Department of Labor Finalizes Federal Overtime Rule
9.24.19 – The Department of Labor announced that effective January 1, 2020, the final rule regarding Overtime Exemptions, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), will go into effect. The most notable changes include:
- Increasing the minimum salary threshold from $455 per week ($23,600 annually) to $684 per week ($35,568 annually);
- Increasing the total annual compensation requirement for “Highly Compensated Employees (HCE)” from $100,000 to $107,432 per year;
- Allowing nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level; and
- Revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.
Minimum wage rises in New Jersey to $10 per hour
7.2.19 – On July 1st the state of New Jersey raised the minimum wage to $10 per hour as a first step in a 5-year plan to gradually increase minimum wage rates to $15 an hour. The tipped wage also rises from $2.13 to $2.63 per hour. READ MORE
Top 5 Perks Employers Can Offer This Summer
4.16.19 – What can employers do to show they care (and keep productivity proportionate to the rise in temperatures)? READ MORE
Calling All PA Employers…
1.31.19 – Did you hear that Minimum wage, for workers in PA, may get a substantial boost come July 2019? READ MORE
It’s that time of year again!
11.28.18 – Time to Close out the current year and get ready for next! To help you complete Year End Close, we have prepared an End-Of-Year Checklist for you to use. Happy Holidays from the entire McCloskey Partners, LLC Team. Have a great holiday season! READ MORE
Election day is coming… Are you Ready for it?
10.29.18 – November 6th is right around the corner. Be in the Know what your rights are when employees ask if they can change their schedules to Vote! Politicians are on TV destroying each other’s reputations, political signs have been stuck in the ground wherever you look, and we’re receiving recorded messages from celebrities on our phones… READ MORE
I am a 110% Percenter, Are YOU?
8.29.18 – It’s 7:30AM and I just pulled into the office parking lot. I’m exhausted, from the hours of work I have already done from home and my “official” work day has not even began yet. READ MORE
You Quit your job Without Another Job Lined Up? Why Would You Do that?
7.27.18 – For the first time in over 15 years we are being told by many employees that they are quitting jobs without having another position lined up. We Keep Asking Employees…”Why Would You Do That?” READ MORE
Your Daily Cup of HR: Texter Beware
6.23.18 – Texting is all fun and games until it isn’t, and then you get fired… READ MORE
Dear HR: Oversharing in an Interview
5.31.18 – Dear HR: Are there perils associated with oversharing in an interview? Is that even a thing?? READ MORE
Your Daily Cup of HR:
5.22.18 – Graduation time is here again. Here are some words of advice I would have given to myself as I graduated from high school… READ MORE
Your Daily Cup of HR:
4.27.18 – McCloskey Partners team member Sarah Betteridge shares her experience on the topic of rejection… READ MORE
Dear Human Resources: Summer Dress Code / Benefits
5.2.18 – Dear Human Resources, The temperature is rising, and everyone is starting to think SUMMER! I have some questions… READ MORE
Dear Human Resources: Racial/Unconscious Bias training
4.27.18 – Dear Human Resources, Starbucks has me thinking about Racial/Unconscious Bias training for my business, what should I do? READ MORE
Dear Human Resources: Using Assessments for Recruiting.
4.13.18 – Dear Human Resources, I have a recruiting quandary, can you help? READ MORE
What’s Your ROI 4 NEO?
4.3.18 – If you are scratching your head thinking… what does NEO stand for… you better read on! Does your New Employee Orientation (NEO) / On-Boarding Process deliver a Return on Investment (ROI)? READ MORE
Inclement Weather and Whether Your Company Has a Plan?
3.8.18 – Question: Due to our recent inclement weather, we are receiving a lot of calls from companies asking if they are required to pay their employees if they close the office early, close all day or opt to have a delayed start time.
Answer: To answer that question, we ask… What does your Employee Handbook say?
We received a lot of answers like… Oh No we do not have a policy for that! Take the time now, before the next storm, to get an Inclement Weather policy in place.
Don’t let this happen to you… OMG I FORGOT!
Your Human Resources Year End Checklist
12.8.17 – Wrapping up the end of 2017, it is time for making lists and checking them twice. Below are some key areas that can be easily overlooked by companies with all of the year end hustle and bustle that goes on. However, failure to review these important points can create headaches for your company and not the kind caused by too much eggnog!
