Showing posts with label what I'm reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label what I'm reading. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2022

WIRTW #644: the “whitewater” edition

"What's the first film you remember seeing?"

That’s the lead off question on each episode of Films to be Buried With — Brett Goldstein's (aka Ted Lasso's Roy Kent) podcast. Each episode is a long form interview of a celebrity in which they their life story through films. It's a podcast worth celebrating this International Podcast Day and all other 364 days of the year.

The first movie I remember seeing is Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, a 1977 Peanuts film in which the gang goes to summer camp and takes on a group of bullies in the annual river raft race.

I saw this film at the Woodhaven Mall with Uncle Ron and Aunt Rita … who were most definitely not my uncle and aunt. In fact, I had never met them before that day. I was four years old, and they ran a bus that took groups of kids to the movies during the summer. My parents paid to put their terrified four-year-old on a bus with two strangers to see a movie. I don't remember a thing about that film other than being completely freaked out on that bus and by the entire experience. In fact, it's the scariest movie I've ever seen about a river rafting trip. Thanks, Mom and Dad. 😞

What's the first film you remember seeing? Did it involve two strange adults picking you up at your house on a bus? Or was it an experience as memorable yet less creepy?

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, September 23, 2022

WIRTW #643: the “til I hear it from you” edition

It's been a busy week, both in the practice of law and in the recording of some podcasts for your listening pleasure.

As for the other half of The Norah and Dad Show, you can see her perform tonight at Baxter's Speakeasy in Akron and next Friday, Sept. 30, at The Olde Wine Cellar in Olmsted Falls. Both shows are free, although Baxter's has a one-drink minimum, and The Olde Wine Cellar would prefer if you buy a bottle of wine and a flatbread to consume while you enjoy the music.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, September 16, 2022

WIRTW #642: the “get off our backs” edition

Can you please get off our backs? By "our," I mean management-side labor lawyers. 

Let me explain.

I just finished listening to the latest episode of the 43-15 Podcast discussing the first group of Petco employees to attempt to organize into a labor union. The hosts were all over the "union busting lawyer" Petco hired to represent it and challenge the employees' organizing. His major sin: "Counseling many companies on labor strategy, union avoidance, and responding to union backed corporate campaigns." Heavens to Betsy, a lawyer doing … wait for it … his job.

Like any other attorney, management-side labor lawyers have a job to do and an ethical obligation to represent their clients zealously. Union organizing and recognition is a decided in an election, in which a majority of employees need to choose to unionize. What are employers supposed to do, roll over and let the union walk in unimpeded? As their lawyers we are simply playing our roll in this process. That's all. Is it adversarial? Sure. Does it sometimes get heated? Of course. But management is entitled to be represented just as do the employees seeking to unionize.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. That's all I'm saying.

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that I think you should be reading and listening to, too.

Friday, September 9, 2022

WIRTW #641: the “slim shady” edition

Guess who's back, back again…

After a semi-intentional summer break, The Norah and Dad Show — the podcast I host and produce along with my 16-year-old daughter — is back for Season 2. You find us everywhere podcasts are available, including Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, AmazonStitcher, and via our website. If you're new to the show, please make sure you go back and check out all of Season 1.

While I'm talking about Norah, she has some gigs coming up over the next several weeks: this Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Berea Arts Festival (from 2–3p); Sept. 23 at Baxter's Speakeasy in Akron supporting Chanilla and Sad Harris (8p); and September 30 at The Olde Wine Cellar (starting at 6p). All shows are free, although Baxter's does have a one-drink minimum. Please stop and say hello. 

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that I think you should be reading and hearing, too.

Friday, September 2, 2022

WIRTW #640: the “Wickens Workshop” edition

When you take over a practice group and are tasked with building it, you naturally have to think of ways to market and grow it. Presenting semi-regular seminars for clients, prospective clients, and referral sources was low hanging fruit. I can talk about employment law all day long. Just give me a topic, a microphone, and an audience, wind me up, and let me go to work. Thankfully, my cohorts in our Employment & Labor Practice Group feel the same way. 

Thus, Wickens Workshops were born. (Full credit to Matt Danese for the alliterative branding.) Our next event, discussing employee leave of absence issues, will take place on Oct. 20 from 8–10 am.

While imitation is always the sincerest form of flattery, sharing this idea with my co-workers is hardly imitation. It's just smart business. Thus, the Wickens Workshops branding has expanded to include our Business Restructuring & Bankruptcy and Intellectual Property practice groups, which will hold events on the mornings of Nov. 15 and Jan. 18, 2023, respectively. We now have a full-blown series of panel discussions covering a variety of legal areas and topics. 

I hope you can join us. Stay tuned for registration information for each of these events.

