Dear Good Girls,
Two weeks ago my older sister passed away. My boss thinks the three days I took off should be counted as vacation. I think they should give me three days as grievance time. I am very sad and I am mad at my employer. I have worked for them for 19 years. What do you think?
Your employer's penurious policy makes me grieve. The vast majority of companies recognize the importance of time off to mourn, possibly travel to a funeral and regroup after a serious personal loss.
Paid bereavement leave is the third most common paid leave after holidays and jury duty, according to Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource Management. A recent Society study found 92 percent of all organizations offer paid bereavement leave, a number that has held steady for five years. Even smaller firms tend to extend this benefit: eighty-eight percent of the small organizations (1-99 employees) surveyed granted their employees paid time off.
Dear Good Girls,
My significant other works for a well-known hot tub dealer. She does sales and marketing, is always a top producer and has a great working relationship with the owner. Recently, a family member who sells furniture at a renowned showroom mentioned that the hot tub dealer's wife purchased some furniture. She didn't mention how much she paid, just that she [the family member] could use the referrals if the owner's wife thinks of it next time.
So my friend suggested to her boss that his wife ask for the family member the next time she shops at the store. That infuriated the wife, who said she didn't want "her employees" knowing that she purchased anything. She demanded that the general manager apologize and her husband agrees.
Was my friend wrong in bringing it up? Did she and my family member both break a privacy law? I don't feel it was inappropriate. Sales are based on referrals. My opinion is that there are some egos that obviously need to be stroked, but how to handle this is beyond me.
Your friend's boss and his wife are obviously more sensitive than most people about their privacy. Regardless, Mary Frye, president of the National Housewares Manufacturing Association, Rosemont, Ill., suggests the salesperson send a written apology and that the owner of the furniture showroom try to make amends.
The furniture retailer should contact your friend's boss and his wife and offer an apology for "unintentionally offending" them, Frye says.
He also should ask the angered customers, "What can we do to make it up to you?" A clever negotiator, Frye knows that most people will ask for less than what you might volunteer on your own. Furthermore, if the offended party does ask for more than you can deliver - for instance, if they want the offending salesperson fired - you have the option of saying, "No, I'm sorry I can't do that," and then offering a more palatable alternative.
In the future, the furniture showroom's salespeople should ask their customers for permission to mention their names to others. People "who never get asked for references will be flattered," Frye says. "And those who do mind will tell you, helping you to avoid further incidents in the future."