Politically Incorrect Post of the Week: Pay Inequality Persists!

Pay inequality persists? Well, that’s not politically incorrect!

What if I told you, gender wage gaps persist even in markets where workplace discrimination is impossible or unlikely?!

Whatcha you talkin about, Tim!?

Female Uber Drivers make 7% less than male drivers, even though, none of us even know if a male or female driver will pick us up. The algorithm specifically doesn’t allow us to request or know. So, how can Uber Drivers have a gender pay inequality issue?

Okay, so here’s where this might become a bit politically incorrect for those who want to make it that and ignore facts. Turns out, Men, more than women, drive faster, so they will make more on average driving for Uber than women. Also, Men are more likely to on request for rides in more congested, riskier areas, which tend to carry higher fares.

You can call it pay inequality. Some will call it a performance difference, in this particular position, in this particular profession.

One more example, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a gig worker site, which also only measures users performance and does not measure gender, also shows gender pay inequality across it’s users to the tune of 10.5%! Amazon’s Mechanical Turk pays men 10.5% more than women for the same work, even though they have no idea the person doing the work is a man, woman, non-binary gender, etc.

So, what gives!? Again, it comes back to performance. Researchers found:

“For 22,271 Mechanical Turk workers who participated in nearly 5 million tasks, we analyze hourly earnings by gender, controlling for key covariates which have been shown previously to lead to differential pay for men and women. On average, women’s hourly earnings were 10.5% lower than men’s. Several factors contributed to the gender pay gap, including the tendency for women to select tasks that have a lower advertised hourly pay. This study provides evidence that gender pay gaps can arise despite the absence of overt discrimination, labor segregation, and inflexible work arrangements, even after experience, education, and other human capital factors are controlled for. Findings highlight the need to examine other possible causes of the gender pay gap.”

Okay, don’t shoot the messenger! I’m only reporting the news!

Funny thing is, the authors (both male and female) of this Northwestern University study also were very concerned about people thinking they were being politically incorrect, actually making a plea within the published paper telling people they weren’t being politically incorrect!

Here’s the problem with all of this. Men can and will do certain jobs, on average, better than women. Women can and will do certain jobs, on average, better than men. I haven’t seen a study on non-binary genders, yet, but I can guess that Non-binary genders can and will do certain jobs, on average, better than both men and women!

This is why we have to be very careful when looking at gender pay inequality data at a macro-level. Of course, we have gender pay issues. But throwing out macro numbers does not help solve the problem. As leaders and HR professionals it’s our job to find the specific pay issues we have and correct those.

We love to believe, especially in our overly charged social climate we are in currently, that there are always bad actors at play when things like this happen. That’s not always the case, and we (the collective we) lose credibility when we make things like gender pay inequality a macro issue to leaders and executives who don’t have those issues or have them in very narrow categories which they were unaware.

Let’s find the inequalities. Let’s discover the reason for these inequalities. Then, let’s make things right that need to be made right. Right now, we have a lot of righting to do, but my hope is that won’t always be the case. So, assume positive intent, first, and let’s make our world better for everyone.

When Employees Pass Around the Office Salary Spreadsheet! #HRFAMOUS

Pay transparency! It’s a buzzword that means many things to many people. Can you be pro-pay transparency and skeptical of reporting that involves a salary worksheet, no details, and a subsequent article implying that pay issues at a company are widespread?

Why yes! yes, you can.

In the latest episode of HR Famous, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee discuss a recent Bloomberg article that attempted a takedown vs Blizzard Entertainment related to pay issues – including some employees passing around a cloud spreadsheet listing salaries they make at Blizzard. Along the way they discuss what quality reporting looks like around this type of issue, messaging as part of damage control when a company finds itself under scrutiny, and they also look for clues related to the depth of pay issues at Blizzard on the company’s Glassdoor page.

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Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player below) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

1:30 – Tim is gone (again) this week on another vacay! KD and Jlee talk about what they think Tim is doing on his Lake Michigan getaway. Ginger people don’t tan!

12:00 – Next topic of the day – Blizzard Entertainment, famous for making many popular video games like Call of Duty, has a situation where employees circulated a salary document internally that showed major pay disparitiesThe salary document was first reported by Bloomberg – but the gang has questions.

15:00 – Jlee praises the person who circulated the Google sheets form for being efficient. If anyone has the link to the spreadsheet, HR Famous would love to see it! KD wonders aloud how many columns are on the spreadsheet?  Are they names? The gang doubts it.