Are all the required trainings completed? Hint… have you trained your staff on what is appropriate and not appropriate conduct? (No, it’s not ok to fondle that cute coworker… that would be considered “inappropriate” behavior!)
Do your employees know the difference between Appropriate and Inappropriate Conduct? If your answer is… “I am not sure,” schedule Sensitivity Awareness today to help minimize your company’s risks. (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Managing Life and Work While Dealing with Grief from Losing a Loved One
7.27.17 – Grief is an intense emotion that people feel when they’ve lost something. The loss can be from a breakup, losing a pet, or losing a job. However, grief can also be associated with the loss of a loved one. Everyone experiences grief, but each person experiences it in a different way. READ MORE
Stay Interview vs. Exit Interview
6.5.17 – Sometimes, an employee puts in their resignation and you are probably thinking… it’s about time! And for those employees, you will not look back and just say goodbye. READ MORE
The Heat is on… AND Your Employees are Taking off their Clothes
5.23.17 – Have you recently reviewed the Company’s Dress Code Policy? If not, NOW is the time to review the policy to ensure that the policy clearly communicates what is acceptable and not acceptable for employees to wear. AND if there are policy violations, what the consequences will be. Such as, employee will be sent home asked to change. READ MORE
Being Conscious of Your Unconscious Bias: Tips for Recognizing Bias in Your Recruiting Strategy
5.16.17 – Did you know more than 60% of CEOs are over six feet tall? Or that blondes earn 7% more annually than brunettes or redheads? As any recruiter or hiring manager knows, certain applicants stand out against others. Hopefully it’s because their experience fits the requirements. READ MORE
Bring Your Child to Work Day
April 27, 2017
3.31.17 – Want to demonstrate to your employees that your company values them and promotes work-life balance? Consider allowing your employees to bring their children to work for a day. This April 27th is national Bring Your Child to Work Day, and is a great way for companies to boost employee morale and engagement. READ MORE
How to Be a Leader in Business
A Guest Article by Gloria Martinez, Guest Writer
3.23.17 – Good leaders are not born with their skills, but leadership skills are not difficult to develop if you have the determination and you take the time to practice them. In order to reap the rewards of good leadership, you must first invest in it. Once you have a strong set of management skills, you can use them to benefit not only the operation of your enterprise, but also to strengthen your workforce and increase productivity. READ MORE
Ditching the Annual Performance Review
3.20.17 – Can we be honest… most of our clients tell us that they find the annual performance review process to be excruciating and painful – for both managers and employees. And quite honestly, we at McCloskey Partners feel their pain. READ MORE
Your 2016 Human Resources Year End Checklist
12.5.16 – Below are some key areas that can be easily overlooked by companies with all of the year end hustle and bustle that goes on. However, failure to review these important points can create headaches for your company and not the kind caused by too much latkes’ and eggnog! READ MORE
Holiday Parties: “I’ll take the egg nog… with a side of Sexual Harassment, please”
11.22.16 – It’s almost that time of year again! Time for merriment, hot chocolate, egg nog, sexual harassment, and mistletoe. Woohoo! Wait a minute… sexual harassment doesn’t belong on that list. But it’s definitely one of many HR nightmares, we mean challenges that holiday parties present for all employers, large and small. READ MORE
Inclement Weather: Are your snow blowers and shovels ready? What about your Company’s Inclement Weather Policy…is that ready too?
11.1.16 – When there is a threat of bad weather, does your business have a weather policy in place? OR do you just HOPE everything will work out and it’s business as usual? READ MORE
Lost in Translation: Be Cautious with English-Only Policies in the Workplace
9.30.16 – Establishing an English-only workplace is not only difficult, it can be illegal. With an increasingly multicultural workforce, some employers try to require that employees speak only English on the job. READ MORE
Company Culture: Do Political Discussions Fit in Your Workplace?
