee that has been subject to this type of discriminatory treatment. Pregnancy discrimination is not just unfair, its illegal, and employers must be called out for derailing the careers of pregnant employees.”

In the case reported in the NY Times article, Erin Murphy v. Glencore, Ms. Murphy filed her legal action in the District of Connecticut on June 18, 2018 (Erin Murphy v. Glencore, Ltd, 3:18-CV-1027 D.Conn). The case will proceed to a jury trial and we expect the jury to send a strong message to the company that pregnancy discrimination will not be tolerated and punished severely.

If you need assistance with your pregnancy discrimination issues at work, please do not hesitate to contact us.

A Few Very Good Reasons Why You Can’t Trust Your Employer

A Few Very Good Reasons Why You Can’t Trust Your Employer

We all build relationships based on trust.  Some relationships require more trust than others. For example, marriage, medical professionals and hiring lawyers.  We all take the time to explore whether these relationships are the right fit for us.  We even memorialize these important, sometimes life-changing, relationships with contractual agreements.  But when it comes to the relationship with your employer, you might as well start hand feeding piranhas.

Meet Your Antagonist: Your Employer

An antagonist is someone who actively opposes or is hostile to another; an adversary.  Does this describe your current or former employer? In my role as the employment attorney, I do not hear very many people say they trust their employers. In fact, the opposite is true.  According to a Harvard Business Review article, “In both your personal life and your work life, you’re bound to encounter people who take advantage of you, and these painful experiences can make you cynical.”

You have several reasons to be cynical about your employment relationship.  Your employer is not interested in whether you are happy at work, fulfilled in your career aspirations, concerned about your personal responsibilities at work or anything remotely realistic to a nurturing relationship.  In fact many employees have a low level of trust in their employers.  The 2016 Trust Barometer report from Edelman revealed that a third of employees do not trust their employers. Employees reported a lack of engagement, short term profit seeking, lack of belief in the company mission, poor product quality, unethical behavior, bad corporate reputation, invisible CEOs and lack of corporate communication to employees.

At-will Employment is Bad for You

When you are employed at-will, as most of you are, you might as well be on a first date for the next several years.  You would think that after knowing your employer for three or more years, you’d just settle down and get engaged to be married. However this is not so.  Unless you have a coveted and rare employment contract with a “for cause” termination provision, your employer can bounce you with little or no notice.  Many of you have felt this scorned feeling from prior jobs.  So where is the trust in the at-will workplace if you can never predict your future with a reasonable certainty on a day-to-day basis? There is none.  Ouch!

Somehow, we have just grown accustomed to this dysfunctional at-will relationship and let employers manipulate us with unenforced corporate codes of conduct, lofty corporate double speak and fear.

Management by Fear Does Not Create Trust

The most common corporate management practice today is to maintain a consistent level of passive-aggressive practices which propagate employee fear and insecurity. From my vantage point, I see a persistent pattern by employers accusing employees of subjective performance issues while their objective performance criteria are “meets” or “exceeds expectation”.  Employers use performance management techniques such as performance improvement plans and coaching to force out undesirable employees.  No one ever remains long after being managed this way. I also see cases of overt ruthless conduct, where a supervisor discriminates against pregnant employees as having “baby brain.” Saying things like, “I don’t want another woman working on the desk” or “If you’re being honest with yourself, do you really think you could do this job?”  And the comments get even worse. “I don’t want to hear any complaining from you, you and [spouse] did this to yourselves.” Only a supervisor with intentions to rid themselves of pregnant employees will make discriminatory statements like this to push the employee to quit out of fear of reprisal.

Discrimination Does Not Create Trust

The absence of trust becomes more noticeable when employees experience discrimination in the workplace or need to take time off due to health issues affecting themselves or a family member.  For these employees, their career with their particular employer has taken an abrupt turn for the worse.

For example, you become pregnant while employed and take a maternity/paternity leave under company policy and FMLA.  When you return, your job duties have changed and so has the person you reported to.  Pregnancy discrimination is one of the most perverse examples of a lack of trust an employee can encounter.  The employer has a maternity leave policy and you take a leave under said policy with no resistance.  However, upon returning to work you face pregnancy discrimination when your employment is terminated.  The employer will jump at an opportunity to replace you rather than reinstate you.  We would all agree, this is not an ideal trust building experience at any company, yet pregnancy discrimination continues to persist.

