Aug. 17, 2021

Marcia Kozera/ Lighthouse HR- What could POSSIBLY be interesting about car business HR?!?

Yes, she's a woman but unlike Kamala, that wasn't the only criteria to selected!!  Marcia owns Lighhouse HR group (outsource HR) focusing on HR consulting, recruiting and payroll so to say the least, she's seen it all. Marcia is uniquely...

Yes, she's a woman but unlike Kamala, that wasn't the only criteria to selected!! 

Marcia owns Lighhouse HR group (outsource HR) focusing on HR consulting, recruiting and payroll so to say the least, she's seen it all. Marcia is uniquely qualified to tell some HR stories that seem to be concentrated in the car business. Ever wonder what really goes on?!?

3:27 Jeff: the first thing I've ever done at a new job is go to my HR person to let them know that I do have Tourette's.

5:12 Marcia: "... my HR moral compass kind of like got a little, you know, a little instead of black and white it went kind of a little the car business"

6:57 if you're going to go by a personality profile test, you need to go with someone that has a high risk of getting in a little bit of trouble once in a while...or they won't produce

7:12 this otherwise sharp GSM started texting with a client. Shirt came off...

9:33 You have to just settle just to make it go away.

11:42 (dating dealership customers) if it doesn't work out, I don't want to get a bad survey.

12:55 The HR director sexually harassing the staff

14:30 he was sending very inappropriate emails, pictures using company email

17:41 there is a double standard for sure. 21:48 she went Fatal Attraction on this guy.

23:58 five jobs sexual harassment claim sin a row.

24:22 Job references are pretty weak indicators .

25:46 perspective employees only needed to report interviewing so that they could get the unemployment that they didn't want the job.

27:12 fake job reference the middle of a drug trial

30:19 hired an employee that is now on death row

34:31 Lotto winner found under a concrete slab. ALSO hired by Marcia!

36:25 Large settlement story

42:28 it's all fun and games until it's not

45:27 the stripper that invited co-workers to see her....and sued  


Jeff Sterns  0:00  
Anytime I've ever started at a job, the first thing I've ever done is gone to my HR person to let them know that I do have Tourette's. So by design, if you're going to go buy a personality profile test, you need to go with someone that has a high risk of getting in a little bit of trouble once in a while. Hmm, you could go the safe way, but they just wouldn't produce you wouldn't produce he decided to like just take a shirt off and send them send a picture of the sexual harassment would never be reported, but only rated

Unknown Speaker  0:33  
would follow her and he would close the door behind him. You know, this guy's literally using company email to send me this kind of stuff if she went Fatal Attraction on this guy, like five jobs sexual

Jeff Sterns  0:46  
harassment claim in a row. This guy is now sitting on death row, the one who buried him under the cement.

Unknown Speaker  0:57  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns,

Jeff Sterns  1:13  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars here with Marsha, because zerah of lighthouse HR, I want to give you a little bit of Marsh's background, Marsha is in a contract an outsource HR person, for businesses that don't have an in house HR department as well as a consultant for HR departments. Do I have it right so far? Absolutely. The name of her company is lighthouse HR. Right? Right. Okay. I just cannot believe how terrific Marsha looks, because she's been in the business 20 years, 15 of those years in the car business. And I want you to know, Marsha, that my hair was totally gray by age 30 in the car business. So that's why and I've seen many guys that I promoted into management and gals, that usually within a short term, the hair starts turning gray. So really, you've survived, you've survived the car business

Unknown Speaker  2:14  
that in that might, and that might be because I was in the admin area. So I didn't have to work weekends. And you know, I could get home, I could go after nine hour days. And that was fine. So I do feel for you guys. Because it is it's it's a crazy business.

Jeff Sterns  2:29  
Well, and you know what, and also maybe, even though it was your job to protect the dealer's assets, you know, in HR, potential lawsuits, whatever. And I know that yet, I could just tell from talking to you, that you you treated everything as if it was your own, but you weren't necessarily attached to the financial outcome. So who knows? Maybe that

Unknown Speaker  2:56  
they always said that HR was a non producing department, which always made me a little mad, but that's fine.

Jeff Sterns  3:03  
Oh, no, let's be clear, you are non productive, because you're not selling a car or an oil change. Okay? Exactly. But that's just on the financial statement. In the car business, we have fixed we have variable, we have productive non productive, that there is nothing personal about that. Now also, we we need to clearly state again, that anytime I've ever started at a job, the first thing I've ever done is gone to my HR person to let them know that I do have Tourette's.

Unknown Speaker  3:34  
I had a sales manager that would come to my office and he would say, Can I say anything here?

Jeff Sterns  3:42  
Absolute please God, it might get us some ratings if

Unknown Speaker  3:46  
he would be you know, he would come to my office in here and say Now this one's for you got to be shitting me drawer, because there was just think that you would think there is no way and I'm not gonna tell you though. There's always a story in the car business that just surpasses than the next. Yeah, those were fun years.

