Applying for New Jobs While on FMLA

by Evil HR Lady on February 1, 2016

I work in a hospital where we just hired a new boss 15 months ago. She has literally run people off and fired several others. Her expectations are unreasonable. I have been hoping they were going to get rid of her, but it doesn’t look that way.

I have been needing shoulder surgery and have put it off. I decided to get the surgery done in hopes she might not be there when I come back. That doesn’t look like it is going to happen.

While I am out for surgery, I was informed of a new job in another hospital. It looks like no one has applied for the position.

My dilemma is, my employer does not know if I am out longer than the 12 weeks, that I will have my job when I get back. (That is in 3 weeks) My doctor states I will not be able to do CPR until after that time.  Human Resources has stated they can not promise me the job after the time FMLA is done. They will not let me do direct patient care with any restrictions.

Can I apply for this job while I am on leave? What is the consequence of doing so? Can they take my pay back? On one of the FMLA paperwork, it states no job hunting while on FMLA. Is that true? I do not want to be in some legal battle.

I do not want to miss this opportunity. I really would love this opportunity.

I am answering this question even though I’m not 100 percent sure of the answer. I’m hoping someone with a lot more knowledge will weigh in in the comments.

Here’s what I do know. FMLA leave itself doesn’t prohibit someone from job hunting. It does prohibit people from doing things that they shouldn’t be able to do, due to the terms of their leave. So, in your case, if you were out shoveling snow with your shoulder that is incapable of performing CPR, that would be an FMLA violation–since you’re clearly lying about your shoulder abilities.

But interviewing for a job doesn’t aggravate your shoulder, so it’s not a violation of your leave.

Now, the thing I don’t know about is your paperwork stating that you can’t apply for jobs while you’re on FMLA. I don’t know whether that is legal or not. Personally, I would never, ever, not in a million years approve putting that language on FMLA paperwork. Why? Because it seems like FMLA interference to me.

Why? Because are other employees prohibited from looking for new employment? Is it company policy that they fire everyone who goes on a job interview? If so, then there’s no need to put it in the paperwork. If not, then isn’t it a restriction on people on FMLA?

That’s my logic anyway.

But, let’s assume that it’s legal for them to punish you for job hunting while on FMLA. How can they punish you? They can fire you. They can demote you. They can give you less favorable shifts. But, they can only do this if they would do it to people who are also job hunting while not on FMLA. (I believe.)

My advice? Apply for the job. Your company policy will determine if you have to pay back health insurance premiums if you quit rather than come back from FMLA. It’s doubtful you’d have a job offer within 3 weeks anyway, and if you’re not cleared for work, they might well terminate you at that point anyway. (Which is legally sketchy, because ADA kicks in here and it might be considered reasonable to hold your job for another month or two.)

You hate where you work. You want to pursue this new opportunity. It’s doubtful your current company would find out. I’d interview.

But, I’d really like to learn more about the legalities of having that restriction on FMLA paperwork. Anyone?


Is It Time to Build an HR Team?

by Evil HR Lady on February 1, 2016

An HR team might be one of the last things on your mind when you start a business. Instead, you’re worried about big-picture issues such as developing a business plan and finding investors. Most small businesses have someone assigned to HR duties by the time they start hiring employees, but when is the right time to change from “Bob does the HR paperwork” to “This is our new HR team”? We’ll break it down step by step.

Step 1: The Outside Experts

Before you have enough employees to justify a full-time HR person, you should consult with an employment attorney in your state to make sure your pay policies are legal. The Fair Labor Standards Actapplies to you as soon as you hire your first employee, so be careful here. Draft an employee handbook with vacation, sick time and nondiscrimination policies, as well.

When you’re recruiting, you probably don’t need an outside expert if your focus is particularly on people you’ve worked with before, but if you need to hire someone from outside your circle, consider hiring a recruiting firm to help you out.

To keep reading, click here: Is It Time to Build an HR Team?


Why You Should Hire a Gossip

by Evil HR Lady on January 29, 2016

Typing that headline makes me cringe. I have a long record or opposing gossip in the workplace (and out of the workplace). Bullies often use gossip to achieve their self-centered goals. Bullies can cause tremendous damage to the workforce, and so can gossips. You know, the mean types who make up stuff and purposely set out to destroy their targets’ reputations? But it turns out that there is good in gossip.

What’s the good in gossip? It controls social behavior. Psychology Professor Frank T. McAndrew, in his article, Gossip Isn’t a Flaw-It’s a Necessary Social Skill, writes that while we’ve seen the effects of cruel gossip, but not all gossip is cruel. Some of it demonstrates social skills.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Should Hire a Gossip


The Digital Designation’s Death Knell

by Evil HR Lady on January 28, 2016

In early 1999 I had a job interview with a market research firm. One of the things they asked me about was my ability to use a search engine to find information on the internet. Google had just been founded a few months earlier and internet searching was difficult. The fact that I was good at doing internet searches was a plus on my resume-one of the reasons they’d called me in.