If you complain to your employer about issues of discrimination or whistle blowing, you will immediately cause your employer not to trust you.  You have a legal and moral right to complain about these issues, but do not expect reciprocation from your employer.  You just threw yourself off or under the company bus.  This equals your spouse cheating on you and then pointing the finger at you as the cause for why they had the affair.  Your employer’s Human Resources Department will not help you when you are down and have complaints about coworkers or your supervisor.  I am sure the folks in HR are nice people, but their “job” is to protect the employer, not you! Don’t make the mistake in confiding with human resource personnel, unless absolutely necessary to build a case for retaliation.

Arbitration and Noncompete Agreements Don’t Create Trust

Arbitration and non-competition agreements and employer trust are like oil and water with a sprinkling of gasoline for added flare.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s further endorsement of employer arbitration agreements cemented in stone the future of employee litigation and the permanent role of arbitration in your career. Listen, don’t be fooled, arbitration agreements are bad for you, your rights, your claims, the economy and are only good for employers.  Noncompetition agreements are even a better example of a lack of employer trust.  When your employer is finished with you and terminates your employment, they sink a big fishing hook in you and reel you back in at their whim each time you land a new position.  The employer cries foul, complaining you are single handedly destroying the company via working for the competitor.  These two forms of employment agreements represent the worst in every company that mandates them.  An arbitration agreement is a tool to conceal bad corporate acts from employment attorneys like myself and non-competition agreements are used to threaten competitive employers in the market place.

Rise Up and Demand More Trust

It is time to call an end to bad corporate practices- the deceit, the greed, the lies and the double speak.  Employees should demand more from their employers.  Rise up and unite together and tell your employer you would trust them only if they demonstrated trust to you first.  Trust begets trust.

Have questions or think you’ve been discriminated against at work? Let our employment law attorney’s help you get justice.  Get in touch today!

New York Times Article Mentions Mark Carey: “Bridgewater’s Ray Delio Spreads His Gospel of ‘Radical Transparency'”

New York Times Article Mentions Mark Carey: “Bridgewater’s Ray Delio Spreads His Gospel of ‘Radical Transparency'”

[Picture Attributed to the NYTimes]

On Sunday, September 10, 2017, the New York Times published an article captioned as “Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Spreads His Gospel of ‘Radical Transparency'”.  The article purports to be a fuller examination of Dalio’s social experiment at Bridgewater Associates in comparison to similar articles by the New York Times.  The above article appears on the eve of his September 19, 2017 publication of Principles: Life & Work.  In the article, I was quoted as stating, “[t]his whole transparency and truth-seeking thing is juxtaposed with the fact that they intentionally secretize all interactions with employees from public view.”

I enjoy taking issue with Dalio’s principles and the adverse personal impact they have had on employees at Bridgewater Associates.  From my vantage point, I can see exactly what takes place inside the organization, including the fallout from poor, arbitrary, discriminatory and self-minded management decisions. Yes, Bridgewater is transparent to …an employment attorney like myself.

Can’t Get In Synch- Your Fired!

Frankly, I cannot take Principles seriously given the ample contradictory evidence I have seen. For example, Principle 20 is titled “Constantly Get In Synch”.  I have repeatedly read accounts that this principle is used to throw other employees under the bus.  Employees are too quick to hear the other side and grade others as “not getting in synch”, resulting in a negative score in their personnel file.  Under the same umbrella, Principle 26 states “recognize that conflicts are essential for great relationships because they are the means by which people determine whether their principles are aligned and resolve their differences.”  I have seen cases where Bridgewater has used this principle to deter employees from making legitimate discriminatory complaints regarding their own employment, only to be terminated shortly thereafter.  I have seen legitimate discrimination cases where Bridgewater took no action to resolve them internally before the conflict erupted into a legal dispute, or maybe that was the intended result.  This result conflicts with Principle 25 which states “Recognize that getting in synch is a two-way responsibility”.  I have only seen employees who have felt the brunt of the one-way communication policy that exists at Bridgewater, which becomes even narrower when employees escalate to management when they “can’t get in synch”. Principle 36 states “If you can’t understand or reconcile points of view with someone else, agree on a third party to provide guidance. This person could be your manager or another agreed-upon, believable person or group who can resolve the conflict objectively, fairly, and sensibly. This mechanism is a key element of our culture and crucial for maintaining a meritocracy of ideas.”  Honestly, the only objective and believable person in the conflicts brought to my attention was ….well me!  If your manager is discriminating against you, please don’t believe that management at Bridgewater will take your side.  You will be tossed to the curb without notice under the accusation that your refused to “cross-over” to the other side or you weren’t a “believable” person.

