Learn from the Past to Plan the Future

Let’s start with a common example: Communication between you and a co-worker has recently deteriorated. It started as a difference of opinion about how to proceed on a project. Then it became personal. Now you want to know how to address the problem and move past it. 

1. Put the Conversations Back in Context.

  • What are the expectations for you with this project? What about them? What would happen for you if this project didn’t work out well? What about them?
  • When you interact with the other person, what are the goals of those conversations? What needs to be communicated? What decisions need to be made? Reported to whom?  

2. Learn Valuable Lessons From History.

  • Have you witnessed this person in an argument before? What happened? What can you learn from that experience?
  • How have ou dealt with tension with this person before? What was the result?
  • What is your normal “go-t0” response for situations like this one. Is that response appropriate here?

Understanding the context and history helps you stay grounded in the conversation.  Make a plan focused on the information and decisions needed to do your work.

Do you need more help? Tailored for you or your business? Call us! 917-819-5656.

How To Talk Your Way Out of An Argument: Ask Questions!

Some people joke that arguments would be shorter if the other person would just admit they're wrong. And no matter how complicated and nuanced the topic is, deep down, we might think:

  • They’re just being stubborn. (And we need to work harder to convince them.)

  • They’re naïve. (And we need to convey our wisdom.)

  • They’re so controlling. (And we need to call them out on it.)

  • They’re totally irrational. (And we need to educate them with facts.)

I'm sure these dynamics are familiar. You may even have your own favorite! Unfortunately, each time we fall back on these tropes, we create a groove. Over years and years, these grooves can become easy (and counter-productive) defaults. Defaults which may lead us to believe we have a surplus of naive or stubborn people in our life. So how do we escape those grooves? How do we break the cycle? How do we save ourselves from ourselves?

Be curious. So instead of asking ourselves “How can they think that?” ask, Hmmm, I wonder what kind of information they have that I don’t?” Instead of asking, “Why are they being so irrational about this?” ask, “How are they seeing the world such that their view makes complete sense?” You may even ask “What am I missing here?”

So how can you talk your way out of an argument? Ask questions. Genuine curiosity unlocks essential information and adds a new dimension to the conversation.


Fisher Law Practice offers engaging conflict resolution training to help people communicate better in the office. 98% of workshop participants had fun and learned valuable skills. If you'd like this training in your workplace, call 917-819-5656.

Understanding Workplace Harassment, A Guest Blog Post from Hogan Injury

Many people who hear the term “workplace harassment” immediately think about sexual harassment in the office. Although sexual harassment is one of the types of workplace harassment, this is not the only kind that an employee may experience in their workplace.

Workplace harassment is any form of unwelcome, sometimes unlawful, conduct that may come from different sources inside the organization. Aside from coming from a higher authority figure, it can also come from coworkers, group of coworkers, vendors, and even customers. The most severe forms of workplace harassment include physical harm, threats, and intimidation; this doesn’t include what others would consider as “small things” like jokes or nicknames that are offensive to the person being harassed and offensive images or objects blatantly put on display. Preventing someone from doing their work is also a form of harassment.

The question now is what constitutes harassment in the workplace? This depends on the state where you live since there are different definitions of harassment for every state, an excellent example of this is Florida where “fat jokes” are considered to be harassment. To give you a clearer idea, here are a few types of workplace harassment:

1. Quid pro quo. – The term quid pro quo means “something for something.” Quid pro quo is a type of harassment that seeks to give an employee favors in exchange for something that the employee could provide their harasser. Although usually associated with sexual harassment, quid pro quo can involve other favors that the employee can give the authority figure like a cut on commissions.

2. Hostile work environment. – The office should be a place where an employee can do their job correctly and creating a hostile work environment for any particular employee is considered harassment. Conducts like bullying, lewd or racist jokes, and offensive teasing that interferes with the harassed employee’s ability to perform their tasks can be viewed as harassment. Verbal and written threats that make an employee feel unsafe and unable to perform also fall into this category.

3. Retaliation. – There are federal and state laws that prohibit retaliation against employees who file complaints about harassment. Retaliation against employees who were not directly harassed but are witnesses to the incident being investigated or in any way part of the investigation is also against the law. Some examples of retaliation harassment are the denial of promotion or benefits, demotion, suspension, or unlawfully being discharged from the company.

