Author Topic: Why do you need to know that?  (Read 6497 times)

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checkitnice

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Why do you need to know that?
« on: October 29, 2012, 12:12:14 PM »
Background:  I work as a clerk in a courthouse.  Nothing major.  Very boring. 

My boss (court admin) sent out an email today, saying that he was missing information from 95% of the staff's files.  Okay, so the form we need to fill out is "Personnel Data"... and includes hobbies, children's names and DOB, spouse's name and employer.  What?  Why does he need this in our personnel file?  He is not Human Resources.  I don't have insurance through my employer, I have it through my husband's employer.  How do I politely say "I didn't feel that you needed any of that information.  Bean dip?"


Pugwoman

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 12:25:10 PM »
My first thought would be that he is trying to find out more about your likes/dislikes because of the coming holidays.  He may want to give gifts to his employees and is looking for ideas to make it more personal.  His intentions may be good, however misguided they appear to be. Of course, maybe he's just a nosey toad, who knows!

andi

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 12:27:29 PM »
That's odd info to request at work, except for maybe spouse info for emergencies. I'd send an email back asking "why is this onfoneeded?  Who specifically needs of?  Where will it be store?  Who will have access?"  Then I'd decline participation.

Oh Joy

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 12:43:41 PM »
I'd likely phrase my first response similar to 'There's a lot of personal information requested here; which sections are mandatory and which are optional?  How does the county plan to use the optional information?  Thanks!'

Amara

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 12:47:01 PM »
Can you check with the county's HR department and let them know you are uncomfortable with these questions and ask them about it?

Margo

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 12:51:55 PM »
How well do you get on with him? If you have a good working relationship, I would in the first instance ask him (in person, not by e-mail, as it's easier to convey tone and make it a freindly enquiry, not an accusation)

If that isn't possible, or if you don't feel he would react well, then an e-mail along the lines Joy suggests -
"I hadn't realised that County needed that kind of detail - is this a new thing? Can you calirify whether it is mandatory to provide this information,and if so, why?"

Two Ravens

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 12:57:54 PM »
I would run his request by HR. It is possible just asking for this information is a violation. (Something very similar happened at the last place I work, and it caused a big brouhaha)

GreenBird

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 02:22:09 PM »
"Hobbies"?  Really?  This doesn't strike me as a work-type request at all - I can't imagine why my hobbies are any concern of my employer.  I think your boss is just being nosy for some reason.  I'd ask him what the purpose of collecting this information is, and if you get a vague or improper answer, I'd reply that all of my relevant personal information is already on file with HR. 
(I'd try to have this conversation in person because it's so much harder to read tone and intentions in email.)

If it becomes clear that your boss is trying to figure out holiday gift ideas for everyone in an incredibly clumsy manner (I can't really think of any other positive reason to suddenly want all this info), I'd tell him everyone loves cash or gift cards to the local grocery store.  I wouldn't fill out the form. 


RebeccainGA

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 02:36:13 PM »
I had the same thing happen at my current job, a while back - and I just filled in the important stuff, and skipped the hobbies, kids and spouse information. No one said a word.

SoCalVal

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 03:26:27 PM »
I had the same thing happen at my current job, a while back - and I just filled in the important stuff, and skipped the hobbies, kids and spouse information. No one said a word.

Pod.  He doesn't need that info, and the company doesn't need that info, for anything pertaining to your job.



Shoo

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 04:15:22 PM »
It surprises me that he's allowed to ask for that information.  My husband can't even ask his employees for their home and/or cell phone numbers!  He can't ask them for ANY personal information, period.

gramma dishes

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2012, 04:43:13 PM »
Since apparently 95% of staff is in the same boat as you, have you heard any rumblings from anyone else? 

checkitnice

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2012, 04:58:37 PM »
I should have clarified, that is the ENTIRE form, except for name and position.  I would say the staff is evenly divided - half filled it out quickly and emailed it back, and half think it's ridiculous and aren't even filling it out. 

Name: 
Position:
Hobbies:
Spouses's name and occupation:
Kids, names and DOB:

That's it.  I can't really see it being for gifts, as it's a government agency.

oogyda

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2012, 05:02:02 PM »
I would run his request by HR. It is possible just asking for this information is a violation. (Something very similar happened at the last place I work, and it caused a big brouhaha)

This.  I'm pretty sure it's illegal for him to even be asking some of this information. 

Or, maybe let him know that he's probably breaking some rules with this and ask him to withdraw his request.

Edited to add: Since it IS a government agency, he really should know better.
It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

Venus193

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Re: Why do you need to know that?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2012, 05:35:50 PM »
That's odd info to request at work, except for maybe spouse info for emergencies. I'd send an email back asking "why is this onfoneeded?  Who specifically needs of?  Where will it be store?  Who will have access?"  Then I'd decline participation.
I'd likely phrase my first response similar to 'There's a lot of personal information requested here; which sections are mandatory and which are optional?  How does the county plan to use the optional information?  Thanks!'

These.

I can see asking for phone numbers in the event of an emergency.  However, the rest of this -- especially what you do on your own time -- is none of their business.