Also, if you'd like to hear me speak before our Oct. 20th Workshop, tune in to Lunch Conversations with Randy & Teddy on Wednesday, Sept. 7, from noon to 1 pm, when I'll be discussing all things labor and employment law.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, August 26, 2022

WIRTW #639: the “Gr8” edition

How does your organization help build collegiality among employees?

At my kids' school they do it in the Lower and Middle School with Family Groups, and in the Upper School with Houses (just like in Harry Potter, complete with a year-long House Cup competition). 

Each Family Group or House is comprised of a cross-grade mix of students. The goal is to build school spirit, classmate and faculty camaraderie, and student leadership skills.

One of the Middle School's best traditions is Community Building Days, two days of non-academic activities shortly after the start of the school year to help everyone get to know one another better. It always takes place on the Thursday and Friday of the second week of school (yesterday and today), and the entire Middle School sleeps over at school on Thursday night.

One additional rite of passage for the middle schoolers is what's known as "Gr8 Night." They sleep over at school for one additional night, the Wednesday night leading into Community Building Days, to further build their leadership skills and to decorate the Middle School in preparation for the arrival of the 6th and 7th graders the next day.

Yesterday morning, the 8th graders welcomed everyone driving onto campus (that's Donovan, in yellow on the left). He looked excited and happy, (relatively) well rested, and ready to tackle what the faculty has to throw at him over the next two days. I can't wait to hear all about it.

Employers, what are you doing to help build camaraderie and collegiality among your employees? The past two and a half pandemic years have been rough on workplace morale and teamwork. I'm curious to learn what you're doing to help bring back some of the sense of "team" that the pandemic and remote work stole from us? Drop a note in the comments below and I'll share some the best or more interesting ideas in a future post.

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that I think you should be reading and hearing, too.

Friday, August 19, 2022

WIRTW #638: the “DriveThru” edition

Episode 2 of Labor Relatedly, my new podcast endeavor with Mike VanDervort is live everywhere you listen to podcasts. In this episode we discuss the controversy surrounding the Deshaun Watson arbitration ruling, Chipotle writing a $20 million dollar check to settle a wage and hour case in New York, how the Duty of Fair Representation impacts the relationship between unions and employers, and what some common-sense labor law reform might look like.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, August 12, 2022

WIRTW #637: the “down on the farm” edition

I grew up in Philadelphia and attended City of Philadelphia public schools. My high school had 4,500 students and was surrounded by barbed wire fencing. In a lot of ways, it felt more like a prison than a school.

My kids attend cushy suburban private school. It's a luxury that I'm happy to be able to provide to them. They have a wooded 93-acre campus to explore, small class sizes, a unique curriculum not tied to state-mandated requirements, and now an actual farm that doubles as an outdoor experiential classroom. As far as I know it's the only such outdoor space in NE Ohio. 

Dubbed "Aspiration Acres," Lake Ridge Academy dedicated this new addition to our campus earlier this week. It has gardens, a silo, a barn, and a chicken coop with live chickens. Later this year the school will dedicate our new outdoor woodland all-purpose trail, complete with parkour obstacles and a sugar shack that will provide a permanent home for the 2nd the 5th graders' annual maple sugaring. 

For more information, I encourage you to visit

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, August 5, 2022

WIRTW #636: the “what the heck” edition

Another week, another podcast appearance. This week you can catch me on What the Heck is Happening in HR, discussing all things employee handbooks.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, July 29, 2022

WIRTW #635: the “larp” edition

Every now and again a story is so bizarre it's worth taking a minute to pause, reflect, and marvel. 

Let me introduce you to the 4th of July Larp, a group based out of Poland that spends its free time role-playing their view of 2022 America. It's … well, it's a thing. You'll have to check it out for yourselves to fully appreciate what's going on here. I'll leave it to you to judge how accurately they peg the current state of our country.

I do, however, have one bone to pick. And it's a big one. What's with the Cleveland Browns jersey? I think the Dallas Cowboys would be a much better representation of 'Murica than my hometown Browns.

Here's what I read this week that I think you should read, too.

Friday, July 22, 2022

WIRTW #634: the “%@$&*!” edition

Vacation 💑
I love trivia, even if it doesn't always love me back.

For example, in 1993 my collegiate trivia bowl team lost in the university finals. (For the record, I've always been more than suspicious of the fact that the winning team were fraternity brothers with the quiz master and knew the answer to nearly every question almost too quickly.)

In November 1999, I lacked the fastest fingers on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. ("Where's the proof," you ask? Here you go.)

Thus, when my niece asked if we wanted to do trivia night at a local winery during our visit last week, my answer was a resounding, "Yes!" (For the record, she had me at winery; trivia just provided the exclamation point.)

What's better than trivia night at a winery? Barnstorming into town and winning trivia night at a winery … which is exactly what we did. Correctly answering 16 out of 21 questions earned us a three-way tie for first place, which we broke by naming all seven dwarfs the quickest. 

