Q&A

Grandparent leave for military service

11/01/2007

Q. One of our employees has a grandson who has just been called for duty in Afghanistan. She wants to take off the week before he ships out to attend a get-together in Orlando with him and other family members. She has no vacation time left, and this is a very busy season for our company. Do we have to let her go? ...

Noncompete agreements and trade secrets

11/01/2007

Q. My company is involved in the biotech industry and regularly develops proprietary information. We currently are working with an executive search firm to find a replacement for a high-level marketing executive position. Management wants to manage the risk of disclosure of confidential information. How restrictive may the potential candidate’s noncompete agreement be, given the company’s special needs to protect trade secrets? ...

Unemployment following a strike

11/01/2007

Q. We are a small, nonunion parts supplier for a large, unionized manufacturing plant. Due to an ongoing strike by our primary customer’s union, demand for our product has decreased significantly, and we are having difficulty meeting payroll. Consequently, we are preparing to lay off several of our staff. Our CFO remembered reading that in Indiana, someone who loses his job due to a strike is not eligible for unemployment compensation. But, because the only reason we are laying our people off is due to the strike at our customer’s facility, can we contest unemployment for our laid-off staff? ...

How to handle missed time-clock punches

11/01/2007

Q. At our office, if an employee misses a time-clock punch, his pay for that day is suspended until he receives his check stub. The employee must then fill out a missed time-card punch form and have it signed by a senior partner. The missed pay is then applied to the person’s next pay period. Is this legal? — D.L., Virginia ...

Mandatory doctor visits: Must you pay for the time?

11/01/2007

Q. We sometimes send our employees to our company doctor. Do we have to pay employees their hourly rates for their time? Also, are we responsible for any accidents that happen on the drive? —C.C., Arizona ...

Drawing the line on tardiness: the legal risks

11/01/2007

Q. We’re having tardiness and absenteeism issues with our employees. If we place an employee on probation for an excessive number of times tardy and days absent, can we require no absences at all during the probation period? —C.V., New Jersey ...

Timing on final paychecks

11/01/2007

Q. When is an employer required to give a worker his final paycheck? ...

Temp agency employees and the FMLA

11/01/2007

Q. Must an employer using the services of a temporary agency comply with the FMLA for its temporary or leased employees? ...

The marijuana exception to queries about criminal convictions

11/01/2007

Q. I know that an employer cannot ask a job applicant about arrests. Are there any limitations on my right to inquire about convictions? ...

Should you encourage job candidates to reject other job offers?

11/01/2007

Q. Our company recently offered a job to a highly skilled software designer. Upon offering the worker a position, she informed us that she had accepted a similar position with one of our competitors. However, she told us that she would rather take our offer. What should we do? ...

Gender identity and dress codes for males and females

11/01/2007

Q. The company I work for has had an employee dress code since the company was incorporated. Recently, a male employee began coming to work dressed as a woman. His supervisor asked me if this violates the dress code. If so, can the supervisor require the male employee to dress according to the dress code for males and discipline him if he doesn’t? ...

Recouping company-paid health plan premiums after FMLA leave

11/01/2007

Q. While my employees are out on FMLA leave, we pay our share of health plan premiums on behalf of them. If an employee does not return to work following his FMLA leave, can I recover those premiums directly from the employee? ...

Leave-Of-Absence accommodation and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination

11/01/2007

Q. I have an employee who has a handicap, as that term is broadly defined under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). It would not qualify as a disability under the ADA. I know that a reasonable accommodation under the ADA can include a short leave of absence. In the absence of an ADA disability, do I have to provide a leave of absence as an accommodation for a handicap under NJLAD? ...

Is there any requirement to offer vacation benefits?

11/01/2007

Q. Must I offer vacation time to my employees? If I do, must I pay terminated employees for their unused vacation time? ...

Injured playing on company team

11/01/2007

Q. If an employee is injured at a company-sponsored softball game, where participation is purely voluntary, is the injury compensable under workers’ compensation? ...