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HR Snapshot – Can we ask an applicant why they are leaving their current job?

Question: Can we ask an applicant why they are leaving their current job? Answer from Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP:   Yes, you may ask a candidate why they left a previous job or why they are looking to leave their current job. It’s fine to ask this question during the interview, but we recommend you collect …

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HR Snapshot – An employee has requested company wage guidelines. Are we required to show these to them?

Question: An employee has requested company wage guidelines. Are we required to show these to them?  Answer from Margaret, PHR, SHRM-CP:   No. Some employers choose to disclose the salary ranges for jobs, but you are not required to show an employee your company wage guidelines, nor do you need to share with them what …

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HR Snapshot – What happens if an employee’s FMLA time has run out, but they say they’re not able to return to work?

Question: What happens if an employee’s FMLA time has run out, but they say they’re not able to return to work? Answer from Sarah, PHR, SHRM-CP:   Even if an employee has exhausted their FMLA leave for the year, their condition may fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, a disabled …

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HR Snapshot – What personal items are appropriate for display on employee workspaces?

Question: Can you provide guidance on what personal items are appropriate for display on employee workspaces? We’d like workstations to look professional and organized, and we’re concerned that some currently displayed items (small toys, etc.) give the office an unprofessional and cluttered feel. Answer from Russell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP:   Employers typically decide what amount and …

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HR Snapshot – Can we ask references about an applicant’s previous use of sick time?

Question: Can we ask references about an applicant’s previous use of sick time? We’d like to get a sense of their reliability. Answer from Rebecca, SPHR:   I strongly advise against making any inquiries into their history of calling in sick. Asking about absences due to illness or injury could run afoul of the Americans …

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HR Snapshot – Do we need to investigate rumors of harassment even if no one has made a complaint?

Question: Do we need to investigate rumors of harassment even if no one has made a complaint? Answer from Emily, PHR:   Yes, I recommend you investigate. A company always has some inherent liability in relation to discriminatory or harassing comments or behavior. The level of liability usually correlates to the nature, severity, and context …

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HR – Snapshot Informing Employees About a Coworker’s Leave

Question: An employee of ours has gone on FMLA leave to care for a family member, and she asked us via email to tell her co-workers the reason she’s taking time off. Is this okay? Answer from Margaret, PHR, SHRM-CP:   In general, when an employee is out, I recommend informing coworkers only that the …

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HR Snapshot – Can I Ban Cell Phones and Audio/Video Recordings at Work?

Question: Can I ban cell phones at work? How about audio and video recordings? Answer from Kara, JD, SPHR:   Thank your for your questions. They bring up issues that have been the subject of recent litigation, so it’s a great time to be asking. To answer your first question: yes, you can limit or …

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HR Snapshot – How to Increase Pay Based on Cost of Living

Question: We’d like to start giving cost of living raises to employees on their anniversary dates. What’s the best way to calculate these pay increases?   Answer from Ophelia, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP:   When the information is available, employers typically use the consumer price index (CPI) to calculate cost of living increases. It measures the …

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HR Snapshot – Is it okay to wish our employees a happy birthday on our company social media page?

Answer from Angela, PHR:   There’s no law against it, but some employees may feel that announcing their birthday violates their privacy. While it’s great that you want to recognize your employees and celebrate with them, I recommend not announcing an employee’s birthday without first getting their permission. In the case of announcements on public …

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