9.16.16 – Let’s be honest… election time can bring out the best and sometimes the worst in people. Then add the volatility of the 2016 American election. There are many things we can say about the 2016 American Election, but that would make this blog too long. READ MORE
Up in Smoke: HR Policies and Medical Marijuana
8.30.16 – With a patchwork myriad of state law changes, how do companies ensure their drug policies do not go up in smoke? READ MORE
Waiving Copayments/ Deductibles when employees are also patients of a healthcare practice
8.22.16 I think we can call agree that collecting co-pays and deductibles is an important part of valuing the services that healthcare practitioners provide. READ MORE
Drug & Alcohol Testing and OSHA – New Rules Announced
8.11.2016 – Accidents happen and many employers have policies which mandate drug and alcohol testing when these workplace accidents do occur. Under OSHA’s newly announced rules, that went into effect 8/10/2016, some employers’ commonly used policies may now be considered unlawful if they are not drafted in accordance with these new rules. READ MORE
Office Cool – What to Wear when the Weather Warms Up?
8.8.2016 – With summer on the way, now is a good time to revisit your dress code for the warmer months. Your industry, working conditions, and clientele have a big impact on your dress code. Industrial, warehouse, and construction work require a different dress code than a restaurant, law office, or retail store. In a warehouse, open-toe shoes create a safety risk. In many corporate settings, open-toe shoes are unprofessional, and in the food service industry, open-toe shoes are unsafe and unhygienic. READ MORE
Man vs. Machine Are machines replacing employees?
8.1.2016 – Machine learning and automation are reshaping our lives and the future of work. Are machines going to replace employees? The question is not whether it will occur-the challenge is to understand the change and how it will proceed. Cast for years as Hollywood bad guys (think Fembots, Terminator, Megatron), many people did not anticipate the real impact of machines on human life. Instead of aggressors, machines deliver (and even write) news, build products, keep traffic running smoothly, and check you in for your medical appointment. READ MORE
Surf’s Up! How Flexible are your Work Hours during the Summer?
7.18.2016 – Warm breezes encourage some companies to offer flexible work schedules during the summer months. For some organizations, traditional nine-to-five workdays and rigorous accounting of vacation time are a thing of the past. While some industries must retain production scheduling 24/7, even these companies are finding ways to help employees enjoy summertime a little bit more. Why the change? READ MORE
Final Overtime Rule Announced by the White House
May 18, 2016 – The White House announced new rules expected to extend overtime pay benefits to more than four million Americans.
In November of 2015, proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) through an initiative titled “A Fair Day’s Pay for a Fair Day’s Work” were discussed. During the comment period between July and September of last year, the Department of Labor (DOL) logged more than 270,000 remarks from the public. READ MORE
Watch for an Increase in OSHA Penalties in 2016
May 13, 2016 – A federal budget amendment signed into law in late 2015 will result in a substantial increase in penalties levied by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). READ MORE
Accommodating Disability: Alcoholism is Protected Under the ADA
April 26, 2016 – Is it possible for an alcoholic to claim protected status under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? The short answer is “yes.” READ MORE
Current Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, Will Remain Effective After March 31, 2016
April 5, 2016 – Until further notice, employers should continue using Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This current version of the form continues to be effective even after the Office of Management and Budget control number expiration date of March 31, 2016, has passed. USCIS will provide updated information about the new version of Form I-9 as it becomes available.
Employers must complete Form I-9 for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the U.S.
Pennsylvania may become the 24th state to legalize Medical Marijuana
March 16, 2016 – On Wednesday, March 16, 2016 the Pennsylvania House PASSED an amendment to their previous position on the Medical Marijuana Bill. Governor Tom Wolfe has indicated that the Bill will soon be approved. READ MORE
Don’t Forget About I-9 Compliance and Monitoring!
January 19, 2016 – What do Krispy Kreme, Abercrombie and Fitch, and a Washington apple orchard have in common? The answer is fines of between $40,000 and several million dollars for violations of the Form I-9 requirements under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). READ MORE
Stopping the Active Shooter: What Role Does HR Play?
When a work environment can become a killing ground, how can HR professionals defend employees from an active shooter?