Jeff Sterns  4:08  
Now you've done you've done HR and certainly have contacts with other HR people outside of the car business. Now my only context is the car business. I've been in the car business since mid the late teenager. So I've really I mean, I've done other side consulting and I've owned other businesses, etc. but never been immersed like the car business with all the staff. I think the car business, maybe along with aluminum siding businesses in the mid 60s, is kind of got to be the richest with stories for people like you is that something I'm creating in my mind or if we went ran a pizza place? It would be the same?

Unknown Speaker  4:46  
No, my goodness now and I'm actually you know, I laugh because I tell my people, every single HR person I know is just so like black and white. And you know, there's just the things that they have have to deal with are so outrageous, and I'm like, you guys have not weighed in the carpet. Like you don't know, you know, it's it's pretty crazy. And so you know I always joke and I say that my moral my HR moral compass kind of like got a little, you know, a little instead of black and white it went kind of a little gray because you do have to, you have to learn to work with the dealer you have to learn to work with the sales managers with, you know, service, everything is so different. Everybody's so completely different. You know, I was just talking to somebody when you we were looking for we were using predictive assessments to pick our star performers. And when you want to pick a star performer if you are looking for a specific personality type, and you know what that personality type is like that personality type needs to be an extrovert he needs to be a team needs to be a charmer, he needs to also have his own personal agenda, almost like a little bit sociopathic, because these people need to be able to, you know, go out there and make the sale. And it's, it is a like a what you call it an ego booster kind of thing. So you know that these people are just amazing at making connections, amazing at letting you hear what you you know, telling you what you want to hear amazing at just like, all these gifts of gab, and they're probably horrific paperwork in so the accounting department is always fighting with them and hating them. This happened all the time. It didn't matter what dealership you work that you always had, you know, the accounting department chasing after them, because, you know, they couldn't get their paperwork filled out, but they were selling cars, you know. So yeah, it's pretty crazy.

Jeff Sterns  6:55  
So so by design, if you're going to go buy a personality profile test, you need to go with someone that has a high risk of getting in a little bit of trouble once in a while only. You could go the safe way, but they just wouldn't produce you wouldn't produce. And that's exactly, yeah, you're

Unknown Speaker  7:12  
absolutely right, you know, flirty, charming, all this stuff. And this is a brand new story that we didn't hear in the last 20 minutes. This window is an actual sales manager, like and then he know maybe he wasn't GSM, actually. And this was a person that was like, he was good looking. And he knew it. And he just had this like persona about him. And he carried himself the right way. He knew what to say, who's a great guy, and how does your common sense leave you I have no idea. But this guy, you know, started texting with a client. And after the purchase was done after everything was you know, completed. And, you know, things are okay until they're not okay, we had talked about that before. In the heart. The difficult thing is that, you may think they're okay all the time. But the other person is the one that all of us on, it is not okay anymore. It's never about intention. It's always about perception. So this guy probably never meant to it, to do any of it. But the text messages starting started getting a little bit you know, like,

Jeff Sterns  8:27  
this is a manager or general sales manager and a customer,

Unknown Speaker  8:32  
a customer and so they were flirty, and they got more flirty and more flirty. And she seemed to be okay with it. Next thing he decided to like, just take a shirt off and send him send a picture of the shirt. You know, it was the shirt at least that that was it. It she she didn't like that anymore, then she was like, Ah, now we crossed the line. But when do you know that you're crossing the line unless they tell you that your profit in life. And by the time you cross the line is too late. It's done.

Jeff Sterns  9:01  
I think about HR liability, where sexual harassment or hostile work environment or whatever or ethnic this and making it so something about work environment and then causing a liability that the dealer or an owner or business owner may need to write a check for? Is that does that liability exist when it's customer and employee? Absolutely. Oh, interesting. Like sexual harassment from a Cust from a customer. That's the same liability is in the workplace.

Unknown Speaker  9:33  
Well, no. Okay. So so let's answer that that question. No. So in this particular case, she could have gotten after him directly, Sibley, she could have gone, you know, after him directly for that. She complained to the company and the company. The dealership actually fired him. Because it was like the thread of text messages was sent copied, everything was sent over. So there was You know, come on, that was just poor judgment. So, so no. So that was that would not have been through the EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission means that would not have been that way. So as an employee, then you would then go to EEOC, file a claim for sexual harassment, and then it goes that way. And then the company has to, you know, investigate, find out if it's founded on founded. And then most likely, nine times out of 10. You have to just settle just to make it go away.

Jeff Sterns  10:35  
publicity what yet, right. It's just the pain like, wow, you know, a man is you're sending shirtless photos. I, you know, I may have done something like that, except I knew that that would end all flirting, if someone saw me with my shirt off, but that's for a different job.