Of the five questions we answered incorrectly, one stuck with me as the most interesting and obscure. So today I'm sharing it with you.
What is the word for a string of typographical symbols (such as %@$&*!) used in place of an obscenity, especially in comic strips?

Take your best guess in comments, and I'll provide the correct answer on Monday. No Googling!

Here's what I read and listened to this week and last week that I think you should be reading and listening to, too.

Friday, July 8, 2022

WIRTW #633: the “what I’m listening to” edition

I'm weird. I travel to my office for work every day possible. Not my "home office," but my actual office, inside my law firm, in a building with our name on it. Working in an office, as opposed to working remotely from my home, offers many benefits. I get to collaborate with and better know my co-workers. It fosters a sense of community and belonging within my business. It gets me out of my house (and t-shirts). And it provides a daily commute that enables me to listen to podcasts.

"Which podcasts," you ask? Here's my current Top 5 list (excluding any I've previously recommended to you).

1/ Films To Be Buried With — Hosted by Brett Goldstein (aka Ted Lasso's Roy Kent), each episode features a celebrity guest telling the story of their life through a history of movies (first movie they remember seeing, sexiest movie, best movie, etc.). It's always a compelling and entertaining listen, even when the guest is some British comedian I've never heard of. 

2/ Slow Burn — Each season of this podcast, produced by Slate, tackles, in long form, a political issue from our recent history. Past seasons examined Watergate, Bill Clinton's impeachment, Rodney King and the L.A. Riots, and David Duke. The current 7th season, which examines Roe v. Wade and the history of abortion legislation and politics, is an important listen in this specific time in our history.

3/ The Bittersweet Life — Ever wonder what it's like to live as an expat in a foreign country. This podcast, hosted by one current expat living in Rome and another who's since moved back to the States, makes a pretty compelling case to pitch it all and move to Europe.

4/ Ghost Church — Religion has always fascinated me. Not because I'm particularly religious (I'm not), but because I want to understand what draws others in. In this limited series, comedian Jamie Loftus (check out her other excellent show, My Year in Mensa) explores, investigates, and interrogates American spiritualism, a century-old tradition of communing with the dead that takes place in camps full of mediums. It's also quite funny without mocking this faith in the least.

5/ Things Fell Apart — I don't think I'm breaking any news by telling you that our country is in the midst of a significant culture war. This BBC podcast examines various pressure points that are currently ripping our country apart (e.g., abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, sex education) by talking to people on both sides of the front lines.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, July 1, 2022

WIRTW #632: the “it's been a week” edition

From the Supreme Court's opinion terminating the constitutional right to abortion … to other Supreme Court opinions allowing and endorsing the open carry of firearmsprayer in public schools, the public funding of religious schools, and global warming … to the grim details of the near end of our republic laid bare by the brave Congressional testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, it's been one hell of an exhausting, sad, and enraging week.

Weeks like this one demand a breather. So today, no law (other than the below list of links to read). Just music. 

Enjoy my daughter's cover of Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket", recorded live at her gig last weekend at Akronym Brewing. (She's quite the busy musician this summer; you'll find all of her upcoming gigs listed on her website, including upstate New York, on July 15.)

Everyone please have safe, relaxing, and peaceful holiday weekend, full of family, food, and frivolity. I'm not feeling particularly patriotic these days, but I'll nonetheless find a way enjoy my burgers, beer, and breather. 🍔 🍺 😌

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should read, too.

Friday, June 24, 2022

WIRTW #631: the “(not so) Good Ship BrewDog” edition

Job interview: "Are you planning on having kids? Do kids feature in your five-year plan? Because we want someone in this role for a minimum of five years."

Answer: "I've never wanted kids. Never have; never will. I've been told I probably can't have kids anyway."

Follow-up phone call: "You're the best candidate for the job. You're everything that we've been looking for. You'd be absolutely perfect for the role. But we need to clear things up with this whole 'kids' thing."

Answer: "I don't want them, it's not part of my plan, and I can't anyway."

Final conversation: "We can't hire you because of the whole 'marriage and babies' thing."

That what Alice Hayward claims happened to her at BrewDog when she applied for a promotion from bar work into a sales position, as reported by the BBC in the Good Ship BrewDog podcast. I've absolutely devoured this six-episode podcast over the past several days. (Bonus points for the narrator's lovely Scottish brogue.)

If you're curious about the damage that a toxic work culture can cause, I cannot more highly recommend this podcast. While the entire show is a master class in how not to manage employees, I thought episode 5 — which focuses on BrewDog's expansion into the U.S. — was the standout.

Good Ship BrewDog also underscores why I decided to become a beer lawyer. Our industry is cool, fun, and full of great people. Yet, there is still so much work to do.