January 19, 2016 – A California office building, an Oregon university, restaurants in Paris, France—other than the sudden, tragic loss of life, these places all involved victims who went to work, expecting to go home later. They never made it. READ MORE
7 Tips to ensure that the Company Holiday Party does not show up on YouTube/Facebook!
Saving the Holiday Party (and an HR nightmare)
December 11, 2015 – Holiday parties are a tradition at this time of year, but they can create a hangover that lasts all year round. What starts out as a simple plan to get employees together to celebrate, can all too easily end up in the copier being used in very inappropriate ways. READ MORE
Don’t let this happen to you… OMG I FORGOT!
Your Human Resources Year End Checklist
December 2, 2015 – As we head into the end of 2015, it is time to start making lists and checking them twice. Below are some key areas that can be easily overlooked by companies with all of the year end hustle and bustle that goes on. However, failure to review these important points can create headaches for your company and not the kind caused by too much eggnog! READ MORE
Cyber Attacks are on the Rise—Is Your Network Secure? Are your HR Policies ready for a Cyber Attack?
November 24, 2015 – In early November, a group of hackers took aim at global financial interests and Cloud providers of secure email and office suite services. As the number of malicious and data-theft hacks rise—how do you know your company network is secure? READ MORE
Are you prepared for the new overtime rules?
November 10, 2015 – Is your business ready to meet the challenge of new federal overtime regulations now in the works? The initiative is called, “A Fair Day’s Pay for a Fair Day’s Work,” and it is moving forward fast. READ MORE
Employment Applications – Ban The Box
November 9, 2015 – Last week, President Obama banned the box for federal employees. So what does that mean? And more importantly, does it apply to me? READ MORE
Is the U.S. Worker’s Compensation System Being Dismantled?
October 26, 2015 – As workers’ compensation programs have quietly changed in the United States, it is unclear whether the protections to injured workers are being provided, yet the ability of many injured workers to sue is impeded, thus violating the basic premise, or “compensation bargain,” of workers’ compensation programs. READ MORE
Oh My Goodness, is it really after Labor Day… Urg that means it’s time to start working again!
September 8, 2015 – Click below to learn about the McCloskey Partners, LLC Recruiting Discount! READ MORE
Is March Madness Causing Pandemonium in your Workplace?
March 24, 2015 – CHALFONT, Pa. — March Madness is now upon us and will be taking over the airwaves for the coming weeks. This means people participating are feverishly checking the latest stats or tuning into TBS/TNT/CBS/Tru TV during any free moment, filling out their brackets and most likely betting some cash on their favorite picks. READ MORE
Part I of Series / Same Sex Marriages & Domestic Relationships
Why Should I Pay Attention to the Potential Changes in the Same Sex Marriage rules? They Don’t Affect Me! Oh, but these rules may affect you in the near future!
PRLog – Feb. 19, 2015 – CHALFONT, Pa. — As it stands now, each U.S. state is able to make its own decision regarding same sex marriage and whether or not to recognize it. This in turn effects employment, benefits, tax implications, family medical leave and time off policies for companies. READ MORE
Part II of Series / Same Sex Marriages & Domestic Relationships
I Need To Worry About Benefits For The Domestic Partners of My Employees? Seriously!?#
Yes, Seriously. More and more, employers are recognizing the domestic partners of their employees. In some places, it has become law (or will be soon enough). READ MORE
“Would you like fries with that?” – For $10.00 per hour?
(When you think of Minimum Wage… What is the stereotype that pops into your head?)
1/29/15 Whether unsure or have not taken a stance yet… if you are a business owner, now is the time to start thinking about how the increase to minimum wage has and WILL affect your business and your bottom-line. READ MORE
You’re Fired… now get out… oh but wait… please sign this Severance Agreement first and here is your check for $5,000,000 so that you don’t sue us!
8/19/14 The idea behind a severance agreement is that an employee agrees to take something of value to which he/she is not otherwise entitled — additional compensation, continuation of benefits, or other “in kind” consideration — in exchange for agreeing not to sue the employer. READ MORE
It’s Random Drug Testing time. Let’s get the hat ready to pick names!
6/6/14 Many companies drug test these days, whether by choice or strict regulation based on their industry or the duties of the employees. Many companies also do these tests completely wrong! Does your company conduct “random” drug tests?” Are you sure your selection process is truly random? (Hint: picking names out of a hat or your head doesn’t cut it). If your selection process is not verifiably unbiased, it can lead to problems if the employee objects or feels targeted. It also doesn’t help to insure all employees are eventually tested. There is a correct and scientific way to conduct such tests – are you doing them correctly? If not, you could be setting yourself up for costly penalties or even litigation. READ MORE
State Minimum Wage Changes: 12/2013 and 2014
1/2/14 Employer Rights & Responsibilities.