Unknown Speaker  10:48  
When I first got to Florida, and I bought my first car, I did my whole process, bought my car, everything was fine. And oh, my gosh, three days after my salesperson would not stop calling me calling, calling calling and wanting to go out. And I was I was really freaked out. Because that was here by myself. I just got here. It was, you know, 2001. And I was by myself. And so it was a little creepy, because he knew where I lived. He had my address, he had all my information, that guy.

Jeff Sterns  11:23  
Right? Well, right, of course. Now, before I was married the first time, oh, my God, you know, 25 years ago. That was where I got a lot of my prospects was, of course, somebody that somebody that bought a car, but you know, we're always walked prospects, we're always walking the line of, you know, if it doesn't work out, I don't want to get a bad survey. Luckily, you know, it never came and never got, you know, it never had an ugly situation. I married one of them, you know, customer once also. But Max's mom, but you know, it's funny, because we had a outwardly gay employee that you know, so we won't mention the store that used to let us know that sexual harassment would never be reported, but only rated. He would say that to me, when I would do a sexual harassment training, I'll say, you know who I'm talking to. Okay. And one of the the most hurtful things he ever said to me, as he says, Jeff, your wife is so cute. That is the only female that I would ever think of being with. And I said, Well, that's terrific. What about me? Because now you're not my type. I said, so you'd switch before you'd be with me? He goes, yes. I said, Okay. So you know, that's really, that's really wounding? Do you mind sharing the story of the HR manager sexually harassing the HR department, please?

Unknown Speaker  12:55  
Absolutely. This was in a hospital. And this was in my early HR years in my early HR career. So you figure a problem in 1999, one of those women in the HR department was late. So it was I was the trainer. What we were sharing about before is this department was before people, the HR director, this is a big private hospital in Costa Rica, the department had a payroll girl, receptionist secretary, and myself, and I was a trainer development, the development person. And so we didn't know that he was being highly inappropriate with each of us, because we wouldn't talk about it because this was the HR department. This was the HR director. And I always knew that I could hold my own, so I could just kind of handle things. What I was sharing before was the secretary would he would send her being the file room, which was a separate room that would lock to protect everybody's all employee files, and he would send her in there and then he would follow her and he would close the door behind him and he would literally leave her in there, like locker. And she was petrified. He would corner her touch her, and he would tell her that nobody would believe her. And she did. She had crazy anxiety over it. She developed like, stomach issues, ulcers and stuff. And then Meanwhile, he was sending me very inappropriate emails, pictures, and you know, and I'm like, how are you know, this guy's literally using company email to send me this kind of stuff, you know, like that stays there. So I ignored him for the most part.

Jeff Sterns  14:47  
There's being inappropriate is one thing, being dumb on top of it all

Unknown Speaker  14:51  
dumb, completely dumb. I remember, it was my birthday. Once he sent me these flowers and he these roses came to my office. And he said, You know, I want you so bad if you would just go out with me. And I was like, holy cow. And next thing you know, his wife walks in the office to go see him. And she's like, Oh, my conference roses are beautiful. Who are they from? And I said, Some idiot out there. And I said it really loud so he could hear. So he was just annoying, to where I was like, Okay, this is enough. Now, her she, she came forward, finally, she couldn't take it anymore. She was she was missing work. She didn't want to see him. And so when finally when she said something, we all got together. And we're like, wait a minute, like, this is happening to you. He was he was just trying different things with everybody to see, I guess where he would, you know, where how far he would go. But since he

Jeff Sterns  15:53  
was doing it with all these people, I mean, not to take any compliments away from you that you didn't deserve the flirting from the mirror guy? No. Is this like a validation thing? When it's kind of going on with everybody?

Unknown Speaker  16:06  
You know, I think a lot of times, like your I, that's a whole other podcast, I can go on forever. But I do feel like sometimes. There's some kind of brokenness in there that makes you need. Yeah, I guess it's that validation or, you know, knowing that you can, you know, you got it. If you want it, you got it, or I don't know that. In that case. He was very intimidating. He was trying to intimidate a lot. So

Jeff Sterns  16:37  
well. And that's not validation. I mean, if it's through intimidation, that's not like right now. Mm hmm. That's a different, right.