Trust in Truth is Misinformation

 “Trust in Truth” is the number one principle at Bridgewater, but nothing could be further from the truth. Dalio states “being truthful, and letting others be truthful with you, allows you to explore your own thoughts and exposes you to the feedback that is essential for your learning” (Principle 2) and “openness leads to truth and trust.” (Principle 4).  If these three laudable values are uniformly and consistently followed by the company, then the following practices violate all of them.  Bridgewater uses confidentiality and arbitration agreements to quell anyone from expressing the truth about what internally occurs at this company.  Any employee leaving the company for any reason is forced to sign a one-sided settlement agreement that contains a confidentiality provision.  The company demands such confidentiality in exchange for severance pay, settlement money, releases from noncompetition agreements or to receive profit sharing payments, no different than any other company.   Dalio and the company should be openly transparent with the public about internal employee complaints, not shield them forever in confidential settlement agreements and in private arbitration filings. This is especially true when Bridgewater is the fiduciary of public funds.  How can “we” the public trust in Dalio’s truth when “we” are not being given the full weight of the evidence to decide for ourselves; we can’t and we are not in synch!  More important, how can “we” confirm that employee feedback was taken seriously and the company learned from its own mistakes? As long as there is no openness, there is no trust among “we the people”.

Paying Employees Not to Compete is Better Than Suing Them

If your employer paid you not to compete against it instead of suing you, that would be a good deal?  I was reading an article  recently which contained a comment reflecting a very different approach to noncompetition agreements, as discussed below.

Noncompetition Agreements Don’t Work

I do not like noncompetition agreements at all, given the wide ranging economic problems these agreements cause.  On a macroeconomic level, noncompete agreements stifle economic development in large areas of the country, Massachusetts/Connecticut vs. Silicon Valley.  California banned noncompete agreements years ago and many economists argue this was the foundation for the growth of Silicon Valley we know today.  On an individual basis, these agreements wreak havoc on career development and household income.  Employees feel powerless to fight and preserve their financial future.

I routinely handle executive compensation and employment agreements for clients.  At the top end (President and CEO), I have negotiated noncompetition pay in addition to lengthy severance pay.  At the mid-level and below, I see only paid severance and the noncompete is a tag along without any additional compensation.  I also proactively litigate against the enforcement of noncompetition agreements, suing employers first for declaratory relief and forcing employers to defend arbitrarily implemented agreements.  We have been very successful in freeing clients from these one-sided arcane agreements.

A New Approach – Pay Employees to Stay

The above article captured my attention because the owner of one of the businesses cited in the article paid his employees to stay instead of spending thousands to fight to enforce the noncompetition agreement for the two departing employees. While two employees may have left, twelve remaining employees received pay raises.  This is a huge break from the typical knee jerk reaction most employers follow by sending nasty cease and desist letters and filing injunctive relief actions in court.  When employers force employees to sign noncompetition agreements, employees feel powerless, boxed in and have a low affinity for their employers.  The owner above placed the interests of the employees first before his own business interests, thus creating a stronger connection between employee and employer, and decreased the likelihood his employees would be lured away by competing companies.  More companies should consider this new approach and reject the stale and narrow-minded advice from employment defense firms to attack departing employees who violate noncompetition agreements they never agreed to in the first place.  An open workforce is better for the company, the employees who work there and for the economy at large.

