You have an important role at your company and are responsible for several aspects of the business.  From hiring decisions and personnel issues to staying on track and under budget –being a manager or supervisor is not easy (and your workload is often underappreciated by your staff).  So how do you juggle it all and stay sane? 

Being in a leadership position, you may feel as though you are expected to have the “answers” to every employee question or crisis that comes up.  You’re not alone.  Regardless of the industry, several managers are in your same shoes and need a source where they can pose a question… and get advice they can act on.

That’s where Anita Clew comes in.  With decades of experience in employment services, Anita can offer insightful “clues” about hiring, firing, and everything in between.

Got a question?  Anita’s got answers.

Submit your posts here! 

39 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heather
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 11:55:54

    Hi Anita,
    I manage a small family owned Paint Your Own Pottery Studio, we have an employee that we have caught numerous times not preforming her daily duties. She sits around on her iPad, phone, or the company computer. She has been told and received multiple warnings against this, but the problem is getting worse. Then we realized that one night she left the front door unlocked, the open sign on, and all the lights in the business on. When my other employee came in to open the next morning, she was 15 minutes early and there were already customer in and walking around. We watched the tapes from the night before to be sure that was what had happened and to ensure that nothing had been stolen. What we saw shocking. The employee was scheduled to work from 3pm-7pm (or 8pm depending if we had painters working on projects) from 3pm-5:30pm another employee was there and you can see both of them working. At 6pm, said employee walks and sits down behind the counter, appears to be watching tv on her iPad and is working on her own art piece. All of which takes place while there were close to 10 customers in the studio, at different times on the tape you can see and hear customers ask employee for assistance and she instructs them or points from her chair at the register instead of walking over and actually helping. The last customer was checked out at 7:15, this can be confirmed by the surveillance tapes, the register, and the credit card machine. At that time you can see employee sit there working on her personal project and messing with her iPad until 8pm. At that time she gets up and begins cleaning the studio and preparing to close, after closing duties were finished, she comes back and works on her personal piece and then cleans that up, clocks out and leaves. Her time card was stamped 9:30pm. She never locks the front door! Meaning the studio was ‘open’ from 9:30pm to 11am the next morning. At 9am the next morning people are seen coming into the studio, they leave after realizing no one is there. Again at 9:45am people come in, we can see them behind the counter and messing with the register, but they can not seem to get it open and they leave. More people come in at 10:30am and stay until our employee gets there at 10:45am.
    Needless to say, the employee has been fired, but I do have a couple questions.
    1)- Do I have to pay her for the time that she clearly was not working? She sat there from 6 until 9:30pm, doing NOTHING! To be fair she did do her closing duties, but that is only 15 minutes worth of work, but her daily checklist was only half touched. She should have clocked out at 7:30pm the latest. So she sat there for 1.5hrs that we were open expecting to be paid and then another 2 hours after we should have been closed! So do I have to legally pay her for the time on her time card?
    2)- After seeing people in the studio during unopen hours and seeing someone messing with the register has me very concerned! Can she be held liable for the cost of changing the locks? I know that she didn’t mean to leave the door unlocked but at the same time I am now having to change all of the locks in the studio since she has been fired. I can account for everything in the studio and there was no actual loss, but there could have been? Can I withhold the locksmith fee from her last check?
    Thanks, PS we are in South Carolina.


    • anitaclew
      Aug 20, 2015 @ 15:21:42

      Heather, I don’t have a law degree, so I won’t advise you on what’s legal in South Carolina. My advice, though, is just pay her for her final shift (even though she was lazy and “shiftless”) and call it a day. The locksmith fees are an unfortunate cost of doing business (it could just as easily been you or another hard-working employee who forgot to lock up). The takeaway: Perhaps you should have let this employee go sooner. Of course, you should follow proper termination steps by documenting the warnings. Here’s an article that may help: I’d say your video evidence of the “final straw incident” is pretty compelling.


  2. LaDawn
    Mar 30, 2015 @ 09:18:41

    Dear Anita,

    I am the Office Manager of a small business where I am the only woman in the office. Many of the Franchise Owners of our business come into the office for various reasons and some of the men, when they greet me call me “love” or “beautiful”. While I live in the South and realize that this is an acceptable way for many people to speak to one another, it makes me feel VERY uncomfortable when they do this, especially in the workplace. I have spoken to the General Manager about this and he sees it as inappropriate as well, however the owner says “It’s just our culture.” (most of them are African American and I am Caucasian). How do I handle this without sounding like it’s a racial issue? It’s not, I can assure you that, I just feel that such terms are very inappropriate for the workplace.


    • anitaclew
      Mar 30, 2015 @ 15:55:20

      Miss Anita is a teensy bit jealous because my days of hearing, “Hello, Beautiful” are behind me! Seriously, it may be a southern thing or a generational proclivity. Try not to let it ruffle your feathers unless it turns into harassment. You may be able to nip it in the bud with some good-natured teasing: “You’ve known me how long, and you still can’t remember my name?”


  3. Steve
    Dec 17, 2014 @ 08:21:22

    Its always difficult moving into new jobs, I hate the long term employees who are jealous that you got the job, and not them.


  4. Alfredo Montes
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 11:37:09

    I thank you so much for your advice, I will act right away. I do have the proper documentation to show that she added more than 8 hours to her punch time that she actually not worked. I appreciate your advice and help.


  5. Alfredo Montes
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 06:57:20

    Hello Anita. I am a dentist who recently hired a person for the position of schedule manager. She has been with me for about 2 months, so far she has been created a lot of problems due too poor performance. Last week I addressed these issues and she got upset and defensive. I told her that would be better to talk after the weekend. She didn’t come to work stating she has pneumonia. I have been trying to contact with no luck. I found yesterday that someone broke into our protected software, I am the only one who authorizes changes since I am the owner of the practice. I was able to find out that it was her who broke in and change the password restrictions allowing herself to have access to do changes in everything like collections, time punch, etc. Well I was able to verify that she didn’t come to work last Friday ( I only work from Monday through Wednesday in my office. Thursday and Friday I work in another office as an associate). She punch in at 3:45 pm but changed that to 7:36 am and then added 8 hours to the punch time like if she was here. the change and the added hours were done between 3:45 PM to 3:51 PM. Is this considered a fraud? How could I use this to dismiss her from the office and protect myself from her as I know she is planning to file for unemployment? I know she has been only two months and probably wont affect me too much if she files for unemployment but my premium will rise a couple of hundred dollars per month. I will appreciate your advise and help.


    • anitaclew
      Dec 10, 2014 @ 10:16:49

      Alfredo, I don’t have a legal degree, but this sounds like fraud to me. If you do not employ an HR manager, you may wish to consult with an employment attorney to ensure proper documentation. But do it quickly – letting a dishonest employee go may be nipping a potentially larger problem (like embezzlement) in the bud. I would also work with someone in IT to ensure no one can log in again to take precautions for the future.


  6. Carol
    Oct 02, 2014 @ 08:20:08

    Hi, Anita. I am a manager over 11 employees. I believe I am well-respected by them and my authority is clear. Lately I noticed that my employees are no longer asking me to take vacation but TELLING me when they will be out. In the past it seems they were more courteous and asked for the time off. After all, it’s called a vacation request right? Not vacation demand. I never say no but would appreciate the courtesy of being asked. Am I being too old school?


    • anitaclew
      Oct 03, 2014 @ 11:45:23

      I see both sides of the situation. On the one hand, your employees do earn their vacation time. But the “entitlement generation” can sometimes take this benefit for granted. I certainly think the proper way to obtain your vacation time is to email your supervisor with a request. Mention that you are trying to make plans around a certain time period and would like to see if you can take that time off. Be aware of busy time periods, and try to make plans far enough in advance so critical projects won’t be assigned to you during your absence. Carol, when you receive a vacation “demand,” you may want to respond with something like, “I’ve checked the department calendar, and as long as X project is covered, the time period you’re requesting should work fine. Please provide me with a status on all of your projects the week before you leave so that we may delegate any needed tasks.” Perhaps this will help the employee see the big picture and not just focus on their vacation selfies.