Unknown Speaker  16:44  
Yeah. It's a different thing. I think that was, it was interesting. But he was he denied it. He was like, I mean, if he could do night, copies of emails, I think that was the tough part. You know, because he couldn't, he denied the girl in the the file room, which was terrible, because I feel like her her situation was the worst of all. But I had emails. So you know, it was, you know, maybe it was meant to be that way so that he could get terminated because he was really she really messed with her. It was really bad. Well, I

Jeff Sterns  17:21  
mean, I couldn't even imagine. And you know, like, I have two sons, 18 and 21. And, I mean, I'll just say it, there's a double standard, I have a daughter, now, I have a nice daughter. And when I hear your story, now, it hits me a whole different way. If it was her at work, feeling sick, about going to work, etc,

Unknown Speaker  17:41  
there is a double standard for sure. And you know, like, I don't blame, I mean, at least in my my culture, it's very traditional. And I remember that when I told my dad, what was happening, I was only 2021. I remember when I told him, and I said, this guy's really in trouble, because I printed all these emails. And you know, the first thing that he asked me was, um, well, did you do anything to like, Did you do anything to lead him on? That was his question, almost like, did you? Did you look for it? You know? And I was like, No, even if you know what to say, like, no, and Why would my dad ask that? And, and I think, as a guy, he was more like, I, my dad's a retired doctor, I love him. He loves me. But it's that culture. It's that culture of like, you had a man fire. You know, you had this you had your boss fire? Are you sure you didn't do anything to provoke this? You know? So there's, it's kind of interesting, you know? Well,

Jeff Sterns  18:42  
I mean, on one hand, that can be disappointing. Like, oh, for my dad even asked that question. But at the same time, when my sons come to me, or my wife comes to me with an issue with somebody else, I asked them where they stand in the equation to make sure they're not just the hero in their own story, which people can do. Absolutely. They're capable of that right? Absolutely. Not history. So it could have just been, hey, were you flirtatious? And then you weren't interested anymore? Or not? Maybe just trying to raise you just trying to have you checked in with yourself on that. That may not have been probably what he meant, you know, where you like, as a father, I could see doing that. And that doesn't mean that I don't believe in my daughter, but at the same time, where are you in this? Potentially? Yeah, and one thinks of all time, you know, and once I told him to show in a minute, the messenger, he was like, Oh, yeah. Is it okay for you to tell about this service advisor that brought the person from the other

Unknown Speaker  19:36  
that was a crazy story, and it was like one of those where we, you know, we didn't know until the very end so we just fold it right before our eyes and we were all blindsided. So this was a service advisor, great guy, everybody liked him. And he was also like, you know, you he never seemed like the kind of person that would have like a double life. He was always so proper. And so, you know, like, by the book, and he brought an employee service advisor, and he said he knew her from another dealership. And he had worked with her before recommended to her, she was qualified. She was, she was great. So we brought her, we brought her on board. And you know, things were going great for several months, I want to say maybe around five, six months, they everything was going fine, uneventful. And next thing, you know, he announces that he's married, he got married, we didn't even know I mean, we knew he had a girlfriend, we didn't know who was engaged, he just quietly went off and got married. So very, very shortly after that, is when everything started to happen. What happened after that was the girl the service advisor, girl accused him of sexual harassment. She said he had been harassing her for months and months and months, that they actually had a relationship that they had dated while they weren't at the other place, and that they had been engaged to, and that he broke it off. But that he promised her that he would bring her to work wherever he was that he came next because he was going to take care of her. So we never knew if he they actually, I mean, they kept seeing each other. But when he got married, she was enraged. She just went crazy. She went into the company CRM, she found out his address, because he had not, she didn't know where he lived. He, she went at night, a couple of times, knocked on the door, wanted to talk to the wife, she wanted, she went Fatal Attraction on this guy. And it was really ugly. And so what was terrible about it was that she also threw in a religion discrimination lawsuit along with that, she said she was Muslim, and that she was made fun of and she wasn't allowed her prayer time. And she wasn't allowed her private time for prayer. It just became very convoluted and very crazy. And we ended up having to settle and it was a big settlement. Again, just to just to avoid the bad press, and to make it go away. And it was very, very poor judgment on behalf of this guy, you know, like wired, bring her and know that you're seeing her, you're about to get married. And you must know that she is not going to be okay with this. And it was it went, it went bad. And then he very shortly after he, he left, I think it was too much for him. And he just left he was ugly. Well,

Jeff Sterns  22:52  
I mean, look, I couldn't understand why it's uncomfortable. Even if you even if you skated by with your life and your boss didn't want to get rydia How can you feel comfortable that you're a solid person, as a manager, to your boss with that behind you, I can understand.

Unknown Speaker  23:09  
And that's what they thought of you before they thought you were just solid guys solid man, you know, God fearing person, and, and then all of a sudden, you know, the company's having to pay. I want to say it was like 80 grand something to settle, you know, and oh my gosh, that the owner was so so mad. He was like, I'm gonna, you're gonna pay for all of this. You know?

Jeff Sterns  23:36  
Well, if I knew it was worth 80 grand, I mean, unfortunately, my boss at my current job at cartea 24 could be watching this, but I might become a Muslim woman and just take the shot.