What Do Honey Bees and Bridgewater Associates Have in Common?

What Do Honey Bees and Bridgewater Associates Have in Common?

If you believe in the natural order of things in the environment, nature will take care of itself all on its own.   When mankind introduces unnatural externalities into the orderly flow of evolution, fundamental changes develop that alter the natural order in nature.  Take honey bees and Bridgewater Associates for example, each have been infected with a chemical or unnatural pathogen that is slowing destroying them; don’t mess with Mother Nature.

Honey Bees and Neonicotinoids

I raise honey bees at my home, caring for about 10 hives each year. Bees are a bewildering microcosm of chaos but in reality they are a highly efficient hierarchical system of organized labor supporting their beloved queen bee.  Honey bees function just fine left alone. They will raise their brood into worker and drone bees.  In this culture the females run the show and everything turns out sweet as honey. By the way Drone (male) bees serve only one limited purpose, to help the queen produce more bees.  There is no talking, complaining or rating systems among the employees, just a system of chemical pheromones and directional dances that make the hive hum and maintain an adequate balance sheet of honey food stores which my neighbors and I enjoy. Honey bees are born with a coded instinct to get along, just like employees (i.e. the golden rule).  Then enters MAN, who seeks to disrupt the natural order of bees with a new language and culture. To yield more crop production and make lawns green as the emerald isle of Ireland, man introduces chemicals that interfere with the language, culture and natural order of bees.  Please stop using pesticides on your lawn. Not only are pesticides slowing killing you, they are deadly to honey bees and other pollinators. No bees, no food, no you!  Learn a new vocabulary word- Neonicotinoids. Connecticut and the European Union is moving to completely ban this epidemic use of the chemical, which has been proven to cause colony collapse in bees.  I can personally attest that Neonicotinoids kill bees, I lost 20-30 hives in the past three years because my fellow citizens treat their lawns with this chemical.  I hope for a better future and continue to raise bees.

“Principles” Are Not Working at Bridgewater Associates

Then there is Bridgewater Associates, located less than three miles from my office. I am not saying the company ever used pesticides on employees, but maybe they used a psychosocial pathogen to infect their culture, aka “The Principles”.  The company and its founder have introduced an unnatural externality into the work place previously never seen in the working world.  With the introduction of a new language and culture, which I comically refer to as “Newspeak”*, the company’s founder Ray seeks to re-order the natural order of human interaction at work- impacting 1500 employees at its’ two campuses in Westport, Connecticut. The company’s Newspeak presumes we are weak and dysfunctional and we need to be fixed. Bridgewater Associate employees must reconcile themselves with the founder and leader “Ray”, who is on a self-promotional advertising campaign these days to compel future disciples to follow him on his legacy, to buy into the Principles.  When you force employees to hold ipads and rate one another during every human interaction (only the negatives and not the positives) something seems strangely unnatural. The employees must follow Ray because they have no choice. Either follow or exit the hive after two years or less with significant handcuffs related to confidentiality and noncompetition.  Employees are people, not machines processing big data. They have feelings, emotions, disabilities, and sometimes it is just OK to be vulnerable and weak.  Presumptively, employees seek out encouragement, optimism and uphold a personal desire to succeed in their careers.  Principles or Newspeak seeks to prey upon the weak and injured and suck dry any semblance of empathy and “Compassion”, a Buddhist concept (Bodhicitta or “enlightened mind”). Yet Ray wants to sell his brand of Principles to every corporation and we should all be concerned.

(*“Newspeak” was a phrase used repeatedly in George Orwell’s infamous novel 1984 and fully described in the Appendix to the novel. “Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc or English Socialism…The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought—that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc—should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words…For the purposes of everyday life it was no doubt necessary, or sometimes necessary, to reflect before speaking, but a Party member called upon to make a political or ethical judgment should be able to spray forth the correct opinions as automatically as a machine gun spraying forth bullets. His training fitted him to do this, the language gave him an almost foolproof instrument, and the texture of the words, with their harsh sound and a certain willful ugliness which was in accord with the spirit of Ingsoc, assisted the process still further.” Id.)

Contact Mark Carey at mcarey@capclaw.com.

