Q&A

Hiring for the nonsmoking workplace

11/01/2007

Q. May I refuse to hire a smoker? ...

What to do after salaried employee maxes out leave

11/01/2007

Q. I have a salaried employee who used all his vacation and sick time. He is allowed a total of 21 days and has used 22, but he wants to take more vacation in November and is always sick (so he’ll probably be out more). Can I deduct his pay if he’s out more? Or can I take days from next year? This may be an ongoing thing every year ...

Foul play: Can employee sue over offensive odor comments?

11/01/2007

Q. An employee of ours has a very distinct, offensive odor. I received several complaints about the smell, so I confronted the employee, hoping to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, he did not respond well and threatened to sue. Does he have a case? ...

Workers' comp for injury at social event?

11/01/2007

Q. Is an employee who injures herself at a company-sponsored picnic eligible for workers’ compensation? ...

How do oral promises affect an 'Employment contract'?

11/01/2007

Q. Do oral promises my employer made during my job interview or during my employment constitute part of my contract of employment? ...

Dock pay as part of discipline?

11/01/2007

Q. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, may I dock an employee’s pay as a disciplinary penalty? ...

How soon must NC employers pay final checks?

10/01/2007

Q. We have an employee whom we fired on a Monday and we paid him his final check on the next regular payday (the following Friday). He said we legally had to issue his final check within 48 hours of the firing. Is that true?—M.D. ...

How to put a stop to FMLA leave abuse

10/01/2007

Q. I suspect one of the employees in our office is abusing his FMLA leave because he always seems to call off work at the end of the week or around holidays. What options are available to us to deny his suspicious leave requests? —E.L. ...

Don't dock last paycheck for 'Stolen' laptop

10/01/2007

Q. Our company recently terminated an employee for violating company policy. At the time of his termination, he had a company laptop, which he refuses to return. Can we withhold his final paycheck pending the return of the company equipment? Or, can we deduct the value of the equipment from his final paycheck? —S.F. ...

Is return to work after workers' comp guaranteed?

10/01/2007

Q. An employee has been out for the past few months on workers’ comp. During his recovery, we placed someone else in his position. His replacement has performed better than the injured employee, and we want to keep the replacement. Do we have to return the original employee to his job following his return from workers’ comp leave? —R.P. ...

On-Call pay

10/01/2007

Q. Some of our programming staff members, who are classified as nonexempt, must be “on-call” nights and weekends. That means that if we call them on their cell phones or beepers, we expect them to come to work. Is the time spent “on call”—waiting for a potential call—compensable time? ...

Reading personal mail at work

10/01/2007

Q. Several employees have complained that they received personal letters via our company’s regular mail system (not e-mail) that had been opened by someone else in our company. Can other employees or supervisors open and read personal mail sent to employees? ...

Collecting for damaged equipment

10/01/2007

Q. We recently terminated an employee and subsequently learned that he damaged company equipment through his own negligence. My boss wants to deduct the cost to repair the damage from his final paycheck. Is this legal? ...

Downsizing and FMLA leave

10/01/2007

Q. Our company is in the process of going through a reduction in force. One of the positions that has been selected for elimination belongs to an employee on FMLA leave. Can we still eliminate the position? ...

Religious accommodations

10/01/2007

Q. An employee of ours is requesting a personal day off for religious observance. He is salaried and has exhausted all vacation and personal time. Are we required to give him the day off? ...