Unknown Speaker  23:46  
Well, it's like what you were talking about during our warm up, you know, this woman that that has managed to file claim after claim everywhere she worked,

Jeff Sterns  23:58  
like five jobs sexual harassment claim in a row. I can't believe I mean, I guess there's not a credit bureau for people that have filed lawsuits, but I just can't believe that someone could keep getting a job keep getting a job. I mean, but I suppose now, the way job recommendations or references are all they can say is the dates. Well, I guess you could ask, would you hire them again? What can they ask now?

Unknown Speaker  24:22  
So when you someone calls you all you really are allowed to say is days of employment, job title, and you are allowed to save they're eligible for rehire or not. And if you say No, they're not. They won't tell you anything. I wouldn't tell you anything because I don't want anybody coming after me saying Why did you share that information?

Jeff Sterns  24:44  
She's got five jobs in a row though that no not.

Unknown Speaker  24:50  
I got it. But you wonder if people actually check for references. A lot of times they don't even check, you know, especially now in the car. When you think about it, I mean, never know what per job what her position was. And if it was even in the in the car business, but you're so, so hurting for the warm bodies, I mean, I had a dealer that was like, if he fogs, me or he can work, you know, and and we'll figure out don't learn, you know, they'll learn on the go. So, and a lot of times, they don't care, they just bring in whoever. But it is a little bit concerning with her case.

Jeff Sterns  25:29  
Well, I can I can identify both with the dealer saying if they're a warm body, hire them, like in our current in my current business, I need good staff like anybody needs good staff. I've actually Oh, I don't know if you have any stories about this. But I can tell you that I've had perspective, hire ease, is to let us know that they only needed us to report so that they could get the unemployment that they didn't want the job. This has been in the last couple of online goodness. What kind of positions are you Are you hiring for this is for telephone sales, b2b while we're calling into car boat and RV dealer selling our software and consulting.

Unknown Speaker  26:14  
That's insane. So I have not heard of that, which, I mean, that's pretty ballsy. I have not heard of that I have heard of people actually reporting an employer as being their employer, they just go and get the information. You know, whenever my friend Moore's Tree Service, this is the address, this is the phone number, I worked there from this date to this date, and I made $50,000. And it's all fake. So if the per if the employer is not logging in to the reemployment, you know, website, then the file, it just gets passed, like nobody appeals it. Nobody says, No, he didn't work for me. And this happens now, it's happened a lot. So you have to go back in there and say, Nope, never worked for me, never employed and try to cancel them, because they're getting on unemployment, just pretending to have worked somewhere that you know, where they didn't?

Jeff Sterns  27:12  
Well, I mean, I can understand that if they're warm body and fogging a mirror, because we need people, I think a lot of people need people. But at the same time, we are still very serious about the background check and criminal and checking references. Because it's so as you know, it's so not worth getting the wrong person in an investing, training and what they could do as a culture and God forbid, hurt somebody, right? I actually have a story from a dealership where we hired somebody. So I can tell that we at our place that we both had worked at one time, separate times, we were apparently not checking references. But this person, Land Rover salesperson said that they worked at a Land Rover dealer in another state. So we hire him, he ends up in our Pre Owned car department does a terrific job. Customers are very loyal. And the general manager at the time goes to a dealer 20 group meeting and runs into the Land Rover dealer that this person used to work for. And says just want to let you know that we hired so and so. And he's doing a great job for us. And they never heard of him. What was interesting though, and I love the guy, so I don't want to let too much of the cat out of the bag and get him identify. But what was interesting is that he was in the middle of a drug trial. And he left that state because of that, and his parents both worked in that smallish town and he didn't want to embarrass them anymore, and move down, you know, etc. and he ended up leaving us to go to federal prison by now we love him, and he's doing a great job and his customers love him. And we know that he's going to jail. And we take him to the Tampa city club up in a high rise and throw a going away party for him, including the carton of cigarettes, the file and the cake, you know, the whole deal. What was really interesting is he had built such a rapport with his customers that he'd gotten a relationship with one of the other salespeople who for every one of his customers, that was sold while he was away at federal for 18 to 24. That he would send the money to this guy's parents. And they told the customers that he was going to jail or in jail, and many of them waited for him. They first of all, they dealt with salesperson number two saying as long as you're sending the money to him, I'll buy or his family all buy and some said Wednesday out. I'll wait. So he was lovable you know, just a little bit personal use a couple 1000 pounds of marijuana while in college.

Unknown Speaker  30:03  
That's crazy. So I hear your drug story and I raced.

Jeff Sterns  30:08  
Oh, okay, here we go off. I look out terrible. It's gonna be on our second record.

