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Jonathan A. Segal
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I am pleased to share my latest SHRM blog post regarding what “Mad Men” can teach us about life and career.

With all of the focus on the new overtime rules, a major event could be forgotten. One year ago last night we said good bye to Mad Men. For some, it was just a television show. Allow them their blissful naivety. A lot has happened to our friends in the last year with career and life lessons for all of us. So let’s leave the real world for just a moment:

Joan. Because Joan would not sleep with a knuckle dragger named Ferg, Joan was forced out of McCann Erickson. That was far from the first time she was sexually harassed. Joan had enough of the boys’ clubs of the corporate world. So she started her own business. I am delighted to report that Joan made 17% more over the last year than she ever made at McCann Erickson or Sterling Cooper. That gender pay gap? No issue when you are your own boss. Bravo Joan!

Roger. Although a lothario, Roger was loved by most of us. I think of Roger when I think of someone I like but “should not” or don’t like someone I “should.” Unfortunately, senior executives have begun to ask Roger in various ways whether he has given thought to when he will retire. Under the law, employees generally cannot be forced to retire. So picking up on the not so subtle hints, Roger called Joan, who had threatened to contact the EEOC when she was forced out of McCann Erickson. The predator is now prey but has taken control by making clear to the powers that be that he does not want to hear about age again, only about his performance. And, it remains stellar. On a personal note, Roger married Marie Calvet, the mother of Don’s ex-wife, Megan Draper, He is very happy with Marie—spending long holidays in Paris.

Pete. For so many years, it was hard to find anything nice to say about Pete. He was, after all, the character we loved to hate but not quite all the way. I confess that I feared his jaw dropping job in Wichita, Kansas City with a private jet to boot would bring out the worst of him. In reality, he initially struggled at his new job. So, he sought out a coach and listened to the advice he received. He has become more humble as hard as that may be to believe. And, now more of a team player, too, he is getting more support from his co-workers. And, part of success is people wanting you to be successful. Pete is on right track, back in the groove. On the personal side, Pete and Trudy are genuinely happy. Sometimes reconciliations work.

Betty. As we all knew was inevitable, we lost Berdie (Don’s term of endearment for Betty). Thankfully, she did not suffer too much. It happened too quickly for too much pain. But before she died, she and Don spent a weekend together (concluding one of Don’s 3 calls from the final episode). Betty’s death caused Don to think more about his own mortality and what he wanted to achieve and who he wanted to be. Back to my pal Don shortly.

Peggy. Let’s return to the Boys’ Club at McCann Erickson. It would be next to impossible for any woman to survive, let alone thrive. But thriving is what Peggy is doing. In her own voice, she has succeeded beyond expectations. She did not ask for a seat at the table; she took it. She is now a full-fledged copywriter with a waiting list of clients. She started a mentoring program for girls in junior high school. One of her mentees is a young girl named Sheryl Sandberg. As is often the case, the mentee teaches the mentor. Whenever Peggy is told that she is bossy, she hears Sheryl’s words and responds that she is simply leading. I am also delighted to report that Peggy and Stan got married. On a personal note, it was an honor to dance with the bride at the wedding.

Don. And, that leaves us with my friend Don. The last season was beyond painful as we watched Don’s life fall apart. Many of us wondered whether he would survive—we feared the opening of the show was a metaphor for his ending. Instead, he found himself at an Ashram in California where he thought of the genius marketing campaign for Coke and then returned to McCann Erickson to implement it. But his drinking continued unabated. Eventually, he hit bottom and went into treatment. At times, we all need help. No stigma. Get the help you need. I am pleased to report that Don has not had a drink for 7 months, one day at a time. No longer an active alcoholic, Don has focused on repairing his personal life. He and Megan had a short reconciliation but Megan is now on prime time so the bi-costal relationship ended. More importantly, the mad man is now a good man. Don is a good dad without a role model for the parenting skills he now employs.

Conclusion: Okay, I am a sucker for happy endings. So, I wanted to see all the seeds of professional and personal happiness planted by Matt Weiner in the last episode grow to their full potential. Yes, the Mad Men world is singing in perfect harmony, except for the tragic death of Betty. But, after watching the last season 3 times (to which I will admit), Matt left me no room to save her, as much as I tried. And, if nothing else, as you can plainly see, I am a realist, says the mad man who remains mad about the mad men and women of Mad Men.

Neither this blog nor SHRM, Duane Morris or Jonathan A Segal is affiliated, sponsored, endorsed, licensed or in any way associated with AMC. AMC neither endorses nor approves of the content of this piece of fiction or the services provided by SHRM, Duane Morris or Jonathan A Segal.