Effective Date: Regulations take effect December 31, 2013 (New York), January 1, 2014 (most states), and July 1, 2014 (California). An updated wage poster should be posted in a conspicuous area frequented by all staff. Contact McCloskey Partners for additional information on how to obtain the required posters. READ MORE
How the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact your business in 2014
12/19/13 With 2014 right around the corner it’s important that companies take a few minutes to understand what the approaching ACA rules mean for their business. READ MORE
7 Tips for Saving the Holiday Party (and an HR nightmare)
12/6/13 Holiday parties are a tradition at this time of year, but they can create a hangover that lasts all year round. What starts out as a simple plan to get employees together to celebrate can all too easily end up in the copier being used in very inappropriate ways. READ MORE
McCloskey Partners is on the move!
11/22/13 Philadelphia, PA – McCloskey Partners, LLC, a full-service Human Resources firm formerly located in Perkasie, PA, is excited to announce our relocation to Montgomeryville! The new facility, located at 595 Bethlehem Pike, Suites 403 & 404, Montgomeryville, PA 18936, offers additional space to accommodate the growth we have experienced over the last few years, as well as it allows us to be better committed to service the needs of our clients at a convenient location. READ MORE
Philadelphia Business Journal Honors McCloskey Partners
2013 Winner: Best Places to Work
9/18/13 Philadelphia, PA – As a part of its annual awards program, The Philadelphia Business Journal has named McCloskey Partners as one of Philadelphia’s Best Places to Work for 2013 for the second year in a row. Last evening McCloskey Partners was awarded the Silver Medal. READ MORE
I’ll have a Vanilla Caramel Latte and that hacker over there will have all of my company’s information.
7/9/13 Working remotely in a coffee shop or outside on a sunny day – it sounds perfect right? You’re able to get your work done, but also enjoy your favorite latte or take in some fresh air and sunshine at the same time! Thanks to the abundance of hotspots and free WiFi connections available these days, it easy to work from almost anywhere. Yet by working through a public WiFi connection, are you putting your information (as well as your company’s information) at risk? READ MORE
The Affordable Care Act will be implemented before we know it. 2014, after all, is only 6 months away! Insert big gasp here…
7/1/13 When you think about the changes coming in 2014, as part of the Affordable Care Act, do you understand them all? Or are they as clear as mud? Navigating the murky waters of the changes employers like you need to make by 2014 can be like wading through muck. READ MORE
Throwing a Summer Party at Your Company? Be Careful – They’re Not Always The Picnic You Think They’ll Be.
6/4/13 When summer rolls around, many companies celebrate by throwing a party or picnic to boost morale, and to prove they’re not just “all business”. Depending on the size of your organization, this gathering could be held at a local park, an employee’s home, or a nearby open space. While celebrating outside of the office is a great way to bring people together and make your company a fun place to work and play, holding such celebrations is not without risk. READ MORE
McCloskey Partners Launches Staffing/Recruiting Division
4/15/13 Spring has sprung and with it McCloskey Partners has launched its new Staffing/Recruiting Division. New Staffing Services Allow You To Add Qualified Staff Members, Not Just Additional Employees. READ MORE
Interns: Is It Finally Time To Pay The Piper?
4/12/13 This time of year, many college students are wrapping up their spring semesters. If they haven’t already, they will soon be canvassing for internships to get a foothold in the job market. Does your corporation utilize the services of interns? If so, do you offer them payment? You may want to reconsider if you do not, as you may be breaking the law by not properly compensating them for their “work.” READ MORE
10 Ways Your Business Can Benefit From Hiring an HR Consulting Firm
3/22/13 All organizations, regardless of size, need Human Resources expertise. Think yours is fine with your CEO or Controller handling what he or she can get to in addition to running the business, handling the finances, finding your clients, and managing your staff? Figure you’ll worry about this kind of thing later on when your company is larger? READ MORE
Employee Discipline and all that Jazz…
2/15/13 This past December, an employee of the NBA team the Utah Jazz took to Twitter to voice his opinion regarding the firing of a Brooklyn team coach and his rumored successor. The tweet caused an uproar, was taken down, and the employee had his access to the social media site revoked as well as facing internal disciplinary action.
