Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #21
12032022Sat
Last updateThu, 01 Dec 2022 3pm

What questions are employers allowed to ask during a job interview? I was recently asked if I was planning on having a family soon? And, I heard some employers in the U.S. are asking for Facebook passwords. Can they do that?

Dear Working Wise:

What questions are employers allowed to ask during a job interview? I was recently asked if I was planning on having a family soon? And, I heard some employers in the U.S. are asking for Facebook passwords. Can they do that? Signed, Concerned 

 

Dear Concerned:

 

There is no law that specifically forbids an employer from asking for your Facebook password, but the request would likely be deemed unreasonable under Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).

 

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has cautioned Alberta organizations about using social media to perform background checks, because it is very easy to violate PIPA.

 

For more information, visit http://oipc.ab.ca and read Guidelinesfor Social Media Background Checks.

 

And, no, employers are not allowed to ask you if you are planning to have children. Private information like that is protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act for businesses under provincial jurisdiction.

 

Some employers might not be well informed about this provincial legislation and may unknowingly ask inappropriate questions. You should prepare for this possibility so you are not caught off guard in an interview.

 

Generally, any information that could intentionally or inadvertently be used to discriminate against you cannot be asked. Employers should only be asking you for information that is relevant to your ability to do the job.

 

Employers cannot ask about your:

·   gender, marital status, family status, next of kin, marriage plans or child-care arrangements;

·   source of income, unless it concerns your former employment;

·   maiden name or name origin;

·   age or date of birth, but they can ask if you meet the minimum age requirement for the job, if applicable;

·   previous address, unless it meets a business purpose acceptable under the Act;

·   birthplace or ancestry;

·   height or weight

·   sexual orientation;

·   membership in organizations unrelated to your work;

·   current or past health problems, Workers’ Compensation Board claims, or any absence due to stress or mental illness;

·   citizenship or languages not required for the job;

·   religious beliefs, customs and holidays that you observe; or

·   military service outside Canada, unless there is an acceptable business-related purpose.

 

Employers can not request a photo, which could reveal factors such as race and gender, except in certain circumstances such as a modeling or entertainment position. If an employer requires a photograph for business-related purposes, they can ask for it after an offer of employment has been made.

 

Employers can ask:

·   if you can fulfill work-related requirements, such as working night shifts or lifting heavy items;

·   for any previous names you have had if the information is needed to complete reference checks or verify your past employment or education; and

·   if you are legally permitted to work in Alberta.

 

Three ways to handle inappropriate questions:

1.      Write "not applicable" on the application form, politely refuse to answer the question, or tactfully let the employer know the question is inappropriate;

2.      Answer the question and then discuss the underlying concern that has prompted the question. For example, an employer who inappropriately asks about your family plans might be wondering if you will be absent frequently. In this case you could address the underlying concern by talking about your excellent attendance record and your ability to do the job; or

3.      Answer only the underlying concern.

 

However you choose to answer, be professional, diplomatic and honest.

 

After you are offered the job and accept it, the employer can ask you for information required for benefit coverage and for employment records.

 

If you have a question about a specific situation or think you might have a complaint, contact the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

 

Alberta Human Rights Commission – Northern Regional Office

800 Standard Life Centre, 10405 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4R7

Confidential Inquiry Line 780-427-7661, Fax: 780-427-6013

To call toll-free within Alberta, dial 310-0000 and then enter the area code and phone number.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. This article is for general information.


I just received a poor performance review from a new manager after years of great reviews from other managers. I don’t feel the review was fair. Manager minimized my successes and emphasized two negative things. Can an employee contest a performance evalu

Dear Working Wise:

I just received a poor performance review from a new manager after years of great reviews from other managers. I don’t feel the review was fair. Manager minimized my successes and emphasized two negative things. Can an employee contest a performance evaluation? Signed, Angry

 

Dear Angry:    

 

Most of us take pride in what we do and how we do it. I can understand why you feel upset—you probably feel underappreciated, attacked, and cheated—but you will have to put your feelings aside to avoid making things worse.

 

Alberta Employment Standards does not address performance reviews—they are a matter between you and your employer. But, there are some things you can do to actively manage the issue and avoid another negative review.

 

What you can do:

¨  Keep doing a good job, getting along with others, and maintain a positive attitude.

¨  Don’t discuss your review—or your feelings about your manager—with co-workers.

¨  Take a day to calm down and separate emotion from fact.

¨  Read your review again with an open mind—Don’t compare this review against previous reviews or managers.

¨  Try to put yourself in your manager’s shoes—is your manager at least partially right?

¨  Have you been coasting on past achievements? Employers value what you will contribute in the future more than what you have contributed in the past.