What is Severance Pay Based On?

So, you’ve been laid off. Your soon-to-be previous employer has handed you a packet of documents outlining your severance package and you have a ton of questions. Should you sign your severance agreement now? Should you take the time to look it over? What does all of this mean? Whew! Take a breath. We know this is an extremely overwhelming time for you and your family, and we’re here to help. Here is what you need to know about your severance pay:

What is Severance Pay?

Severance is a term of your employment agreed upon by you and your employer. Your employment contract may stipulate your entitlement to severance pay, or it may be a company policy applying to all employees. Regardless, employers must establish a documented, justifiable business reason for your layoff resulting in severance compensation. You should speak with an employment attorney to understand your severance rights as an employee.

What is your severance pay based on?

Your severance pay is determined based on the number of years you have been with your company, whether you are in a management or executive position in the company and the size of the company. Your employer will also take into consideration whether severance is listed as a part of your employment contract.

How is Severance Paid Out?

Severance is not always monetary. Instead of handing you a check, some companies may extend your health benefits for a period of time or offer career coaching and outplacement consultants to help you jump into a new position. If you’re unclear about how your severance will be paid out, or do not feel it is in line with the value you brought to your company, speak with one of our severance negotiation attorneys in Connecticut today.

Speak With an Employment Attorney in Connecticut Today

Severance packages can affect your ability to claim unemployment insurance, and there may be year end tax liabilities if you receive a lump sum or continued salary payments. We want to make sure you are making the right decision for yourself and your family now and in the future. Before signing anything, sit down with one of our employment attorneys today to review your current severance package, discuss how you could receive more for your layoff, or to review your employment agreement as a whole. Let us help you start this next chapter in your career.Contact Carey & Associates, P.C. today!

What Does an Employment Lawyer Do?

We all know that a divorce lawyer can help you reach an agreement in dissolving your marriage, a personal injury attorney can help you reach a settlement in a car accident and an employment attorney can represent you when you’re fired from your job. Right? To an extent – employment attorneys help employees with so much more than wrongful termination. So, what do employment attorneys do?

What Does an Employment Attorney Do?

Employment attorneys control the relationship between employers and employees. We make sure that employers maintain their side of the employment agreement in accordance with state and federal laws, and we make sure employees maintain their side of the employment agreement as well. There’s a lot more that goes into employment law than wrongful termination cases. At Carey & Associates, P.C. our employment attorneys represent employees and counsel them through the legal process, whatever it may be.

How Can an Employment Attorney Help Me?

We help employees in Connecticut, New York and Manhattan with a wide array of employment law issues. We have met with and counseled hundreds of employees through their own unique situations, but here are some of the most common cases our employment attorneys face:

  • Severance Negotiation – When you’re laid off from a job you’re often offered a severance package. What most employees do not know is this can often be negotiated. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Can I get more money out of this?” our only question to you is, what leverage do you have? In most cases, our severance negotiation attorneys can help you negotiate a higher severance package.
  • Disability Benefits –  We represent employees applying for short-term disability and long-term disability benefits. Our employment attorneys in Connecticut have successfully litigated against many major insurance carriers to help our clients get the benefits they deserve.
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – Imagine this: you are diagnosed with a severe illness and need to take time off of work to treat it, but your employer will not grant you the time off so you face losing your job. Terrible, right? We think so. We use our extensive knowledge in the FMLA and ERISA to fight for our clients.
  • Non-Compete Agreements When you are hired on at a new company, chances are they are going to require you to sign a non-compete agreement or non-disclosure agreement. That’s all good and well, right? Wrong. Often times, employees want to leave the firm for another opportunity and their employer is coming after them because of the non-compete agreement. We help employees make the right decision before they sign.

Speak With an Employment Attorney in Connecticut

If you’re an employee in Connecticut, Manhattan or New York and want to speak with one of our employment attorneys about your unique situation, Contact Mark P. Carey P.C, today. We believe in educating our clients about their options and letting them decide which path they want to take in their legal journey. That’s why we offer free phone consultations to discuss what issues you are facing, what end goal you have in mind and what we can do to help you reach that goal.