Now? Can you imagine someone putting that they could find information on the internet on their resume? Outside of specialized research librarian jobs that would be a ridiculous thing to put on a resume. But, it wasn’t ridiculous 17 years ago. Now, even small children have what was once an actual skill, so no need to mention it.

To keep reading, click here: The Digital Designation’s Death Knell


Even Tiny Companies Need a Handbook

by Evil HR Lady on January 27, 2016

Large companies aren’t the only businesses that need an employee handbook. Even before you hire your first employee, you should establish your company’s policies and procedures in writing to help protect yourself, your business and your employee. Here are some best practices on what your handbook should cover and how you can distribute it.

What to Include

Include all policies and procedures in clear language. These might be discussion points that come up in the interview process, but it is worth setting forth in writing to reference later. If applicable, you may want to include an at-will employment disclaimer stating that the company or employee can terminate the relationship at any time, and for any (lawful) reason. Here are a number of common points covered in handbooks:

  • What is the vacation policy? Can employees use their vacation time as soon as they are hired, or does it accrue over time? What is the vacation request process? What are the legally mandated time-off policies in your area?

To keep reading, click here: An Employee Handbook Is Important for Companies of Any Size


How HR Can Avoid Becoming Cynical

by Evil HR Lady on January 26, 2016

Long time HR people always find it amusing when interviewing someone who is just starting out in the profession, who answers the “why do you want to work in HR?” question with, “I just love people!” Look, we all loved people, and then we became HR people.

People ask me why I chose the moniker “Evil HR Lady,” and I say, “Would you read the “Warm and Fuzzy HR Lady?” But I didn’t just choose it for the shock factor.

People often view their HR managers as evil – after all, we’re the ones who employees blame for low raises, short breaks, and inflexible work schedules. “HR said no,” a boss will say when explaining to an employee while the hoped for raise didn’t happen.

The reality is, HR did say no, but the manager never gives the true reason.

To keep reading, click here: How HR Can Avoid Becoming Cynical


5 Really Hard Things That Successful People Do

by Evil HR Lady on January 21, 2016

We spend a lot of time talking about  easy things we can do to make our lives better and our careers take off. There are easy things to do, but the reality is, being at the top of your game doesn’t come easily for almost anything. Sometimes, there are hard things you need to do if you want to be successful. Here are five hard things that will really help you.

1. Get the right education/training.

I get emails all the time asking, “Should I get an MBA?” or “Should I go to graduate school?” The answer? “How in the heck should I know!” It all depends on your goals. Do the people who currently work in your dream job have MBAs? Or, do they have Ph.D.s in art history? Or, did they go through coding camp? Look at what they’ve done and then make your decision.

To keep reading, click here: 5 Really Hard Things That Successful People Do

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How Not to Burn Bridges When You Resign from Your Job

by Evil HR Lady on January 20, 2016

Many people stay at a job too long, and by the time they quit, they are quite ready to go. This can result in burning bridges at the old job. You don’t want to do that, at all. It doesn’t matter whether you think you’ll never need to see these people again, you still need to take care.

Why? You don’t control the future. You may say, “I have a great new job lined up, so I don’t need the reference.” Well, the interesting thing about job hunting is that most people don’t call your current boss for a reference – because most people keep their job hunting confidential.]

To keep reading, click here:  How Not to Burn Bridges When You Resign from Your Job


Can Anything Bad Happen When You Ask for a Raise?

by Evil HR Lady on January 19, 2016

Why do we get so nervous when it comes to asking for a raise?

The worst thing that can happen is that your boss says no, right? And then you’re no better off than you were before asking.

Except, sometimes, asking for a raise can go south and jeopardize your relationship with your boss. Here’s why it’s sometimes not a good idea to ask for a raise and why your boss may react badly.

The Clueless Asker

When you were hired, you negotiated a salary. (Or at least, you were offered a salary and you accepted it without negotiating.) You agreed that doing X job for $Y was fair. So, when you come back to your boss three months later and ask for a raise, you look rather clueless. If you thought that the job was really not worth $Y, you should have negotiated that before you accepted the job.

To keep reading, click here: Can Anything Bad Happen When You Ask for a Raise?


5 Management Lessons From Professor Snape

by Evil HR Lady on January 18, 2016

I was so sad to hear about Alan Rickman‘s passing. He was only 69, which is way too young. I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I’m a huge fan of Rickman’s portrayal of Professor Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” series. To be true to the books, Snape should have been played by a much younger man, but there could have been no better choice for that role.

We learn a lot from Snape — rather, “Professor Snape,” as Professor Dumbledore would insist— and some of these can even apply to management. In honor of Alan Rickman, think about these five lessons to make yourself a better manager.

To keep reading, click here: 5 Management Lessons From Professor Snape