18:00 – An Activision spokesperson says that they compensate their employees fairly and gave their top performers a higher salary increase than in prior years. KD compares this issue to an episode of The Office where they have to decide who to give raises to and how.

21:00 – KD comments on the quote from the Activision spokesperson that says “a 20% increase in salaries compared to other years” was questionable language. KD and Jlee give high marks to this language that is a little clever to the untrained eye.

25:00 – KD points out that Blizzard has thousands of employees and not everyone could be consulted for this article. He’s kind of over articles that splash, but make no mention of how many employees a reporter talked to.

26:00 – What do you think Blizzard’s Glassdoor rating is? KD is a little surprised by Blizzard’s rating and thinks that their rating isn’t indicative of some of the problems this article addresses.

29:00 – KD finds the reported Blizzard salaries on Glassdoor by job and finds that many aren’t too far off the industry average/ KD guesses the problems are in customer service and QA based on low hourly rates.

32:00 – Jlee feels for Blizzard and their HR department in these tough times for their company. KD wants reporters to tell a full story and do their job right. He encourages them to take their clickbait titles for traffic, then tells the whole story.

#CoronaDiaries – The Travesty of Hero Pay!

I’m back in the office and I’m feisty as ever about all this “Hero” pay going on across the world! I love Heros, I mean who doesn’t love Heros, but…

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?

Also, beyond excited that Disney+ is releasing the Original cast of Hamilton on July 3rd! In the comments give me your over/under number of the amount of times I’ll watch Hamilton on Disney+? (I’ll tell you what my wife’s number on me was after a bit!)

Reader Question: Can I negotiate my offer during the COVID Pandemic?

So, we like to think that no one is hiring right now, or the only people hiring are Amazon, Grubhub, hospitals, etc. The reality is, even in the worse economy, a lot of stuff still needs to happen.

Many organizations are finding out they can still get a bunch of their work done with folks at home, and collaborating in new ways, and the learning curve is steep, but everyone is working together to figure it out.

I had a call this past week from a soon to be college graduate, dual major, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from a great school, so it makes sense he already has an offer. He had some questions for me. He was excited, of course, and understood that he was the exception right now, not the rule. With historic unemployment, companies are still going to want him!

One of the questions he had was where and how do you negotiate during a crisis situation like this. The company that offered him the job, was also laying employees off! Not the best environment to play hardball negotiator! Plus, his school had stopped all career fairs, etc. So, he didn’t have a traditional route many college students would have in normal times to connect with some other employers.

Can I, and should I, negotiate my offer during this COVID crisis? 

My answer:

You can negotiate anytime you feel you need to, but having the political savviness to understand the situation and current timing might work for you best long term if you don’t right now.

That being said, here’s how I would negotiate right now! First, you have to play this very coy. You, and the person making the offer, both know the dire straights going on right now, especially when employees are being laid off, but they’re making you an offer.

There are two things I might try if you feel like you can play this very soft. First, you still have a semester left of school, you could politely ask if they have any kind of tuition assistance and would they be willing to help you out during this last semester? The other ask could be for a signing bonus, to be paid upon start, which is later in the year, but good to negotiate now.

There is little risk they will pull the offer because you are trying to negotiate, and if you play it right you will come out looking fine, no matter the outcome. The other option is to just wait until your actual start date in December and then ask for a sign-on bonus at that point, or as you get close to starting, make the call and say something like, “Hey, I’ve got some friends who have accepted at other companies and they are all getting some sort of sign-on bonus, is this something I can get as well?”

You will learn a few things in this process:

  1. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, but timing can be everything in terms of when you ask.
  2. You are the only person managing your career. If you wait for a company to do it, you’ll miss out on a lot. Manage your own career.
  3. The job offer is contingent on them actually needing you when it comes time for you to start. It’s not a guarantee the employer will need you, so you don’t need to act like you’re signing a guaranteed contract. Things can and will happen between now and December.
  4. Know your value. Just because it sucks for everyone else, doesn’t mean it sucks for you.

What do you think? Should you negotiate in trying times?

 

E6 – The HR Famous Podcast – Pay Equity or Pay Fairness with US Women’s Soccer Team?