¨  Make a list of the points you agree with and the points you disagree on.

¨  Gather proof to strengthen your arguments, e.g., commendations, emails, kudos, successes, facts and numbers, etc. that show your contributions.

¨  Find out if your employer has a formal appeal process. If so, follow it.

¨  Ask your manager for a meeting to discuss your performance review.

¨  Be calm, respectful, professional and constructive during the meeting.

¨  Reassure your manager that you value your job and that you are committed to ensuring that your next review is great.

¨  Acknowledge the criticisms you agree with and what you plan to do to improve.

¨  Raise the criticisms you disagree with and present your evidence. Ask your manager to explain his concerns—Ask for specific examples to help you better understand.

¨  Ask your manager for specific suggestions how you can improve. Use this opportunity to clarify your manager’s expectations of you and ensure your job description reflects your current role.

¨  Develop an action plan that both you and your manager agree will address all the concerns. Capture your plan in writing so neither of you forget what you agreed.

¨  Don’t wait a year—ask for a three-month follow-up meeting to discuss your progress with your manager. You will avoid surprises and you will be able to remind your manager that you are working to the plan the two of you created. Your manager can also use this meeting to raise any new concerns before they end up on your permanent record.

¨  If your meeting doesn’t go well, you can ask your manager to attach a response letter to your appraisal. Your response letter should politely, respectfully, and professionally acknowledge the issues you agree with and what you plan to do to address them along with the points you disagree with.

 

A performance review should not be full of surprises—it is a review, not a reveal. If your manager is not giving you regular performance feedback, start asking what you are doing right and wrong so you can avoid a disappointing review next year.

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. This column is provided for general information.

 

I’m in my last year of high school and I need a summer job to help save for university next year. I heard that the Service Canada Centres For Youth, aka Hire-a-student offices, are not opening this summer. Are there any other services to help students fin

Dear Working Wise:

I’m in my last year of high school and I need a summer job to help save for university next year. I heard that the Service Canada Centres For Youth, aka Hire-a-student offices, are not opening this summer. Are there any other services to help students find jobs this summer? Signed, Hire This Student

 

Dear Hire:

 

Yes, help is available for students who are looking for summer employment.

 

Summer jobs and part-time employment play an important role in helping students pay for their education and keep their student loans to a minimum.

 

Here are some resources to help you find a summer job or part-time employment.

 

1.      ALIS website (http://alis.alberta.ca) is a one-stop online career resource where you can do anything from explore career options to research post-secondary institutions, to look for a job. The site includes links to Alberta Work Search Online, tips on writing resumés and giving job interviews, and links to job postings. The site also offers a free online resumé review service staffed by professional career counselors.

 

2.      Career Information Hotline (1-800-661-3753) is staffed by professional career counselors who can help you write your resumé, prepare a cover letter, find job opportunities, and market yourself to potential employers. In Edmonton, call 780-422-4266.

 

3.      Canada-Alberta Job Bank (www.jobbank.gc.ca) has thousands of job postings that are searchable by community, industry and key word. The site offer a student-youth job search feature along with Job Match and Job Alert features that alert you when a new job is posted that fits your criteria. And employers can post free job ads on this site.

 

4.      The Government of Canada’s Youth Canada website (www.youth.gc.ca) offers information and resources on preparing your job search, writing resumés and cover letters, job opportunities, and how to gain work experience.

 

5.      Alberta Works social media sites give job seekers a place to find local employers who are hiring along with news about upcoming local job fairs. Employers can also post free job advertisements on these sites:

·         Calgary www.facebook.com/calgaryjobsfeed

·         Calgary www.twitter.com/calgaryjobfeed

·         Central Alberta www.facebook.com/centralalbertajobs

·         Edmonton www.facebook.com/edmontonjobs

·         Fort McMurray www.facebook.com/fortmcmurrayjobs

·         Lethbridge www.facebook.com/lethbridgejobs

 

6.      Job Fairs page http://employment.alberta.ca/jobfairs lists all of the upcoming Government of Alberta sponsored jobs fairs.

 

7.      Alberta Works Centres (http://employment.alberta.ca/offices) are job-search centres staffed by Career and Employment Consultants, which offer free:

·         Job-search tips and advice;

·         Job postings and links to employers who are hiring;

·         Resumé, cover letter and job interview workshops;

·         Access to computers, photocopiers and fax machines for job searches.

 

8.      Other resources for student job seekers may be available in your community. For example, the Calgary Youth Employment Centre (www.nextsteps.org) helps young Calgarians plan their careers and find employment. Many post-secondary institutions also offer summer job-search assistance. Check with your local Alberta Works Centre to find out what is available in your community.

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. This column is provided for general information.

 

 


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