Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

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Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:41 pm

I worked for free as a Paralegal intern this summer when I took a Paralegal Practicum at my local college for an internship. I started getting some cash for some of the work I did, like one day I came in on the holiday and worked past five and was given $100 and told to go out and have a good dinner.

At the conclusion of the internship, I sat down with my supervisor/attorney boss who noted to wanting to keep me on staff because I did such a great job and have a lot of dedication and good work ethic. I tried to describe and hint indirectly at "no" as an answer to an offer, but when I did, the guy did not take no for an answer. He insisted that I could find some time even on the weekend or "here and there" as I continued my studies to do his legal research at my law library on campus, since I live on campus in an apartment.

So fast forwarding, because I needed the money and a friend of mine is dying from terminal Leukemia and having a benefit event in the fall, I took the job. My internship for "free" was from June-Aug 1, 2009. Fast forwarding, to the first week in September, when I quit the job. Here's why: Like a week and a half before I quit, we had a "staff meeting" where other workers who had been there longer (one 2 years and another with over 15 yrs exp as a paralegal but there since March as a new hire) to cut their hours or cut their pay because he has new staff aboard, and then he described all the financial issues of the firm, mainly that this economy is tough and his clients aren't paying the firm. The firm practiced immigration law. Most of the clients were deadbeats that broke the law, illegally were here to begin with, and probably were deported back to where they came from. Plus the firm did not do debt collection. I was asked with the other two part time coworkers to spend our time also coming in on our days off to do "prayer meetings" with our boss. This seemed well inappropriate to me for him to suggest to us. He chastised us for the office productivity blunders and then at the same time suggested that we all start calling these deadbeat clients to see if we can get them to pay, which due to the part time nature of our jobs, would not be easy to do with the work loads we already seemed to carry. One employee offered to do this in her free time at home.

The more time I spent there, I realized the personality of the attorney changed. The attorney became increasingly agitated by how unproductive work was there compared to what he claims he paid us--$9/hr for one employee--I still have yet to be paid. He was also unwilling to compromise to improve the office by updating technology. His computers were highly infected with viruses, to the point we couldn't print files due to the corruptness or open the internet. He lacked virus software and also had no software to do case management or calendaring. We were all blammed as workers for his failures to tell us deadlines and for us to remind him to pick up or drop dragging files. He's gotten into trouble with the courts for deadline issues. I was also shocked as I continued that it seemed the attorney was skipping out on paying expenditures, like $500 for an air conditioning system, and after two months from July through August of his skipping out on paying by making us paralegals take the calls and say he wasn't there, I started to get the picture of debt issues. If he can't pay those guys, would I be paid?

After providing my resignation letter, we had a meeting with my other co-worker, who ironically, was not getting paid for 15 hours work that month. The attorney in this meeting re-extended his initial offer of just doing something here and there, like his research in the library, describing my excellent research skills. The more likely case, in my opinion, was that he was wanting me to use my West Law Password inappropriately; many of the assignments that he gave me to research this summer were beyond the abilities of a normal entry level paralegal let alone a student in training. I also did not use West Law and had no password. I replied no to his re-offer.

I put in 72 work hours in Aug. while everyone else was paid on staff, I was handed $200 and told it is still my "stipend" for the 'good job' I did over the summer and hopefully we can pay me 'next month.' I put in 82 hours, including my resignation period in September, total including August time. About a week or so later, after my co-worker found she was not paid for hours worked, I drafted out my resignation letter and turned it in, which surprisingly made my boss furious! Before I turned it in, my boss continued with pet names that he had been calling me throughout the summer. He used to call me just "Honey" and "Young Lady" but now he was calling me "Baby Girl" and "Beautiful Girl." I do not dress inappropriate; I usually wore just pants and a nice t-shirt, nothing showing any, if we're clear on that. This kind of influenced my decision to quit.
My letter of resignation did not mention any of the problems of course. It was nice, but it mentioned that I could not work in an environment (based on info from our staff meeting) where others have to be shortchanged, just so I could have a job. In truth, I knew I could not work on an I.O.U. basis, since I have my own bills and I felt as a young enterprising college student that I deserved to make at least minimum wage.

Here's the real hitting point: I did research. I found out my boss is a deadbeat dad who was ordered to pay thousands of dollars in child support just when he graduated and started practicing law, and he has been sued by court services like mediation entities and several other businesses for failure to pay in violation of a contract. This scared the crap out of me. Why? I thought, if he hadn't paid all these people, what makes me think all this work I'm putting in is for something?
I am young, naive, and now have to answer LSAC Law School applications, why I quit a job after a month there. Any ideas how to phrase this rather interesting experience?

Yes, this job was a VERY poor experience. Did I learn something? Sure. Will I get paid? Probably Not. It's like asking a Magic 8 ball for an answer at this point. I feel like as a young person just starting out how naive I was, but then I also start looking at these law school applications and wonder how to list this monster on the resume. It will be on my transcript, so not putting it on a resume would raise eyebrows. I was going to put Paralegal Intern, the months and years and then below it Paralegal Aug-Sept and then next to it "(Offer Re-Extended)." Does that look like I'm lying? Trying to hide something?