Unknown Speaker  30:16  
I erased you this one Listen to this. So by now I am dating my now husband, who was the pre Delivery Manager, right? So they took care of all that same place that we're talking about. They are in charge of the entire detail department, obviously, as well. And he hires this person. I was already living with him. And he tells me, you know, did you run this guy's background? I said, Yeah, I ran him clean as a whistle. Everything's fine. He says, Can you like run him again? Because there's something off about him. And I don't know what it is. But there's, I'm not sure. And I said, I don't know what I can't run the same report. Again, it's going to come back clean. Social Security number is clean. Background Check is clean driver's license, you know, all the records, everything's clean. This guy's good to go. So here he comes. This guy, bodybuilder, you know, he was in the detail department shirt off all the time, all the sales girls would go back there to see him. And they were like, you know, fascinated with that guy. He was going to some Christian church right around the block where we're this place live. And he's, you know, trying to get people to come to church and praise God and all these, you know, things and my husband's like, there's something that is just off, you know, so very long story short, this guy is now sitting on death row, I think still sitting on death row.

Jeff Sterns  31:53  
Oh, my God,

Unknown Speaker  31:55  
Death Row murder off to a couple that now he said he was also he was also a personal trainer. But this couple, they were his clients for the personal training. But they were also clients of this dealership. And so when the police came over to interview, my husband, my husband's now in law enforcement. He's now a police officer. But back then, when the police came over to interview him, they brought the company t shirt, or like, filled with blood, which is what they had found. So he had you know, he, he killed them, trying to steal their safe. It was on the news, big, big, huge deal. And the guy passed all my screenings because he actually had another social security number he had, he had three, four different names like full names. He had two different social security numbers. So he was using that obviously the good one. And we just never knew we never knew where he was. It he killed them both in their home and he tried to steal their safe.

Jeff Sterns  33:06  
Now when your husband was pre delivery director, was he were you dating him? Or was he your husband by them? I was dating him. Okay, so it's your boyfriend, that you're living with fiance, whatever that you're living, okay. He's your HR. And he's, you know, running, getting the cars ready. And he has a feeling. And he says, Would you run? run it again, but up to this point, to your knowledge. I mean, even though so we had a separate social security number that he already do something like murder now you haven't done it yet? hidden. Okay. So your husband just had a good intuition about it. There was nothing to your knowledge, nothing key other than unpaid parking tickets or something.

Unknown Speaker  33:47  
He had nothing. He had nothing in his record. My husband just couldn't put his finger on it. He was like, there's something about this guy that I do not like, there's something off.

Jeff Sterns  33:57  
It makes sense. Why your husband became a cop? I mean, obviously, he's got a little bit of this feeling anyway, right? Yeah, he's a little detective. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, right. Right. Okay, cuz I'm like the worst. I mean, I don't notice anything about anybody ever. So that's why I never like to be the one to interview anyone. Because if they can make a little small talk, and we know maybe one of the same people or places I want to hire him it so later when your husband is now fully a police officer or law enforcement, then it's like, remember that guy. That's how it went?

Unknown Speaker  34:31  
Oh, that's how it went. Do you also remember, I mean, people are going to be like, Don't let her run any background checks. Do you remember there was a case of gentleman in Brandon that won the lottery, the lady that was taking care of him he ended up missing and then they found him he was buried under concrete slab in his own house. Do you remember that case?

Jeff Sterns  35:00  
No, I don't know, I don't what I hired her to I'm the one who buried him under the cement.

Unknown Speaker  35:10  
dd more dating more I kind of girl No, I, I remember her, you know, now this happened years and years before, you know, I hired her a years before this happened. But when I saw the news way after this was in place for Developmental Disabilities, and I hired her as a, almost like a CNA, like a, you know, just assisted for, for the disabled individuals in the in the place, the sweetest girl like she was so sweet. Everything was fine with her. If she worked there for a couple of years, and then she left and then I left to I went into car business and years went by I want to say maybe, you know, eight years maybe. And then I see on the news that they find this man's body and that the person responsible is his caretaker, and her name is Didi more and I'm like, Oh my god, I know that name. And then I realized that I have hired her previously. So you know, clearly folks,

Jeff Sterns  36:13  
if you're going to use lighthouse HR, let's just be clear. So how about like a, like a costly or an expensive like a juicy settlement? Do you have any of those?

