“If I could sum up why I’m committed to the HR Girlfriends community it would come down to because we are ‘….in this together.'”

~Sana’ Rasul, Chief Girlfriend

Q&A: 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 with Disabilities Act and give you information about an employee’s inclusion in a protected class that you’d be better off not having before hire.

Additionally, if you’re in a state that requires you to provide sick leave, making adverse employment decisions based on use of protected sick leave use (including deciding not to hire someone) could expose you to liability.

However, when calling references, it is permissible to ask generally about attendance and tardiness to get a feel for the candidate’s reliability.

 

Rebecca has a diverse background in Human Resources and Training Management from the temporary staffing and insurance industries. She has served in a variety of HR management positions, and enjoys translating complex regulatory language into “real world” scenarios, allowing her clients to quickly utilize the content in their daily activities.

Leave a comment

Never miss an opportunity to earn HRCI/SHRM credits, identify a mentor, or connect 1:1 with another HR Girlfriend in your city or across the country.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Author picture

HR Girlfriends™ is a Human Resources networking organization dedicated to advancing the practice and culture of people empowerment. Our team of Girlfriends consult, train, educate, develop, share, promote, and advocate for solutions in the field of human resource management.

Are You IN?
Or Are You OUT?

It’s time you join forces with a community of like-minded peers ready to tackle the issues unique to the women of HR.
  • All
  • Affirmation
  • Career Mondays
  • Certification
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
All
  • All
  • Affirmation
  • Career Mondays
  • Certification
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
HR Q&A

Q&A: We’ve had a request for a religious accommodation, but I think the employee wants to get out of following the policy for other reasons. How do I determine whether a religious belief is legitimate and sincerely held?

Ordinarily, you should assume that an employee’s request for a religious accommodation is based on a sincerely held religious belief, observance, or practice. The definition ...
Read More →
Career Mondays

Career Monday: 14 Habits That Make You a More Valuable Employee

Making yourself more valuable to your employer leads to a more successful career. More opportunities open up when you have an impressive resume and a ...
Read More →
HR Q&A

Q&A: We’re not bound by any law requiring us to conduct background checks, but we choose to do them for all new hires. Should we also do them when we rehire an employee?

It’s up to you. Conducting a background check when hiring a former employee would keep the process simple and straightforward. Every exception you add to ...
Read More →
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap