September 24th, 2012

Let’s Talk with Kalola: “Big Box” Legal

Let’s Talk with Kalola, where targets can share their experiences with WBI’s blog readers. Here we go!

Dear Kalola,

I was working at “a big box store”. I was the only person in the legal department that worked for 6 people. They changed their filing strategies which exponentially increased the amount of work that I had to do. I had one paralegal that would take on more than she could handle, she needed the control factor, and most of it ran down to me. I was creating paper and computer files, scanning, copying, filing in both areas and I was doing a great job keeping up with things, until this paralegal got behind on all her work. Then it became my problem.

This paralegal would stockpile files that I was denied access to, the other paralegals let me go into their offices to find files that I needed with no problems whatsoever. She had over ten boxes of files in her office along with stacks in file cabinets, on the floor and her desk. She missed docket dates and I got the blame. After I complained, she came in over a weekend and cleaned out her office and then transferred all of these into my office. Her inability to keep up set me so far behind. I was allowed to come in over a couple of weekends to catch-up. Then that was put to a halt because this paralegal did not want me in the office on the weekends she came in. It was so devastating to me that my doctor pulled me from work for four months. They brought in a full-time temporary when I was out and had four other assistants in our department doing my job when I was out. Well as soon as I came back to work, I was put on an Work Improvement Plan. I was given tests by this temporary to disqualify me, but passed these with flying colors. My boss then told me that maybe I should consider just quitting “to save face”, to which I refused.

Human Resources was a complete and total joke – they are there only for the company. They did absolutely nothing to help me, as a matter of fact, everything I told them was happening they did not believe me but believed my boss who discredited everything. I had several witnesses!!!! HR even asked me to just quit – to make things easier. I refused – I was asked to quit at least 5 times. I was not going to give in and I did not. I eventually was “let go” in 2009.

I am still unemployed and have recently found out that they are giving me a bad reference. I have consulted with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, but have found out that the lies that they documented during all of this, they can actually reveal to prospective employers as truthful. So what can I do??? I am still unemployed and am 56 years old. My mental health has suffered greatly and needless to say I feel worthless. I know this is all false, but they retain the power to effect my life and I want it to stop. Any advice – anybody??????


Dear Tess,

You have been out of work since 2009, and recently learned that your former employer is giving you a bad employment reference. If you don’t know what the employer is saying, you may want to consider hiring a reference-checking service to find out exactly what the former employer is saying about you.  After you have a report from the reference-checking service, show the report to a labor and employment attorney.  The attorney can tell you whether he can or cannot write a “cease and desist” letter.  An employer can give a bad employment reference as long as what they say is factually true.  An attorney can write a “cease and desist” letter to the employer if the employer is saying false things about you.

You have been unemployed for three years.  Some suggestions:

  • Register at a temporary employment agency.  Temporary work can sometimes lead to full-time work.  You may be substituting for a worker that is on a medical leave, on vacation, or until the employer can find a replacement worker for an open position.  Temporary workers are often used when the employer needs extra staff to complete projects or during periods of heavy workloads.  Temporary work will help you to maintain your job skills, and/or learn new job skills while on the job.  Try a temporary job doing other types of office work.  It is an opportunity to find work that might be more interesting and/or challenging than the work you have done in the past.  Even though the job is a temporary job, treat the job as if it were a full-time regular job.  Be professional, and do the very best job that you possibly can do.  By doing a great job, an employer may not have a full-time opening right now but may remember that person that did an exceptionally great job for them when they needed temporary help.
  • Consider taking night classes at your local public community college.  Should you find a day job, you can still continue to take the night class that you have enrolled in.  Try to enroll in a regular class versus an on-line class, the benefit is that you will meet new people.  If it has been awhile since you have taken classes, just enroll in one class and pledge to yourself that you will complete the class no matter what. You can train for a new job/profession by learning new skills, update and maintain your job skills, or take a class that you have always wanted to take but had no time to take.  As an enrolled student, you can obtain free career counseling, get help in updating your résumé, and utilize the student job placement office to find jobs.  Graduates of colleges and universities often can utilize the career center, and job placement offices at their former schools without paying a fee.
  • Consider volunteer work.  Volunteer work can fill a void on your résumé.  An employer would be interested to see what you’ve been doing while you were between jobs.  Volunteer work can be very rewarding, and helping others feels good.  Doing charitable work shows integrity and character.  Where can you volunteer?  There are many opportunities to do volunteer work in the community that you live such as local food pantries, soup kitchens, volunteering as a docent at your local park, volunteering in schools or at your local library, etc. To find volunteer opportunities do an internet search by typing in the search box:  “volunteer opportunities in (type in name of city/state or county/state)”.
  • Register at LinkedIn at:  The website has tips on how to best utilize LinkedIn to find a job.  Sign-up for the free version of LinkedIn.
  • By getting yourself out and about, you will meet new people.  Meeting others will give you an opportunity to network.  Be sure to tell everyone you know, family and friends, that you are looking for work.
  • Check out job fairs.  When attending a job fair, dress professionally with an updated résumé in hand.
  • Your state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development offers help for worker’s who are unemployed.  (For our readers from other states—Do an internet search on “(state name) Department of Employment”.)  For Minnesota, the website is:

During a job interview, do not badmouth your former employer.  Keep what you say about the former job short and simple.  No one will want to hire you if you are badmouthing your former employer.

Above all, do not give up.


I hope that our readers will also write in with their own tips or suggestions that helped them find a job.




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This entry was posted on Monday, September 24th, 2012 at 11:43 am and is filed under Let's Talk with Kalola, Target Tale, Tutorials About Bullying. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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