6

I would highly advocate that yes, such questions are off-topic, because we cannot reliably answer them and because the answers may depend on a number of other factors, such as jurisdiction and additional facts. Determining which questions are under this umbrella is, of course, more troublesome, as some questions may have "legal" and "non-legal" components. Borderline questions that may or may not be OK could include:

How can I avoid asking interview questions that are discriminatory?
What should I do if a co-worker is harassing me and my boss/HR/whoever will not do anything about it?

Questions that are pretty clearly "legal" in nature (and IMO should be off-topic) might include:

I was injured at work. How do I get compensated?
I believe I was passed over for a promotion because of my race. What should I do?

Clearly, none of my examples are spectacular questions anyway, but I hope that my point is clear. Where should we draw the line, and what should the FAQ say?

7

The emphasis should be on what someone functioning in a workplace is typically expected to know. It's harder on this site than others (such as Programmers), since we are catering to a lot of different jobs in different industries in different geographic areas. One question can be used to determine of a question is off-topic:

Could I, in a professional environment, be expected to know the answer to this question?

For example, I recently took part in a recruitment effort. I was trained on what questions I could and could not ask during an interview. Every HR professional is expected to know this. Every hiring manager (usually someone with a technical background, at my current employer) is expected to know this. Any employee who participates in an interview is expected to know this. As such, a good question about if it's OK to ask a certain question in an interview would be on-topic.

5

Many questions are going to wander into matters of law. As an example, the question on whether folks should share salary information ends up squarely in the domain of a regulatory agency in the US. While almost none of us will be lawyers, and thus we cannot be giving legal advice, most employment matters are covered by laws and regulations.

4

On topic:

  • What should I do if a co-worker is harassing me and my boss/HR/whoever will not do anything about it?
  • I believe I was passed over for a promotion because of my race. What should I do?

These are legitimate questions about navigation the workplace.

Questionable:

  • How can I avoid asking interview questions that are discriminatory?

A better question would Is anything in this list of questions discriminatory? How can i ask this question in a non discriminatory way?

Off Topic:

  • I was injured at work. How do I get compensated?

This is not about the workplace but rather about compensation.

However if the question was about dealing with the injury in the workplace then it would be on topic.

  • Since employment law has a lot to do with how workplaces are structured and run, and because as a former supervisor I always advised my employees to know the laws they were operating under, I agree that law questions are absolutely on-topic so long as they are properly scoped, as noted. – jefflunt Apr 11 '12 at 14:46

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