Really Bad Boss Rule #27 – It involves self massage and PetSmart

Petsmart's toys are the only ones smiling after lawsuit

Petsmart's toys are the only ones smiling after lawsuit

Really Bad Boss Rule #27 – rubbing your genitals and making inappropriate sexual jokes in front of female employees is not considered good management. Ever.

PetSmart manager lands company in the doghouse

A clueless Pottstown, PA PetSmart manager, and obvious non subscriber to the Really Bad Boss feed, cost PetSmart $125,000 after the company settled a sexual harassment retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC.  The unnamed manager subjected female employees to unwelcomed harassment, including repeatedly rubbing his genitals in their presence. He then retaliated against one employee after she complained about the harassment.  There are some things managers do and/or say that could arguably be misinterpreted by employees. Self genital massage – not so much.

Now PetSmart has to write a fat check, do some retraining, and refrain from hiring genitalia massaging managers.  Good luck with that.

Get the full story here.

Go figure – Sorority president commissions $900,000 wax figure of herself

Barbara McKinzie in wax

Barbara McKinzie in wax

Proving that men don’t own the market on really bad bosses, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority national president and former Chicago Housing Authority comptroller Barbara McKinzie has amassed a long list of really bad behavior that’s raised the ire of sorority members nationwide.  Among the things McKinzie is accused of doing:

  • Commissioning a $900,000 wax figure of herself
  • Taking almost $400,000 of organization funds for personal expenses
  •  Arranging for a $4,000 monthly personal stipend to be paid after she leaves office
  • Using the group’s American Express card to buy designer clothing, lingerie and jewelry, then redeeming points to get among other things, a 46-inch HDTV for personal use.

In her defense, McKinzie says she’s done nothing wrong and that the accusations are retaliation against her for enforcing the organization’s stringent financial standards.  She says the wax statue in question along with that of AKA’s first national president, Nellie Quander, cost a total of $45,000 and that the statues are being prepped for display at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore. 

Members are now suing to oust McKinzie for misappropriation of funds. And, despite her denials, it’ll be pretty hard to refute evidence of misusing the credit cards.  If the accusations are true, it makes you wonder how well she managed finances as Chicago’s Housing Authority comptroller. I smell an investigation. Members have had issues with AKA and it’s leadership for years, questioning membership dues, registration fees and McKinzie’s compensation.  But, this is one of the few times the discord has made it to the national stage.

$900,000 wax statues, excessive personal expenses and misappropriation of organization funds are a serious betrayal of trust to the organizations’ 50,000 active members, and fly in the face of AKA’s ideals of sisterhood, ethics and service.  Thoughts?

Get more details on McKinzie and the Chicago chapter’s fight to have her ousted here.

Dewey, Cheatham, Screwem and Howe – Attorney breaks law and himself off a piece

GavelIn this case, the fictitious law firm should be renamed in honor of Florida attorney, James Harvey Tipler.  The 58 year old Florida lawyer has been disbarred for, among other crimes, exchanging legal services for sex with his 18 year old client.  Tipler (there’s a joke in there somewhere) devised a creative and creepy fee schedule which included a $200 discount if his client had sex with him, and a $400 discount if she brought along a second female participant.

In addition to the sex, Tipler is accused of altering evidence, causing a witness to unknowingly give false testimony and charging clients excessive fees.  We never thought we’d have to create a rule for this one, but here goes.  This one actually calls for part A & B. Really bad boss rule #83A – If you’re an attorney, don’t pimp your clients for sexual favors.  Really bad boss rule #83B -  If you’re an attorney and you pimp your clients for sexual favors, don’t become their John.

Source: Courthouse News Service

Really bad boss trait #6 – blame others for your mistakes

Low level employee being blamed by her really bad boss

Really bad bosses who blame others for their mistakes

Yesterday I talked about bosses who’ll never admit when they’ve made a mistake.  Today I’m going to talk about bosses who’ll acknowledge a mistake has been made, but always manage to find someone else to blame. Really bad bosses have a lot of bad attributes, but I have to say that cowardice – the driving force behind blaming someone else for your mistake – is probably one of the worst.   Whether you define it as cowardice or call it by another name, few things cause employees to doubt management more than a boss who constantly points fingers and refuses to take responsibility for his or her own mistakes.  It’s even worse if it happens in an environment where open communication and the sharing of ideas are discouraged.  In that type of  “do as you’re told” environment, where questioning a boss’ decision may lead to reprisal or even firing, employees will keep quiet, even in the face of the most mindless of management decisions.

Speaking of mindless management decisions, remember when the big three auto makers hitched a ride on private jets to meet with congress to beg for money and talk about the viability of their industry? Well I’m willing to bet that there was at least one low level employee at any one of those companies who thought “you know, it’s probably not a good idea for the head of our automobile company to take a private jet to attend a meeting to explain how broke we are.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Really bad boss rule #36 – If you don’t know what you’re doing…don’t do it

Momentary descent into really bad boss hell

My momentary three hour descent into Really bad boss hell

I broke a couple of my own Really bad boss rules yesterday.  Those of you who visit regularly may have noticed that for about three hours, when you stopped by, you were greeted with an angry looking message about a fatal error.   I fatally wounded my own site by trying to do something waaaay above my pay grade.  Really bad boss rule #36If you don’t know what you’re doing…don’t do it.  It’s very closely related to Really bad boss rule #57If you don’t know what you’re doing, find someone who does.  I did neither.  Instead, in a moment of blogging bravado, I attempted to do something I had no idea how to, and then, unwilling to admit defeat, wasted valuable time trying to put a band-aid on a wound that required a tourniquet. 

After  my momentary lapse into really bad boss hell (and some weeping), I got a hold of myself, started thinking like a really good boss and called the husband of a friend.   An expert on these things, he remotely took control of my laptop, asked me a bunch of questions I was incapable of answering (reinforcing  the fact that I had no business trying to do what I had been trying to do in the first place) and got to work undoing the damage I’d done.

While he was doing what he does best, I got to thinking about the difference between how really bad bosses and really good bosses behave.  Over the next few days, I’m going to talk about five of those differences.  Today, I’ll talk about something really bad bosses never do.

Really bad bosses never, ever admit when they’ve made a mistake -  Even when faced with indisputable evidence that they’ve messed up royally, a really bad boss will go to his or her grave before admitting to making a mistake.  It’s one of the worst and most common mistakes really bad bosses make.  Why?  Many bosses feel as though admitting to a mistake reduces their credibility and thereby their ability to manage effectively.  In fact, the opposite is often the case.  A boss’ ability to admit to a mistake says to his or her employees, I’m not perfect, I know I’m not perfect, and now I’m going to show you how someone who’s really in control handles a crisis. 

Pretending you’re infallible, even as everyone around you sees the problem, says  “I’m unstable and probably shouldn’t be trusted to lead.”   I once had a boss who made a serious error in calculating some figures.  When confronted with her mistake, rather than admit to it, she tried to explain how she’d used a different method for calculating her figures.  Not different information or data, a different method for adding and subtracting.  Ridiculous, but true.  Other than arithmetic, I was, and still am unaware of any other method for adding and subtracting numbers.  We never looked at her quite the same way again, referring to her as the manager who rather than admitting a mistake, created her own private system of mathematics.  Read the rest of this entry »