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Ask a Manager: 7 Qs and 7 Answers

Ask a Manager: 7 Qs and 7 Answers

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

November 10, 2010

I’m trying something new — seven short answers to seven short questions, all in the same post:

Company Won’t Hire Former Employees of Competitor

I applied for a job at a staffing agency and was told the particular company who was hiring wouldn’t accept applicants who worked previously for their competitor even though I no longer work for them. Is that a form of discrimination or can I do something about that?

It might be a stupid policy, but it’s legal. Companies can legally discriminate for any reason they want, as long as it’s not linked to your membership in a legally protected class (things like race, religion, sex, nationality, marital status, etc.). Where you worked previously isn’t a protected class.

How Can My Wife Make Her Office Stop Calling Her on Her Time Off?

My wife works a very stressful job. She is a salary employee. She rarely allowed to take PTO. When she does her boss and co workers constantly call her. Is there any legal action we can take? We live in NJ and her company in based in NC.

Legal action? Not that I can think of. Other action? Yes. Turn off the phone. Or get a Google Voice number and program calls from their phone numbers to go to voicemail during certain hours.

More constructively, she should talk to her boss about this. Believe it or not, some bosses genuinely don’t realize that doing this is a problem, and if you point it out, it will stop. (Not always, but often enough that it’s worth trying.) In fact, straightforward conversation about a problem is the answer more often than you’d think.

Recruiters Who Demand to Know My Salary

I often get calls from recruiters asking for my current salary. Even though I ask them back how much do they have in mind for the job, they are still hell bent on first getting a response from me on my salary. Then I tell them a range, like 50-80k, but this sours them. Firstly, why do they want to know how much I am making? Can’t they stick with what they are planning to offer for the job and then both sides do further negotiations? Secondly, does it help being honest about your salary? In any case, I would have in mind an expectation beyond which I cannot stretch, so what is the harm in giving an honest number?

They want to know how much you’re making because they’re lazy and/or not particularly thoughtful. They think it’s a good way to determine how much you’re worth, instead of evaluating a larger picture.


Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?