 

About Jonathan A. Segal
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Jonathan A. Segal is a partner at Duane Morris LLP in the Employment Group. He is also the managing principal of the Duane Morris Institute. The Duane Morris Institute provides training for human resource professionals, in-house counsel, and other leaders at client sites and by way of webinar on myriad employment, leadership labor, benefits and immigration topics. Jonathan has served intermittently as a consultant to the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years, providing training on employment issues to federal judges around the country. Jonathan also has provided training on harassment on behalf of the EEOC as well as providing training on diversity to members of the United States intelligence agencies. Jonathan is also frequently a featured speaker at national, state and local human resource, business and legal conferences, including conferences sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Business and Industry. Jonathan’s practice focuses on maximizing compliance and minimizing legal risk. Jonathan’s particular areas of emphasis include: equal employment opportunity in general and gender equality in particular: social media; wage and hour; performance management; talent acquisition; harassment prevention and correction; and non-competes and other ways to protect your business. You can find him on Twitter @Jonathan_HR_Law .
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Jonathan A. Segal
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I am pleased to share my latest post to Philadelphia Business Journal.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday finalized a new rule that doubles the annual salary threshold for receiving overtime pay to $47,476. The White House estimates that will provide overtime pay to an additional 4.2 million workers, leaving business owners wondering how they will foot the bill for the change or keep employees from racking up extra hours.

The new overtime regulations are rather uncomplicated as a matter of law but there are major business and employee relations considerations when it comes to implementation.

Let’s begin with the law. Generally:

▪The minimum salary will be $913 per week. As noted, that is double what the number was under the 2004 regulations, $455 per week.
▪While the increase is substantial, for the first time, an employer may include some compensation other than salary to meet the minimum salary. More specifically, employers can include non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments and commissions to satisfy up to 10 percent of the minimum weekly salary.
▪The minimum salary will be adjusted every three years. The DOL had proposed every year.
▪There will be no changes to the primary duty test. The DOL had, by the questions it asked in its proposed rule, suggest it might move to a percentage test, as is the case in California. Instead, the test remains the same: primary means main, principal or most important.
▪The regulations go into effect on December 1, 2016. So employers have about six months to prepare.

The big question that employer will need to decide with exempt employees making below the minimum salary is whether to raise their salaries or to convert them to non-exempt. Among a much longer list, here are eight questions that every employer should ask itself in making that business decision.

  1. How will I get the work done? Exempt employees can work anywhere and anytime. And, most do. If you need that kind of flexibility, that may argue in favor of increasing salary rather than converting to non-exempt.
  2. How do I allow an employee I convert from exempt to non-exempt to work remotely without ending up with an off the clock case? Even if you don’t need an employee to perform substantial work remotely or you cannot afford the minimum salary increase, the now non-exempt employee still likely will need to perform some work remotely. We need to deal with it by developing guard rails to limit, capture and pay for all such work. The on-off switch with regard to remote work may need to become a dimmer.
  3. How are similarly situated employees being treated? Converting employees from exempt to non-exempt will produce different reactions. Some may be thrilled—the potential for overtime. Others may be less happy—they see it as a demotion. Make sure you have business reasons for whom you convert to non-exempt and document same to defend potential discrimination claims by those who are upset, one way or the other.
  4. How are you going to communicate with employees whom you are converting from exempt to non-exempt? This is critical. As just noted, some will see this as a demotion. You need to explain that the change is driven by legal considerations and nothing changes the value you place on what the employee does for you.
  5. How are you going to ensure that exempt employees don’t get killed as you move work from the newly converted non-exempt to them to avoid paying overtime? Many exempt employees making well above the minimum salary work day and night. There is a breaking point. Provide them with even more work and, at a minimum, this may produce resentment. If they become sufficiently unengaged on enraged, they may leave. Yes, Virginia, millennial employees are not the only ones who want a life, too.
  6. What do you do with employees who are above the minimum salary when you raise the salaries of others below it so they remain non-exempt? Raising the salaries of higher paid employees may be costly. But not raising their salaries may have a heavy employee relations cost. “So he gets a $4,000 raise and makes only $1.000 less than I do even though I have been here for 5 more years with great reviews.” A lot of tough calls will have to be made. And, remember, it is not “all or nothing.” Be creative.
  7. How do you train your managers on how to deal with those converted from exempt to non-exempt? The question provides the answer. Don’t forget the training. If you ask the now non-exempt employee to do something as she is walking out the door, tell her to log back in and pay her for the extra time. It is a little more complicated legally but you get the drift, I hope.
  8. How do I budget? Plan for more overtime as a result of conversions, unless you want to have unhappy or lose customers or clients. Educate your financial team of the new normal so that they can be partners and not impediments.

 

And, that’s just for starters. Having fun, yet?

About Jonathan A. Segal
1108
author_image
Jonathan A. Segal is a partner at Duane Morris LLP in the Employment Group. He is also the managing principal of the Duane Morris Institute. The Duane Morris Institute provides training for human resource professionals, in-house counsel, and other leaders at client sites and by way of webinar on myriad employment, leadership labor, benefits and immigration topics. Jonathan has served intermittently as a consultant to the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years, providing training on employment issues to federal judges around the country. Jonathan also has provided training on harassment on behalf of the EEOC as well as providing training on diversity to members of the United States intelligence agencies. Jonathan is also frequently a featured speaker at national, state and local human resource, business and legal conferences, including conferences sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Business and Industry. Jonathan’s practice focuses on maximizing compliance and minimizing legal risk. Jonathan’s particular areas of emphasis include: equal employment opportunity in general and gender equality in particular: social media; wage and hour; performance management; talent acquisition; harassment prevention and correction; and non-competes and other ways to protect your business. You can find him on Twitter @Jonathan_HR_Law .