Q&A

If an employee wants to earn less, not more, what could possibly be the legal risk?

11/19/2014
Q. Can we pay an employee minimum wage for a position that usually pays more? We have an applicant who doesn’t want to lose her pension benefits and can work for minimum wage yet still qualify to receive her pension. Should we have her make that request in writing?

Should we automatically make payroll deductions for employees' lunch breaks?

11/14/2014
Q. Our payroll system automatically deducts 30 minutes per day from drivers for lunch since they are on the road and away from a computer. I have concerns about liability. Should we make this deduction?

What religious accommodations must I provide?

11/03/2014
Q. I have more than 100 employees, and they belong to many different religious faiths. Many of them devoutly adhere to daily rituals they hold sacred. What accommodations, if any, must I provide for their religious practices?

Is it OK to substitute paid leave for FMLA leave?

11/03/2014
Q. May an employee substitute paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave?

How far do we have to go to provide work when an employee returns from FMLA leave?

11/03/2014
Q. I am the owner of a security services company. One of my rank-and-file employees is currently on leave from work under the FMLA. Due to an economic downturn, I have been forced to reduce the number of shifts available to my employees. If there is no longer a shift available for this employee when he returns from FMLA leave, am I be required to find or create a shift for him?

How should we pay for weekend travel time?

10/31/2014
Q. How do you pay hourly employees who are traveling on a day that’s not considered a workday, like Saturday or Sunday? What if they normally have a 10-minute commute to the office but instead they have to go to the airport, which is an hour away?

Trust assistant to maintain confidentiality?

10/31/2014
Q. I’m the HR director of a 45-employee company and have one assistant. Due to the firm’s growth, I’m considering giving my assistant more responsibility. My concern: The assistant is very friendly with about 10 other employees, two of whom are her roommates. What’s to stop her from divulging information to her friends? I have said nothing to her about my concerns yet. What can I express to her without overstepping her legal rights?

What kind of employee files do we need?

10/31/2014
Q. How many files should be kept for each employee and what paperwork must be included in each?

What's the procedure for handling a worker's comp claim when an employee is injured?

10/27/2014
Q. As a California employer, what should I do if one of my employees gets injured on the job or has a work-related illness?

Which interview questions are off-limits?

10/27/2014
Q. What questions am I prohibited from asking during employment interviews?

Even though we have no employees, do we still need workers' comp coverage?

10/27/2014
Q. My daughter and I are the sole owners of our business. Are we required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage even though we have no employees?

Seizure disorder raises safety issue: Can we fire?

10/23/2014
Q. A new employee just told us she has a seizure disorder. Our facility works with vulnerable adults and the new employee would be required to drive them. This poses a risk potential for the client’s safety. Can we terminate this person or do we need to figure out an accommodation? The employee hasn’t asked for any yet.

Worker damaged truck then quit: Any recourse?

10/22/2014
Q. An employee driving a backhoe backed into a wall and tore the door off. We had to install a new door ($275), but the employee quit that same week. So we deducted $275 from his last check. Now he says he’s talking to a lawyer. Were we right?

Collection agency calls: Must we give workers' info?

10/17/2014
Q. Our small business sometimes gets calls from loan providers or collection agencies about our em­ployees. What information are we required to give?

What do we need to consider before offering extra pay for weekend work?

10/14/2014
Q. We have a short-term project coming up that is going to require some of our hourly, nonexempt employees to work some extra weekend hours. We are thinking we might pay them a higher rate to work on the weekends to encourage employees to volunteer and to reward them. Is there anything we should be keeping in mind before we do that?
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