In Episode 6 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Kris Dunn, and I get together to talk discuss pay equity issues for women, focusing on the recent court briefing filed by the US Soccer Federation that claimed the US Women’s National Team earns less than the Men’s National Team due to (among other things) “men having more ability, strength and speed” (yikes).  All the issues you would expect are discussed, including horrible communications/PR strategies, the impact of Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and more.

KD, JLee, and Sacks also discuss a related issue – the efforts a couple of years back from Salesforce.com to tag its D&I focus on equality rather than diversity, and why that move was made and how it’s worked out for Salesforce, as well as ongoing challenges with the strategy.

Show hIghlights:

1:20 – KD asks JLee and Tim about their work from home strategy in the coming weeks.

4:30 – KD talks about his cord cutting that happened right before the need to work from home more, his move to YouTubeTV and the millennial who sold him on the merits of the solution. Tim talks about the fact his first Netflix password was actually from the girlfriend of one of his sons.

7:40 – The gang breaks down the recent news from the legal proceedings between the US Soccer Federation and the US Women’s Soccer Team – a recent court brief from the Federation that outlined one of the reasons men’s national team members get paid more than women’s national team members – “men have more ability, strength and speed, therefore they should be paid more”. Wow.

9:52 -JLee takes on the president of the US Soccer Federation (the one that resigned) for not reading the press briefing from the US Soccer Federation. JLee also breaks down the math between the speed gap vs the pay gap.

11:50 – Tim Sackett HAS READ THE ENTIRE COURT BRIEFING. It’s 30 pages according to Tim – double-spaced!  Not hard to read through. Tim take a shot at the Federation board that called for the president to resign, stating they didn’t read it either. WTF.  Tim talks about the fact that pay and benefits for the women’s team is collectively bargained (CBA) as part of a union contract and the court will be unlikely to overturn the agreement.

20:05 – JLee disagrees with the fact that the court briefing is a breakdown of communications strategy, instead of pointing out the fact that given the depth of the comments in the briefing, it’s pure sexism and misogyny – it’s what the US Soccer Federations actually believes.

20:45 – The gang talks about the fact that they like watching the Women’s National Team in soccer over the Men’s National Team.

21:40 – JLee and KD talk about the Salesforce pivot from solely D&I focus to more of an “Equality” focus. JLee talks about the Asian influence in diversity hiring for tech companies in the Bay area and points out that closing the gender pay gap is great, but the results can slip over time.

28:05 – Tim and JLee break down what they’re going to get caught up on as the world slows down a bit based on Covid-19.

Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series

Should the US Women Soccer Team be Paid the Same as Men? No!

How’s that for a clickbait headline! “I knew it the SOB Tim Sackett is a Sexist!” Slow down, read the post, you might be surprised on my take…

The US Women’s Soccer team should not be paid the same as the US Men’s Soccer team. They should be paid more!

Okay, let’s dig into this issue.

The media coverage on this issue is rightly pro-US Women’s Soccer. The US Soccer’s legal team continues to make ridiculous statements in an attempt to fight for their client. That’s what you pay lawyers to do, win your case. The men have more responsibility!? What is this, 1935!?! I’m not even sure how the US Soccer’s in house council even allowed that language to be released!

Here’s the full read of the US Soccer Federation’s legal argument. It’s worth a read if you truly care about this issue.

My first reaction to this case when it first got hot last year was this entire thing is ridiculous. If the women want the same as the men, why not just do straight revenue share that is equal. Both men and women get the exact same percentage of revenue they bring and can split it up in whatever way they deem appropriate for their teams. Seem fair? I thought so.

You bring in more money, you get more money. You bring in less, you get less, but don’t bitch, you brought in less.

My thought process on this issue has changed considerably since my first reaction. I love the logic behind revenue share because the Capitalist in me seems like that is equitable and fair. You make more, you get more. But the reality is, the women, in this case, have not had the same advantages of the men for decades, maybe a century, when it comes to this issue.

Let me break down some points:

– You don’t want to hear this but if the US Women’s Soccer team had the same contract as the US Men’s soccer team, they would actually make less money than their current contract. The US Men would argue and are currently renegotiating, they would make more if they had the women’s contract! From US Soccer, the women actually make more than the men, but the men make more overall because of professional money and non-US Soccer tournaments.

– Men’s soccer has been funded and supported at such a different level for so long, it has given them a giant, one could argue, an unsurpassable advantage in player development, infrastructure, marketing, etc. This is why the US Men don’t require have compensation to play on the national team because they make exponentially more than the women playing professional soccer.