  7. RPD
    May 27, 2014 @ 10:01:32

    Hi Anita Clew,

    Took a job that looked good from the outside looking in, found the work place was micro managed by the Owner who has too many Micro Managers that need to report to him through E-mail or phone calls since he lives in a different state then where his businesses are located.

    One of his managers always over reacts to minor issues and blows them up so they do have to be held accountable for these issues. Last week I was thrown under the bus because of this and lose my job over it, even though I was one of the better employees that did my job, adding value to the company’s bottom line, and was a team player. I was able to negotiate some separation benefits, but feel that even with my parting that because of the micro management that anyone working for that company will see a similar fate of a negative work place environment, causing one to watch your back.

    I was actual happy when I was told I was done, considering myself lucky not giving them the chance to mess with my self-worth or mind. Sometimes it better to leave for all those concerned.


    • anitaclew
      May 27, 2014 @ 10:16:51

      Hopefully, you’ll be able to see red flags before accepting another position, but that is not always the case. Best of luck in your next job!


  8. Natasha
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 03:31:57

    Hello I saw your website and had a few questions about something I am going through with my job. I am a salaried employee for a portrait studio in New Jersey, the company is based out of Colorado. I was told we need to clock in to manage our time, which I didn’t understand because I am on salary and I’ve been doing things for the studio even when I wasn’t psychically in the studio. I am currently suspended pending an investigation. My bosses are claiming I have been stealing time, that I have my associates clock me in and I am never at the studio. Now in all honesty I have had them clock me in only if I was 5-10 mins late but I always showed up.
    I just wanted to know what my rights were and if I could do anything. I am supposed to have a conference call with my bosses to let me know the outcome of their investigation on Wednesday the 12th.
    I would greatly appreciate it if you can give me some advice on my situation.
    Thank you,


    • anitaclew
      Feb 10, 2014 @ 15:11:38

      Natasha, This problems seems to boil down to whether or not you are a salaried or hourly employee. Do you have any documentation from when you were hired stating this? I think the meeting will be a good thing to clarify your exempt or non-exempt status. If you do find that you are hourly, then you can expect overtime if you work more than 40 hours in a week. I would suggest reaching out to your company’s human resources department/person, if that is different from the person(s) you will be meeting with soon. Depending on the outcome of your powwow, you may with to consult an attorney specializing in employment law for far better advice than I can give you in a blog comment. I hope this works out for you!


  9. Betsy Wills
    Dec 03, 2013 @ 00:34:59

    Dear Anita,
    As a career counselor who has written a number of programs for helping people navigate their careers, I believe the future of career management is poised to change dramatically. Onet, developed by the Department of Labor over the past 10 years has mapped a taxonomy of aptitudes against each job description allowing individuals to find their best fit. Rather than blindly consuming VERY EXPENSIVE educations and ending up at the end with no direction or job, if one begins with an understanding of their innate abilities, they can better target and achieve good FIT. is providing that breakthrough. See what you think.


    • anitaclew
      Dec 03, 2013 @ 08:25:06

      Thank you, Betsy. I took a look at I like the “Focus” advanced search that helps you explore occupations that suit your interest, work values, etc. Couple that with browsing “Find Occupations” that have a bright outlook, or are in a specific industry (such as the green economy sector), and this becomes a valuable tool.


  10. JoAnne
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 09:19:56

    Dear Anita;
    I recently took a job as a Branch Manager of an non-profit organization. Most of the employees have worked for this company for as little as 1 year to as much as 20 years. Two of the long term emplyees applied for the position I now hold, but were not selected for the position. The question? How do I gain their trust and support? I am learning the business as fast as I can, and was hired because of my past performance in the community in a similar position. This is a small very close knit group, and I respect that, however, gaining that trust and respect from them has turned out to be a challenge.


  11. d reynolds
    Sep 08, 2012 @ 06:41:26

    if you posted something and wanted to delete it, how do you unpost ?


    • anitaclew
      Sep 10, 2012 @ 09:36:13


      Unfortunately, it is not possible to edit or delete any comments you have left on Job Talk with Anita Clew or WordPress blogs. Blog owners are in full control of the comments on their blogs.

      If you do leave a comment that you wish to have deleted, please contact me by leaving another comment or by emailing me directly at


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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