Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your human resources questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society and author of “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”
The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.
Have a question? Do you have an HR or work-related question you’d like me to answer? Submit it here.
Question: My family will be relocating in the next six months. How can I prepare for my job search in the new location? – Hans
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: Relocation adds another layer of complexity to the already imposing undertaking of a job search. If possible, try to give yourself plenty of time to find a new job.
Start by checking to see if internal transfer or remote work opportunities are available through your current employer. Your employer may even have an internal job posting board available. National and local trade and industry associations may have job boards or information related to the employers in your industry and targeted regions, as well.
As always, update your resume and list of references. Confirm your references are willing to speak to prospective employers on your behalf.
Target positions within a comfortable radius of your new location. If you know your specific location, you can get a feel for commuting options. To maximize your choices, consider targeting remote work opportunities as many employers have become flexible with work locations. You will also want to sign up for job alerts for your targeted positions and locations on recruiting sites.
Reach out to your personal network to inquire about opportunities in your industry. Find out if the companies they work for have local or virtual preferences.
Stay ready and available for interviews. While many interviews are being done virtually, there are still employers that may require candidates to travel for in-person interviews. It is important to be flexible and prepared to accommodate any interview requests on short notice.
Finally, temporary positions are also worth considering during the relocation. Temporary positions may provide the flexibility needed during a transition as well as income. It may even lead to a longer-term opportunity as well.
Remain diligent and open to opportunities as you prepare for a successful relocation. Good luck with your impending move and career transition.
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Q: I worked for a large public school district and was terminated for unauthorized absences while awaiting a decision on an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation request. I have been waiting for months for a decision and in the meantime, I have not been contacted by my principal. Can they terminate my employment while the ADA request is pending? How do I find an employment lawyer who is versed in my situation? – Ezra
Taylor:The short answer is yes. You can be fired for unauthorized absences unless you have job protection under an employment contract, collective bargaining agreement, or federal, state, or local laws, like the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To give you a bit of background, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for making an accommodation request under the ADA. Most employers have an obligation to speak with the employee to determine if they have coverage under the ADA for a disability. This may include asking for medical information.
If you provided all requested information but your employer failed to respond to your request, your firing could put them in violation of the ADA. Unfortunately, there is no specified time in which an employer must respond. However, the EEOC may consider months of waiting for an employer’s response to be unreasonable.
To be clear, you may not have job protection if, for example, any of the absences were not related to the ADA request or your employer requested additional information and you did not provide it.
While I can’t speak to the exact circumstances you’re facing, if you believe your employer has violated the ADA, you could submit a claim with the EEOC, which reviews employee complaints and may represent you if they believe a violation has occurred.
I hope you find a resolution and a new opportunity to move forward.