– If we pay the US Women equally to the US Men, the women will actually make less overall, because they don’t have this advantage of time and resources the men have gotten for so long. I don’t think pay equality is what is needed, it’s pay fairness. By the way, if you take a few minutes and actually read the legal documents, this also what the US Women are saying. But, in the media, it wouldn’t play well to say “we want more”! But, what they are actually trying to get, would, in fact, pay them more than the men, when it comes to US Soccer compensation, but not total overall compensation.

– Carli Lloyd, the famous US Soccer women’s player, admitted in her testimony that the US Men actually do have more “skill” when it comes to speed and strength. The use of the word “skill” is really what the media pulled out. The actually tactical and strategic soccer skills, ballhandling, passing, etc. Is way too subjective to argue that men have more skill than women.

– “Women’s Soccer and Men’s Soccer are not the same game.” This was a statement from my wife, a former D1 college athlete and a national team invitee. The name is the same, but we have to get over this fact that men and women playing a similar game is the same. It’s different! I love to watch women’s volleyball. Men’s volleyball is boring. I would rather watch men’s basketball over women’s basketball. If I love “basketball” why don’t I love watching both? Because I actually love watching “Men’s basketball”. Different games.

– The legal argument that US men soccer team members have more responsibility is just an ignorant statement. Again, based on history, awareness, resources, etc. US citizens get super pissed if US “men” lose at anything to other countries because we’ve been conditioned by mostly media, that this is how we should react. If the women lose, we tend to not be as upset. “Oh, they played their butts off! Next time!”  Again, we’ve been conditioned to this response. If we would have been conditioned that losing, men or women in a national team competition, is awful and unacceptable for decades, we would all truly believe this responsibility is equal, which it is, but we tend to think differently about, because of how we’ve been conditioned.

– These are all union bargained terms. This is why the US women have taken their argument public because legally this win will be hard. They bargained fairly and agreed to these terms. Courts love to uphold bargained agreements. You signed the contract and now you think it sucks. Okay, go back to the bargaining table. Isn’t that why you joined a union?

I hear your argument right now. “Tim, more people want to watch men over women, the TV viewership, ticket sales, etc., show this!” The reason women don’t have the same resources is because it’s not the entertainment people want. Well, for decades, men were the only entertainment option we’ve been given! “Tim, men’s football and men’s basketball pay for all those Title 9 scholarships for women!” And every other men’s sport as well. Again, historically we didn’t support women’s athletics even close to men’s. So, if we did, from the beginning, would we even need Title 9? We won’t know, we are where we are right now.

Also, I don’t give a crap that one team was more successful than another. In the world of national teams, that doesn’t really matter. In the US, our best male athletes usually gravitate to the sport that pays them the most money (basketball, American football, baseball, even hockey). Women, again, don’t have those same avenues. The highest NBA player salary in 2019 was $34,000,000 per season. The highest WNBA player salary was $127,000.

The US Women’s Soccer team should not be paid equal to the US Men’s team. They should be paid more. Paying them the same would just be another injustice to female soccer players. We have systematically put women athletes at a disadvantage for so long in the US. Not pay equity, pay fairness.

4 Great Things About Your 401K Taking a Dump!

The stock market is in the crapper and everyone’s 401K took a hit that will take years to recover, so how can any of this be great!?!

Oh, just give me a minute to explain…

Yeah, it sucks! I mean panic in the streets sucks, I just lost my retirement condo in Boca sucks! I’m trying to make light of a bad financial situation. Oh wait, I kind of am.

The reality is we all put ourselves in this situation. We gambled. We put our money into mutual funds and 401Ks and other investment vehicles and we loved watching them gain money for the last ten years! Since the great recession, the S&P 500 has tripled! If you got in early, you’ve seen your entire retirement increase substantially from where it was.

Good news, bad news. It sucks we are all taking this hit, but we’ve had a great ride up! Plus, it will ride up again, for those who have a few years. For those who don’t, I’m very sorry, truly. It’s a great lesson for us all that as we get close to retirement, get the vast majority of your money out of the market and into much more conservative investments.

So, what about this nightmare do I think is great?

1. GenX lives! It’s too late for the Baby Boomers, they’re out. The Millennials thought they were on the cusp of taking over, well sorry, kids, Daddy isn’t leaving just yet! Thanks to the market fall, Gen X is here to stay for another decade and the Millennials looking to take over as leaders are just going to have to sit back and relax.