Before I get to this week's list of links, I'll leave you with this thought I found on Instagram.
Regardless of how "hype" or "good" the beer is, stop supporting breweries … who perpetuate problem behavior.
Businesses have little financial incentive to cease misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and other problematic behavior if we who stand against it and believe it's dangerous and wrong keep supporting them with our wallets. 

Or, to put it another way (quoting Jim Vorel in Paste Magazine, from a recent story on another brewery, Tired Hands — more on their story next week): "If we look away, the beer world's sexism will always return to the status quo."

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, June 17, 2022

WIRTW #630: the “just like heaven” edition

I love sharing clips of my daughter playing music. It's made for such a cool catalogue of her growth as an artist over the years. So, here's a snippet of her cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven from her show a couple of weekends ago. 

Norah has quite the busy summer of music with gigs all over Northeast Ohio (and maybe even a gig or two outside of Ohio). Stay tuned for more clips as the summer progresses.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, June 10, 2022

WIRTW #629: the “podcast appearance” edition

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of appearing on the Decision Vision podcast. The topic of discussion: "Should I allow my company to unionize?"

In an answer that should surprise absolutely no one who's been reading along, my answer is a firm, "No."

Part of my reasoning is that I do not believe unions continue to provide a necessary and valuable service for the employees they represent.

You can listen to the full interview here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

While we're talking about podcasts, please don't forget to listen to this week's episode of The Norah and Dad Show, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, our website, and everywhere else podcasts are available. We discuss fructose malabsorption, the end of Norah's school year, her first gig of a very busy summer of music, Mexican food, sewer tweets, memes for Jesus, and Frustoseaid 88. 

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, June 3, 2022

WIRTW #628: the “summer tour” edition

Outdoor music season is beginning here in Northeast Ohio, which means that my daughter has a bunch of shows booked for the summer … starting this coming Sunday from 4 - 6 pm at Crocker Park.

You’ll find all of the specifics for all of the shows, including locations and, when available, performance times at Please stop by and say hello.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, May 27, 2022

WIRTW #627: the “you’re 16” edition

Everyone please wish my smart, compassionate, talented, beautiful, kick-ass daughter a happy 16th birthday!!!
Here's what I read this past week that I think you should read, too.

Friday, May 20, 2022

WIRTW #626: the “seminar/webinar” edition

If you're located in Northeast Ohio and don't have our upcoming Wickens Workshop on your calendar, why not? I, along with two of my colleagues, will be tackling the key wage and hour issues facing your business. We'll be joined by Mark D'Agostino of ConnectedHR, who will moderate the panel discussion

Here are the details:
  • When: Thurs., June 9
  • Light Breakfast: 8 am
  • Program: 8:30 - 10 am
  • Location: Main Event Avon, 35605 Chester Road
  • Cost: Free
Space is limited. Register here by June 2.

If you're not in Northeast Ohio, or you're also looking for a virtual event to attend, on Wednesday, May 26, from 11a - noon, I'll be presenting the webinar Think Before You Click for HR Acuity, discussing the legal and practical impact of social media on your workplace. This webinar is also free. Register here. Bonus: HR Acuity will donate $10 for each person who registers to the Global Giving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund and the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Here's what I read this past week that you should be reading, too.

Friday, May 13, 2022

WIRTW #625: the “war on women” edition

How do you support your female employees amid times of great uncertainty about the continued viability of their reproductive rights and body autonomy? 

On the heels on Justice Alito's leaked majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, Levi Strauss & Co. published on its website the following statement.

As the pandemic has shown so clearly, public health issues are workplace issues. Business leaders are responsible for protecting the health and well-being of our employees, and that includes protecting reproductive rights and abortion access.…

Under our current benefits plan, Levi Strauss & Co. employees are eligible for reimbursement for healthcare-related travel expenses for services not available in their home state, including those related to reproductive health care and abortion. There is also a process in place through which employees who are not in our benefits plan, including part-time hourly workers, can seek reimbursement for travel costs incurred under the same circumstances.

Given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard and act to protect the health and well-being of our employees. That means protecting reproductive rights.

Levi Strauss joins other notable employers such as Amazon, Citigroup, Salesforce, and Yelp in covering employees' abortion-related travel expenses. I say bravo! 

Those are employers' responses. What about the response of a 15-year-old this opinion directly impacts? How does she feel about the Supreme Court taking away her reproductive rights and body autonomy? Listen to this week's episode of The Norah and Dad Show to find out. It's available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Stitcher, through your browser, and everywhere else you find podcasts.

(For more about the legal issues raised by the leaked opinion, I highly recommend Marc Alifanz's and Kate Bischoff's deep dive on the most recent episode of their Hostile Work Environment podcast.)

Here's what else I read and listened to this past week that I think you should be, too