We have had multiple discussions on what constitutes legal advice here:
- Are employment law questions off-topic?
- Defining the on-topic / off-topic line on questions that could be answered by a lawyer
- What is asking for legal advice?
- What is "legal advice"?
Since the close vote changes in June, 2013, we have closed 27 different questions as 'asking for legal advice' that haven't been deleted yet. None of the discussions we've had seem to advocate blanket closing of anything that mentions a law or regulation, yet we seem to be doing that anyway.
My understanding of the previous discussions on what constitutes legal advice is as follows:
Asking What the Law Says is Okay
If a workplace expert (manager, HR, etc.) would be expected to know the information, then it is okay to ask. So if someone asks what the law says regarding, for instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act, I would hope that we would be able to point the person to a relevant resource.
Asking for Legal Advice Based on the Law Isn't
So if I say, "The law says A, B, C. I want to do X which goes against the spirit of B, but isn't explicitly prohibited under the law. Can I still be in trouble with the law for doing X?" then it is off-topic. I am not asking for what the law says (in order to allow me to make a decision on whether my action is okay or if I want to consult a lawyer to make sure), but rather for legal advice on the interpretation of a law.
From my perspective, the following types of questions should be perfectly reasonable under this policy (given that they are edited to be clear, etc.):
- Should my employer pay for my 2 weeks? Am i eligible for Unemployment
- Are there any UK laws about allergies in the workplace?
- Illegal interview/application questions in the UK?
Yet all the above questions were closed.
I would love questions like:
- What are the laws regarding collection of unemployment in Japan? (answer)
- What constitutes a disability under the ADA? (answer)
These questions are very handy, and there is a good possibility that we can provide a resource that is better than the ones available, or specific guidance on variations that aren't easily accessible on the web. That is how we can create value, but it also means we can't just auto-close questions which seem to be talking about the law.
- What criteria does a question need to stay open when discussing a law/regulation?
- How do we communicate those criteria to users? (current advice here)