Unknown Speaker  36:25  
Yeah, I had one, it's very, this one was very ugly, it was pervasive in that they wouldn't go away. This one was a case of a gentleman that was Middle Eastern. And he was a Middle Eastern American, though he was from up north, and he was just, you know, he was classy, he dressed great. He was just, you know, he was he was a great salesperson as well. And I would want to say that just because of the way that he looked his features that were so middle eastar, he started getting a lot of just a lot of crap from from his co workers. And he was also Muslim. And so they would just mess with him a lot. Just distasteful stuff, you know, leaving vacant on his desk. I mean, just whatever you can imagine, it was just it started as a joke, but then he was like, it's not funny anymore. And he started getting very aggravated with it. And when he brought it up to his manager, his manager was like, just get over it. You're the guys are just wanting to have fun with you. They're trying to bond with you, you know, which the wrong answer. And so things started getting hostile. And, you know, he was he he had to start standing up for himself. He didn't he after bringing it up to the manager, he brought it up to HR. And so, you know, hrs, like documenting talking to the manager, what are you doing about this, like, this is going to be a bad situation. And the boys, they became bad, then there was, you know, like the star performer in the department that was, you know, he was a little bit of a bully in the making fun in the, you know, like shoulder bumping in the parking lot, like just just going on and going on and going on. So very little independent situations. A lot of times, what happens with harassment, and hostility is that each individual incident isolate, it may not seem like a lot, or may not seem like too bad or too serious. And that's when you hear back in those days. It was like, Oh, you just gotta have thick skin. You just gotta have thick skin like this is the car business, get over it, you know, and that's not the way it is now. And so, you know, those little isolated incidents were probably not that big. But when you sit down and you see everything, because this guy was no dummy. He was documenting everything that was happening every single day, you know. And so by the time he brings this complaint, it's like, out of control. Because everybody knew about it. Everybody knew that he had been complaining talking about it. Now. He said he was stressed he couldn't come to work. It was affecting his income. It was affecting his ability to make money. And it was a big claim. And normally, their five figure claims This one was six. So it was it was ugly. It was really ugly.

Jeff Sterns  39:38  
Well, look, this is interesting, because on one hand, and again, my point of reference is only car dealerships. That's really all I know. But you know, on one hand, I think the car business is very fraternal, that like a firehouse where everybody kind of spends most of their life in that place. together. I relate it to like, I'm not I've never been a fireman, but they do their multiple day shifts and cook together and live together and eat, you know. And that's, that really is, you know how the car business can be, I don't believe in Bowling, I don't, I don't believe in taking it across the line. I mean, I've got a big sense of humor, and I'm certain that I've crossed the line. But I also would just about want to kill myself, if I found out that I really actually hurt somebody's feelings. And I apologize immediately, you know, especially when I was younger, I would have much more of an ability to just keeping in that case. But my intention, and you said something earlier about intention, versus perception, you know, my intention would be strictly to entertain, or strictly, maybe even entertain myself, but just have fun during the frickin 10 1214 hours, that we're going to be there. If I ever even remotely heard or had a hint that it was hurting any feelings, I'd apologize. And that would be the end of it. But it's such a line to walk. because on one hand, there really is that fraternity that barracks that well and highly male. And then when then with the females, I don't need to make this sexist. But even with the females, the females and I don't mean through intimidation, I was in retail for 27 years, the females were very much one of the guys most often, most often. And also in sales, there's a little bit of a ribbing because it is competitive. So it's not just like I want to give this guy crap because it's Arabic not I don't believe in leaving the baking continuing on and continuing on after there's been an actual complaint. I mean, once there's been an actual complaint, you go to HR, how do I handle it? Do I have a meeting? Do I need to keep it quiet? Just between them? You know, like, what do we you know, what's the right way to address it. But to me, it's so difficult to walk the line between technically being detailed to have a case, versus just trying to keep everything going in the slightly dysfunctional family that we're always going to be when there's people involved. I don't know if I worded that whole thing, right. But that you did, okay, that's a tough one. It is very tough. And it's all fun and games till someone gets fired. Usually,

Unknown Speaker  42:26  
that's what I that's what I always say it's all fun and games until it's not, you know, and if that's the thing, it's not your decision, when it's not, unless someone says something that really like, you know, at some point just makes you stop and go, Well, that was not okay. Like, I don't, I'm not okay with that. You know, so it is very difficult. And, you know, I know those people in the car business that are the light hearted people that you're talking about, that people that just want to make everybody laugh, that want to make themselves laugh, that want to have a good time, and maybe sometimes they something off color, but it's not intended to anybody in particular. And it's not, you know, it's not meant to be that, you know, I am just trying to, to, somehow, sexually either intimidate you or make you feel a certain way. I mean, you can, you can usually know that. Or, or you know, you can tell, but still it shouldn't, you know, you just never know, as different as people are nowadays with everything. You just don't know what you're going to do what you're going to say that he's going to set off somebody and you are not event and you have no idea. It's a hard

