Q&A

Can we ask our employees to keep mum about their bonuses?

12/19/2014
Q. Our company is handing out bonuses only to those who deserve it. Can we ask them—not demand them—to keep it quiet as we hand them their checks?

Is California WARN different than the federal law?

12/08/2014
Q. As a California employer, am I required to follow the same 90-day aggregation rule that the federal WARN Act follows?

How should we pay nonexempt telecommuter?

12/08/2014
Q. I recently allowed one of my hourly employees to telecommute full time. What actions must I take to ensure proper payment of her wages?

How does California's plant closing law work?

12/08/2014
Q. Our company is going to have lay off a large number of employees. Are we required to give notice to the employees?

Can we make worker pay for broken merchandise?

12/08/2014
Q. One of our employees dropped a case of expensive merchandise while stocking the shelves of our store. It caused a loss of several hundred dollars. Can we deduct the cost of the merchandise from his paycheck?

Employee is returning from Nigeria: Can we request she stay out of the office for 21 days?

12/04/2014
Q. We have an employee traveling to Nigeria for a family gathering. Even though Nigeria is Ebola-free at this time, we are considering requesting that she stay out of the office for 21 days upon return to eliminate panic among employees. Due to the nature of her job, she cannot work from home. Do we legally need to pay her for this time?

Benefits: Should we put details in the employee handbook or the Summary Plan Description?

11/27/2014
Q. Should a small business employee handbook include a safe-harbor clause under the benefits section for their 401k plan? In the past, the benefits information in the handbook has been limited because it can change so often. Instead, the handbook just points the employee to the summary plan documents.

If employees are absent the day before or after a holiday, can we withhold their pay?

11/26/2014
Q. Our employee handbook states that if employees are sick before and after a holiday and they do not get a doctor’s note, they will not get paid for those missed days. Is this legal?

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?

Before discipline, what should we document?

11/14/2014
Q. What documentation is necessary before disciplining an employee?

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?
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