There...I said it. I feel better already. I'm not one to ask for a lot of advice. :wink:

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Corsair
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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby Corsair » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:45 am

..

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lsatsurvivor
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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby lsatsurvivor » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:55 am

Sucks you had such a bad experience. So when the boss got pissed when you quit... did you guys ever make amends? If you need to have the experience on your resume, maybe you should meet with him to sweeten him up first while you're asking if it's OK to put him as a reference.

Otherwise, don't put him as a reference but still list the work experience. I seriously doubt they'll call the office if he's not listed as a reference. If you need someone from this job on your reference list, maybe you could list a former co-worker.

...does that make sense?

Edit: Dunno if law-related resumes are different, though. Haven't gone to law school yet. But just my 2 cents.

linquest
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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby linquest » Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:03 am

Don't worry about this. At all. Such short stints of employment/internships are extremely common with college students and recent grads, so I doubt the timeframe would raise an eyebrow. There's no reason why you need to explain the circumstances of your leaving on law school apps. Law school admissions offices simply don't have the time to verify employment anyway.

Just list the dates and responsibilities like you would any other job on your resume. This really isn't an issue with law school admissions, but it may be an issue for the Bar (character and fitness screening) if there's a discrepancy between your school app and the bar admission app.

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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:20 pm

linquest wrote:Don't worry about this. At all. Such short stints of employment/internships are extremely common with college students and recent grads, so I doubt the timeframe would raise an eyebrow. There's no reason why you need to explain the circumstances of your leaving on law school apps. Law school admissions offices simply don't have the time to verify employment anyway.

Just list the dates and responsibilities like you would any other job on your resume. This really isn't an issue with law school admissions, but it may be an issue for the Bar (character and fitness screening) if there's a discrepancy between your school app and the bar admission app.


The law schools I see require you to list "reason for leaving." ALSO do I just call myself an "intern" or does that tend to be deceptive?

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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:21 pm

Corsair wrote:Was the sept. stuff through the school as well, or just the summer?

Personally I'd just list it. Odds are no one will ever contact that employer for anything, ever. But you don't have to list why you resigned.


The Aug/Sept stuff was on my own, not for school.

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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:54 pm

Am i missing something here, because I am yet to see Law school application asking for leaving your employment?

linquest
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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby linquest » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:58 pm

Just simply put "resigned". I don't see why you'd have to go into any more detail than that. If anyone asks further about it (which I doubt they will) you can just tell them that you resigned because it wasn't paid or that you weren't paid according to your agreement, without going into all the other crap. (BTW- think you might consider complaining to the Dept. of Labor- Wage & Hour Div on that.) Were you never given a job title? I don't see how doing this:
put Paralegal Intern, the months and years and then below it Paralegal Aug-Sept
would be deceptive.



Am i missing something here, because I am yet to see Law school application asking for leaving your employment?


Yeah, I've never seen it either, but I suppose a school could ask that if it's in a state with a particularly picky C&F app.

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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:08 pm

linquest wrote:Just simply put "resigned". I don't see why you'd have to go into any more detail than that. If anyone asks further about it (which I doubt they will) you can just tell them that you resigned because it wasn't paid or that you weren't paid according to your agreement, without going into all the other crap. (BTW- think you might consider complaining to the Dept. of Labor- Wage & Hour Div on that.) Were you never given a job title? I don't see how doing this:
put Paralegal Intern, the months and years and then below it Paralegal Aug-Sept
would be deceptive.


I was not really given an exact title. We didn't have a specific discussion. I was not really interested in the job, but ende up doing it because of a friend of mine with Cancer is having an October benefit. We also did not have a clear conversation on wages. Usually, when you are hired on after an internship, they realize that it isn't a nonpay kind of thing. He appearently knew he was screwing me over because my coworker said that after our meeting he said to her that he thinks he "burned a bridge" with me. He also said in our meeting that he would be calling me to discuss my hours. He has yet to call me and its the end of September.

Yeah, probably not getting paid by him, but based on our side conversations about my hours, I should have been expecting a paycheck. At least a little something. I wasn't greedy, but as someone with one term left to the bachelors degree, something no one else at the law firm was close to getting, I felt like I should at least make minimum wage. As it was, only getting $200 in cash handed to me in Aug with 72 hours in, would be like $2/hour. I realized too little too late that this was not the dream opportunity for a student.

I was thinking I could file for unemployment but you have to work there longer. MN does things differently than some other states. You are allowed to quit for a good reason. I didn't want to apply for that if this employer would get the info that I applied for that though. This is tough.

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Re: Listing a bad employer on a resume? Cheapskate the Boss...

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:34 pm

This is my opinion.

I think you have nothing to worry about. You were clearly involved in a sticky situation, but haven’t we all been at some point in our lives. As a female I can state that I had jealous managers etc. that I had to deal with on a daily basis. If C&F was to call my employment from when I was 18 do you honest to god think this person would give them a good review? How many times did we resign from a job due to the unusual circumstance that has presented it self-you know how many stories a day I hear from friends that go through the same/alike thing that you’re going through now?




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