Jeff Sterns  43:43  
world to navigate. Because like I said, as a father of a daughter now, or you know, understanding things about some ethnicities, like I have some ethnic backgrounds that are very easy to make fun of you know that I make fun of myself and put it out there. So I've never felt entitled to ever get upset with someone if they're going to stick me about it if I'm already putting it out there about myself, right? So here's the tough part about it. Now, on one hand, one of the greatest things to joke about one of the greatest things to build bridges with humor would be differences. So this could be male versus female ethnicities, religions, whatever, as long as it's was sincere, wanting to entertain, and, and fraternal, that's really the word brotherhood, sisterhood, this sort of thing and being willing to take it and want to take it you know, in all of that business, but now here, but here we are now at a time when it could be a serious liability, but I don't want to make it just about the liability. That could be a five or six figure check. On one hand, people are absolutely In my opinion, way too hypersensitive about a lot of things. I think that but at the same time. I also believe that people should be speaking up if they really got hurt or wounded. Or the word you use intimidated? Like, absolutely. You know, 1,000%. So the tough part is, is it's very good that people are opening their mouth and saying something, if they're being hurt, they should. But on the other side, I think it's harder to have fun in the world. When there's this hype or concern, it's hard to be natural. So speaking of your HR stories, I was with firmen organization for about nine years, and they're like heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy compliance, because one of the firmen son in laws is an attorney. wonderful guy. Yeah, wonderful family, really wonderful family, the company that would come in and educate us, I forgot what we call it. But the HR training for the managers told us a story that I've used many, many, many times to explain how anything your fault or not, like you said, it's good until it's not good. And this was the story of the female that worked in the dry cleaner. That became a stripper on the side at night and invited everyone from work, to come see her dance or whatever, you know, I don't know if it was bikini or nude, you know, whatever it was, and then filed a harassment lawsuit at the dry cleaner because the guys were talking about it at work. And I think one, I think, I think, so I don't remember if the moral of the story was and I have the book, it's called car law. It's like the guy who wrote is like this thick. I don't know if you know, the book. But it's a, you know, obviously a crazy world out there. No doubt about it.

Unknown Speaker  46:42  
It isn't it shouldn't. So I have theories like this is in the car business, I got the phone call. It was I think it was last year, they were panicking, because they just discovered that one of the sales guys worked the day shift at the dealership, and then he was a drag queen at night. And so you know, and so they, when they found out now this person didn't invite any of his friends over to show or any of that, but someone found out and they were really, really like, you know, given him a hard time. And so he was not happy about that. But, you know, again, it's one of those things where you just what you do outside of your work hours is yours, whatever it is, now, if you're inviting your your work buddies over, and then you're filing that complaint, because they're talking about you at work, I mean, I I see everything wrong with that,

Jeff Sterns  47:42  
in thinking back to when I said I get in trouble x times a month, it wasn't all hostile environment issues or anything like that. It was just being a stupid young manager or a young employee. For example, I'm a young manager at that prior dealership where the I had the two filing cabinets, and we have the factory come in to give us some award. So some big dinner and some whatever, because we accomplished something. And I used to do little magic tricks. I used to always carry magic tricks on me for to entertain people in the showroom or their little kids or keep somebody else's customer entertained for five minutes while they're waiting to go in the finance office. I always had one in my pocket or a couple things in my pocket. So I was kind of known for that at the time. And we go to this dinner where a Bel Air Country Club, the management team, the owners, and these factory executives from Detroit are there. So my owner's son, who I still talk to, I can say the name Carlyle family, if you remember that. Okay, so I'm just the frickin Best Family of all time. And you know, just God loved them to death. So, Steve will see that could see this and it's alright, if he hears, so I'm sitting next to Steve Carlisle. He's talking to one of the factory execs whose name escapes me but big brass. And they everyone says, Jeff, do a magic trick, do magic. So I had one where I could like put a cigarette in some cigarette out and something and not leave a hole and all that. So I asked for the jacket of one of these executive VPS or whatever, from Detroit. And I go to the front of the room and I show it and turn it around and there's no holes in it. And then I take someone's cigarette, which back then everybody had a cigarette and take his jacket, shove it into my hand, take the cigarette, put it out in their smokes coming out and then show the jacket and there's no hole in it and he's all freaked out and I give it back. Now he'd been talking to Steve Carlisle for like an hour about some, you know, new brand Hyundai, some Hyundai Dealer in Plano, Texas. I'll never forget that part. And when I sat down, he says, I didn't find that very entertaining. And I said well listening to the story about the Hyundai Dealer. Leno for the last hour was riveting. I used to get in trouble for things like I just couldn't. That was you know? Yeah, like the filter. Big. Thank you. Yeah. Marcia, thank you so much for joining the Jeff Sterns connected through Car Show. I'm really excited to remember you're our inaugural female. So I'm very excited when we're when we're in our second decade and people have been watching these. They'll say Marcia was always the first female and your stories were terrific, and I really appreciate you making the time to come on the show with us today.

Unknown Speaker  50:36  
I'm so thankful that you had me and it This was a lot of fun. And thank you, I love it.

Unknown Speaker  50:45  
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.

Marcia J. KozeraProfile Photo

Marcia J. Kozera


Human Resources Executive with over 20 years of experience in all HR related areas, specializing in leadership development, training and consulting. Leadership and relationship coach.