4. Sexual harassment. – By far the most known type of workplace harassment. It is considered as sexual harassment in the workplace when sexual favors or relationships are being bargained in exchange for promotions or other benefits for the employee from an authority figure. Teasing in a sexual way and inappropriate touching is also considered to be sexual harassment. Here’s a full article about sexual harassment in the office.

These are some concrete examples of conduct or behavior that may be considered as workplace harassment:

1. Making derogatory comments about someone’s age, race, religion, national origin, sex or gender, physical or mental disability, color, and weight.

2. Offensive or lewd hand gestures that are meant to communicate curse words or sexual messages and sexually suggestive facial expressions.

3. Persistently following a person with no justifiable reason or standing too close to a person.

4. Wearing clothing that has offensive or vulgar words or messages.

All employees must adhere to a standard of professionalism in the workplace. Everyone is expected to show proper etiquette and to act civil when inside the office to try and create a safe space where business can be conducted, and workplace harassment inhibits the flourishing of this space.

Suffering from workplace harassment? Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

Check out the original post at: https://www.hoganinjury.com/understanding-workplace-harassment/

None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

A Workplace Conflict Tip: The angry email

When you receive an angry or hurtful email from a co-worker, don't fire off a response right away. Slow down and give yourself time to reflect on WHY it was upsetting. You need to have an idea of WHY so that you better identify which results will help you feel better. Then think through how to re-frame the discussion to get you there.

Try these steps:

1. Get up from your desk, go get some tea or hot cocoa.

2. When you get back, write a response and save it as a draft.

3. An hour later, re-read the draft and edit to move the discussion in a productive direction.

4. Send the response and give yourself a break from email for a few minutes.

Want more help in your office? Call us at 917-819-5656.

How To Decide Which Criminal Defense Attorney to Hire

You or someone you care about has been accused of a crime. Whether it's a DUI, possession of a joint or something more serious, having a criminal case can be stressful. You need an attorney that's right for you.

Everyone uses different criteria to decide which criminal defense attorney to hire. Some are looking for a convenient office or a lawyer with a certain personality. Others make their decision based only on the retainer fee. Here is advice about finding the best, and the best fit for you.

  1. You Must Be Able to Trust Your Attorney Enough to Tell Them Anything. Communication is key. You must feel comfortable speaking with your lawyer about what you are accused of, what really happened, and other sensitive information in your life. Lawyers also have to speak with witnesses, sometimes even the complainant ("victim"). Lawyers may need to explore very personal information in order to give you the best defense with the most options for success. And you want someone who will talk you through the process, and explain things in a way that you can understand.
  2. The Attorney Should Have Criminal Defense Experience. Don't settle for the friend of a friend who does real estate law. Your time, reputation, and freedom are at stake. Hire an attorney who has criminal defense experience. An experienced attorney will have an idea of how your case will be prosecuted, what the District Attorneys are looking for, and what the standard plea offers are. Basically, they can give you a more accurate assessment of what might happen and realistic options to beat the case.
    Even Better: Experience in the specific courthouse where your case is. 
    Best of All: Experience in front of the Judge or Judges who are presiding over your case.
  3. Your Attorney Should Have A Range of Skills. What do you want? You probably want this case to go away by getting dismissed or winning at trial. If the case doesn't look good for you, you may be looking for an amazing plea that will have very little impact on your life. Here's the thing: what you want can come from many different directions. Phone calls with the DA might result in lower charges. Research might find that the police shouldn't have charged you. Writing to the Judge might get them to agree that the police did not get the evidence in the right way. The point is that you want a lawyer who has as many tools as possible.
  4. What Should Be In Your Attorney's Toolbox? Each of these tools can be used to get results in a different way.
    1. Courtroom skills. Someone comfortable in a courtroom, who can think on their feet.
    2. Out of court advocacy. Someone who is good at negotiation with the District Attorney or programs. 
    3. Someone who can write. An attorney who is good at research and writing can submit an argument (a motion) to the Judge.  Motions can challenge evidence, how the client was treated, and even the charges themselves. 
    4. Attention to detail. You need an attorney who is willing to sit down and look at every piece of evidence to make sure it holds up. 

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, use these tips to find the right attorney. 

Fisher Law Practice provides criminal defense for New Yorkers. We work hard to fight your case and protect your future. For a free consultation, call 917-819-5656