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

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

Friday, May 6, 2022

WIRTW #624: the “it’s snot okay” edition

Earlier this week our country officially passed 1 million Covid-19 deaths. According to the World Health Organization, Covid's full death toll is three times higher than officially reported.

Whether the actual number is 1 million or 3 million, it's an awful milestone and a grim reminder that Covid is still out there, mutating and circulating in the community. Indeed, Covid numbers are rising nationwide, with some counties and even entire states moving back into the "high transmission" category after a short restbite. 

You'd think after two-plus years of pandemic living, people would know the rules of Covid-19 road. For example, the importance of practicing good hygiene habits and not sneezing directly into the palm of your hand

Some people, however, appear not to have received this message. For example, consider the cashier at a local Skechers store that Norah and I visited last weekend. All we wanted to do was buy her a pair of comfortable shoes to wear to her new job. Instead, we got this nasty encounter.

🤧 💦 🖐️ 🦠 😳 🤢 

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

Friday, April 29, 2022

WIRTW #623: the “blocked” edition

I've probably written more about labor organizing over the past six months than in the prior six years (or longer) combined. It's a testament to the cultural significance of Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and all of the other high-profile union campaigns happening all over the country.

Every time I post something remotely anti-union, I'm appalled by the number of personal attacks I receive from pro-union advocates. I've been called a corporate shill, stupid, a lousy lawyer, and worse. 

Guess what? You're not my audience. I'm a management-side lawyer. I'm not writing to you. I'm writing to and for business owners. I don't expect you to agree with me, nor do I care if you do. But I do expect that we should be able to have a civil conversation about the issues. When you attack me personally, that civil conversation cannot happen. It will also get you blocked, so why bother?

I will not engage with anyone who demeans or attacks me. But please, by all means keep making yourselves look bad. You're only undermining your own position and helping me reinforce mine.

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

Friday, April 15, 2022

WIRTW #621: the “on the radio” edition

How do I know that labor unions are making raging comeback? Historically, my posts on unions, union organizing, and union avoidance would struggle on LinkedIn to break 1,000 views and would only garner a handful of likes and comments. Over the past few weeks, however, my posts on the dramatic and successful rise in union organizing have been viewed well over 100,000 times with hundreds upon hundreds of likes, comments, and shares. It's an issue that has raised passion on both sides.

How else do I know? Because my social and news feeds are full of stories about union organizing. I think I've read more stories about labor unions in the past 18 months than I did in the first two decades of my legal practice combined.

Yesterday, it was my pleasure to appear on Labor Relations Radio to discuss all of these issues. We covered the reasons for the rise in union organizing, why I'm anti-union (but pro-employee), the use of salts in the Amazon and Starbucks campaigns, and the NLRB's general counsel's Cemex brief, which calls for the NLRB to alter rules on mandatory card check recognition, the elimination of captive audience speeches, and other issues that will dramatically tilt the organizing playing field even more in favor of the unions than it already is.

You can listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

A huge thank you to Peter List for inviting me on his show. 

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

Friday, April 8, 2022

WIRTW #620: the “straws” edition

Do you know? Non-plastic straws, such as those made of paper or plant material, can include wheat as a binder? Norah discovered this fact after we returned from our recent family Spring Break vacation to Hollywood, Florida. Her brother, Donovan, who has Celiac Disease, got glutened on our trip and we couldn’t figure out the source. 

Now we have a pretty good idea. Good catch Norah!

Hear all about the rest of our Spring Break on this week's episode of The Norah and Dad Show, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Here's what I read the past two weeks that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, March 25, 2022

WIRTW #619: the “update” edition

To wrap things up this week, I thought I'd update two stories.

1/ UCLA Unpaid Job Posting

In addition to taking down the offensive job posting, UCLA tweeted this update.

Had UCLA included some of this reasonable explanation as part of its job posting, it could have avoided being excoriated online.

2/ Brienne Allan

Brienne, now of Brave Noise Beer, recently appeared on the Good Beer Hunting podcast to discuss what her year has been like since her Instagram post asking for stories about sexual harassment and gender discrimination in craft breweries went viral. It's a great listen. My takeaway (which will be fodder for a future post): Is your business an ally, or are you just afraid of being canceled?

I'm taking a much-needed vacation next week. I'll be back on April 4 with fresh content for y'all. Try not to miss me too much.

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

Friday, March 18, 2022

WIRTW #618: the “o sole mio” edition

Over the years I've shared a lot of videos of my daughter performing. At the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. At Ohio Bike Week. At the Best of Cleveland Party. On stage with Roger Waters. On stage with Rhett Miller. A lot of videos. (I'm a proud dad. What can I say?)

Here's another, albeit of a very different kind of vocal performance.

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

Friday, March 11, 2022

WIRTW #617: the “drive-thru” edition

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of guesting on DriveThruHR, one of the oldest and (in my opinion) best HR radio shows/podcasts. We discussed the end of my pandemic practice, the start of my craft beer practice, how alcohol is in my blood (and not in the way you might think), the sudden and successful rise of the labor movement, and some worst employers. Thanks to Mike VanDervort for the invite, and Mike and Robin Schooling for the discussion. 

You can listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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