2. Retirement is Boring! I know you wanted to retire. It seems so great sitting around Florida watching your friends get older, sicker, and eventually die. Look, you get one run around this rock, why just stop, let’s keep this thing going! There isn’t one part of me that is looking forward to retirement. What am I going to do, sit home and watch crappy CBS cop shows? Nope, apparently, I’ll be getting a second job to help pay for the food bill with all my Gen Z kids at home that can’t find jobs.

3. Being Poor is a Great Diet Plan. Do you know no one has ever written a diet book about not having money and how it reduces your caloric intake? It seems like someone would have ‘scientifically’ picked up on that. Ugh, I lost most of my retirement in the stock market, now I have to stop going out for the nice 3,000 calorie dinners at the Applebee’s! America is way fat! LIKE WAAAAYYY FAT! We all need a diet. To feel a bit hungry again. We’ll all be tougher for it!

4. I’m buying great companies at a super discount! I’m a conservative gambler. I only like winning! Do you know how you win? Buy great, profitable companies, at 50% off and double your money in a shorter period of time! Now is not the time to be gun shy. This will be one of the top 2 or 3 buying opportunities in the history of the market!

I know, there is a portion of folks who will read this and think, “Tim’s an asshole!” How can he say this!?! He has no empathy! (Editor’s Note: Tim is an asshole.)

We all choose to react to tragedy in different ways. This sucks. This sucks for me and my family. This sucks for my business. This sucks for you. We can all agree on that. I also need to move on. To move forward. We did that after the great recession and we were stronger for it. We’ll do that again.

Also, Gen X Lives!

And the Prize for the Most Money Goes To…

No one. You don’t give out prizes for making the most money. Making the most money is the prize!

“Hey, Tim, you made the most money! Congrats! Here’s a membership to Netflix.” Um, what? Just give me more money, I’ll buy my own damn membership to Netflix!

You give out prizes as rewards when people can’t make more money.  And the prize for the best customer service goes to, Billy! Good job, Billy! Here’s a gift card to Applebee’s for $25!

Organizations are constantly giving out ‘prizes’. We give out prizes for being the best employee. We give out prizes for finishing a project faster than we thought you could finish a project. We give out prizes for showing up to work every day.

I think it might be the first thing you learn at leadership college. If in doubt, give out a prize!

Don’t have an organizational vision? That’s okay, give out a prize.

Don’t have a new product to deliver to the market? No problem, give out a prize.

Have no clue what you’re doing? We feel you, give out a prize!

Prizes are a nice distraction from mediocrity. There easy and the honest truth is everyone likes winning a prize. Have you ever been somewhere, like a golf outing, where they pick raffle prizes and the prizes are all basically crap from vendors no one wants and people get so excited when their random number gets called! People clap. Hey, look, Mary won a prize! Good for her! Wonder what she’ll get? The tote bag or the portable battery that charges your phone up exactly once, yes!

But, we are put in this position because not everyone in our organizations can make unlimited money. So, we have to find ways to keep the troops motivated, and prizes seem to be the motivational tool of choice. The key to prize giveaways is that everyone has to believe they have a shot at winning, but not everyone wins.

If everyone wins a prize, it takes away from the prize value. If I win a car, I feel like the most special boy in the world. If everyone wins a car, it’s still great, but no as special.

Our greatest motivational tool of all time – the prize. Go give out one today!

 

 

Would You Pay .5% of Your Salary to Employ Your CEO?

Let’s say you make $50,000. That means you would pay $250 annually to keep your CEO employed.

Are you willing to do that?

That’s, on average, how much each employee of a Fortune 500 company pays for their corporate F500 CEO in terms of the executive compensation of a CEO. Now, I know you don’t really pay any money out of your check to your CEO, directly. But, if your company wasn’t paying your CEO millions of dollars, could they be paying you a little more?

Or, do you believe the compensation your CEO is making is giving you, and all the other stakeholders of your organization, a good return on your investment?

A new study is out that looks at this issue:

How much a typical employee of the S&P500 firms implicitly “contributes” to the salary of his/her CEO? An amount of $273 on average or 0.5% of one’s salary, that is, one half of one percent on an individual salary basis. To assess whether such a contribution is worthwhile, one must determine the value of the CEO for the organization and its workers and stakeholders.