Your staff members may not have access to an audience the size of the Utah Jazz, yet you’re probably not immune to the issue they faced: disciplining an employee. In this case, the Jazz took down the tweet, apologized, and handled the issue privately. They stated they were not in the business of commenting on other teams’ business, nor do they condone negative comments about players, coaches or others within the league. Their actions were swift, comprehensive and (hopefully) effective.
Issues such as this one show us that all organizations occasionally face matters of employee discipline. No matter how good a supervisor you are, problems can occur, things happen, and even good employees mess up. The occurrence of a problem does not reflect on your ability as a supervisor. How you handle it does. Let McCloskey Partners provide you with the team support you need to effectively and efficiently deal with it – as well as any other jazz that comes your way.
Are You Guilty Of Just “Hoping It Goes Away”
When Dealing With Employee Discipline Issues?
2/5/13 Disciplining employees is not something most managers look forward to doing. The ability to successfully handle employee discipline in a timely and professional manner, however, is crucial for any business. Maintaining an “I hope this goes away” approach may not be the best strategy, yet how can you prepare yourself and better handle issues in this area? Below are four key ways to address issues of employee discipline: READ MORE
Got a “gnarly” employee handbook from 1982?
Dude. That’s risky business these days!
1/4/13 “This is outrageous!” The boss was perusing a copy of the report he’d recently asked me to research. “How do you expect me to use any of this information? This research is all old. It’s completely outdated and you want me to base important company decisions on this? What were you thinking?” he shouted. READ MORE
Here’s your paycheck. Now vote for the candidate the company endorses!
11/1/12 Ok, no one actually SAYS that, right? In an election year, all kinds of lines can be crossed when it comes to politics. While it’s not usually that blatant, some business owners are taking politics and the assumption of free speech into their own hands at work by attempting to “educate/or sway” employees on the candidate or the policies of their liking. Employees can overstep boundaries by offending others with their political opinions and comments. READ MORE
Don’t put that in there! The simple HR error that could cost you a lawsuit!
9/11/12 Let’s face it – dealing with employee paperwork isn’t always fun. Yet dealing with it haphazardly or in the wrong way could be painful or even fatal to a small business like yours. You need to be sure you’re not ignoring regulations or inadvertently breaking a local, state, or federal law. One simple mistake that can get your business into hot water is what’s acceptable and necessary to have in an employee’s personnel file and what should never be included. Use this simple guide to make sure you know just how to separate the documentation you have correctly! READ MORE
Think you’re doing all you can to assure your employees are legally eligible to work in this country? You may want to think again!
9/5/12 Take it from retailer Abercrombie & Fitch – mistakes in verifying the eligibility of your employees to work in this country can cost you, and cost you a lot. As this well-known retailer found out in 2010, not properly researching and documenting the eligibility of your employees to work in the US can result in huge fines – to the tune of more than a million dollars for A&F. Don’t fall victim to this in YOUR small business! READ MORE
Four basic safeguards your hiring and social media policies shouldn’t be without!
You’ve interviewed a great candidate. Now you want to go online and research them further. Be aware of how you use the data you find via social media sites. It could lead to discriminatory hiring practices. For instance, an applicant’s Facebook profile may provide information on their race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or other sensitive personal facts. The applicant’s pictures or daily updates may show that they are pregnant. Once you know this information, it’s difficult to not let it factor into your hiring decision, and can leave you open to lawsuits if job applicants think it affected their ability to secure a position. READ MORE
Hey, nice car! Is that what you like to do when you’re not working?
6/5/12 Your job applicant pulls up in a souped-up car. You ask if he or she likes to fix up cars in their spare time. Did you know that asking this may technically be illegal? Their hobbies are not relevant to the hiring decision and knowing them may provide you with knowledge that may unfairly sway your decision. Have you ever asked a job applicant something you later realized was perhaps something you shouldn’t have? Or wanted to ask a question but were unsure if it was legal to ask? READ MORE