I recently discovered your blog and was delighted to see that someone is exposing these criminals! I worked for DHR International in a Manager capacity in Chicago in the summer of 2012 and left after 3 months due to what I saw as unethical behavior and breaking the law.
Based on my 3 months of working there, this is what I observed. I actually started looking for a new job 2 weeks after I started because I was so appalled by some of their business practices:
- Geoff Hoffmann, the CEO, did not know the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees, even with his MBA from the University of Chicago. Makes one wonder what he did learn! He had no idea that clerical people such as receptionists, who did basic clerical work every day, were required to be paid overtime if they worked over 40 hours in a week. When I tried to educate him on the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees, his response was, "Let's just sweep this under the rug for now! We don't have time for this!"
- I met with their "contract" CFO on my second day of employment. We talked about employment procedures. She told me that they didn't pay out earned and unused vacation when employees resign. I asked her why, since this was a law in Illinois, and her response was, "We try to get away with as much as we can." I thought she was kidding at first, but she was completely serious.
- They did not pay their interns one penny, even though there are so many new laws that basically state you must pay interns unless they are adding absolutely no value. Many interns were taking the place of a full-time employees and not getting paid - they were screening resumes, doing phone interviews, checking references. I brought this up with Geoff Hoffmann, and again he told me to keep quiet about it.
- Geoff would ask me to communicate bad news and then strictly instruct me that the news did not come from him. For example, he had me tell some people they weren't getting a raise when it was 100% his decision. This was specifically his direction - he told me, "Under no circumstance should you tell them this was my decision." Way to hide behind others, Mr. CEO!
- There were so many family members working there who absolutely were not qualified. I specifically recall one VP who told me that the Hoffmanns gave her a luxury SUV of theirs to drive; she was some close family member or friend of theirs who was unethical, mean, and very unprofessional. They kept promoting her even though I have no idea what she even did for the company and she lived in another state. She made over $100,000 a year and she barely did any work at all.
- Their "executive assistants" were so underpaid that it wasn't even funny. They were offering $30,000 for an executive assistant to support 3 or 4 VPs in downtown Chicago, and they required a college degree and 2+ years of experience. Anyone who knows Chicago salaries knows this is laughable because they can easily go somewhere else and make $50,000 or more for the same job. I tried to discuss this with Geoff Hoffmann; he acknowledged the pay was low but said the company was not going to do anything about it.
Joining DHR International was one of the worst career decisions I ever made; they enticed me with a nice office, good salary, and fancy title. I'm sure they do that to others who are then horrified once they find out the truth.
Eventually this company will go out of business and those involved will probably end up in jail.