I love the mental exercise of this. Being a CEO of a small business it truly brings into perspective what you bring, or don’t bring, to those you work with each day. At the level of a Fortune 500 CEO, and the amount of CEO compensation at those giant companies, it’s hard to even imagine!

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, had a total compensation of $125 million dollars in 2019, down from $136 million in 2018. Do you think the employees of Apple would be willing, across the board, every single one, to pay .5% of their salary to keep Tim as CEO or go with a cheaper option?

Better yet, Apple is a very successful, profitable company. If the employees of Apple chose another CEO making, let’s say, only $10 million per year, would that profitability really change that much?

Many people have this argument around college and professional coaches ‘ salaries in sports. Does an NCAA coach making $8 million a year at a power 5 conference, really that much better than a coach making $500K at a mid-major program? Probably not. CEOs probably aren’t that much different. It’s very rare to find a leader, or coach, who is truly transformational that you can point to and say, yep, Timmy is definitely worth what he’s getting paid!

It would be an interesting internal study within your organization to see what percent of your employees would say they would be willing to pay it. It’s really a great measure for your CEO to understand their impact and worth, and probably bring them down to reality a bit.

What do you think? Would you be willing to pay .5% of your salary to your CEO!?! HRU employees – you don’t have to answer this! I already know you would! 😉

HR Managers! Sometimes Executive Compensation is Above Your Pay Grade!

From the front lines of in the weeds HR Management in Detroit – HR Manager claims to have been fired for whistleblowing on some unfair executive compensation practices!

From the front lines of real HR:

A human resources manager at the publicly-funded Great Lakes Water Authority has filed a whistleblower arbitration case against the agency, claiming she was fired only days after raising concerns about lucrative new retirement benefits for authority CEO Sue McCormick, and how they were handled.

The benefit netted McCormick, a former manager of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, more than $90,000 in additional retirement money in 2018 — an amount so large, it had to be split over two years to conform with Internal Revenue Service maximum retirement contributions by an employer.

Hmmm…sounds fishy…continue:

Though other GLWA employees also received the benefit — designed for former Detroit water department employees who left city employment to come to GLWA before becoming vested in the city’s pension system — McCormick’s bonus under the program was, by far, the largest, said Stephanie Stevenson, a human resources manager with the agency whose job included oversight of employee benefits…

…Stevenson said it seemed as if policies were being created specifically to assist McCormick with her predicament — and were being made without consulting Stevenson, who oversaw benefits.

“This was unfair. It was like an abuse of power — corrupt,” Stevenson said.

Rule number one in HR Fight Club – do not make a benefit change without first consulting the HR Pro in the house!

So, the GLWA decided to terminate HR Manager Stephanie. Did they terminate her because of the whistleblower complaint? “No!” was the exact quote from lawyers representing GLWA. Why was Stephanie fired? They weren’t saying…

Here’s the thing.

Almost every executive makes so much more than the run of the mill employee, and HR Manager, that when you see something like your initial impression is something isn’t right about this! Executive compensation is a different animal altogether!

Now, I don’t know if Stephanie was fired for whistleblowing. But, when you hear the explanation of the additional compensation benefit and its design, whether it was done specifically for the CEO or not, they dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s, and while most employees couldn’t take advantage of this additional benefit, all were eligible.

“Unfair” isn’t illegal and sometimes that’s is so hard to accept. Is it fair this CEO gets a bunch of money given to them when most employees will not be given anywhere near this amount? No. Is it illegal? Also, No.

If I was a betting man, Stephanie, got fired not for whistleblowing, but for probably some stuff she did to prove something illegal was going on, when it really wasn’t, but it felt like it was. Why don’t people come forward with whistleblowing complaints? Because either way, no one wants you around afterward. Rightly or wrongly, a trust has been broken. That’s not right, that’s reality. Funny enough, most HR pros actually know the math on this!

What I find most helpful when dealing with executive compensation stuff like this is to bring a few people into the decision-making process, and have us all together at the same time. I want someone from my legal team, someone from my HR team, and someone from my finance team, hopefully with their CPA. Are we legal, are we following tax laws, are we breaking policy we shouldn’t? Is everyone good? Okay, go.

Executives are hired and fired for making decisions above our pay grade. Sometimes they get benefits that seem unfair and exorbitant. The big question you need to ask, is this illegal or simply just unfair? Those are two very different things!