Q&A

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? ...

When employee keeps our property, can we deduct from the last paycheck?

10/01/2007

Q. If an employee quits or is terminated and refuses to return employer property—such as a pager or a cell phone—can the employer deduct the value of the property from the employee’s final paycheck? ...

FMLA intermittent leave and hours worked

10/01/2007

Q. We have an employee with a chronic health condition who began taking FMLA intermittent leave in February. She had worked more than 1,250 hours in the 12 months before the leave started. By June, she had dropped below 1,250 hours. Does she lose her eligibility now? ...

Rights of returning Iraq vets

10/01/2007

Q. One of my employees is scheduled to return this fall from a two-year tour of duty in Iraq. What rights does this employee have regarding his return to work? ...

When litigious employee continues to threaten retaliation suit

10/01/2007

Q. An employee filed a sexual harassment claim with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission against my company. The commission investigated the charge and found it to be without merit. She still works for us and is continually threatening to file a retaliation claim. Can she? ...

Michigan's minimum wage is higher than the federal rate

10/01/2007

Q. The federal minimum wage increased in July. How does that relate to the minimum wage in Michigan? ...

Employee fraternization—The kiss of discord?

10/01/2007

Q. We are a relatively small company, and it has come to our attention that two of our single employees have become romantically involved. One of the employees is in management. We have no policy addressing employee fraternization (if that is the correct term), and we wonder whether we can, or should, do something about it. Ideas? ...

Employees must request copy of personnel file in writing

10/01/2007

Q. An employee orally requested that we provide him with a copy of his personnel file. Employee files are voluminous, and we would prefer not to provide a copy if we don’t have to. Are we required to copy the file for our employee? Can we require that the employee copy the file on his own time? ...

Keeping I-9 forms in separate file: Is it mandatory?

10/01/2007

Q. I’ve read that we shouldn’t keep employees’ I-9s in their personnel files. Is this a suggestion or are there laws that require them to be in separate files? —L.K., Alabama ...

Pregnancy: Run disability leave concurrent with FMLA?

10/01/2007

Q. We provide short-term disability leave to new mothers. Is there any reason we can’t run that leave concurrent with FMLA leave? —S.B., Washington ...

Can you force a worker to get FMLA certification?

10/01/2007

Q. We want to run paid time off concurrent with FMLA leave so employees don’t receive more than 12 weeks off (paid and unpaid combined). What if an employee says she’s taking vacation time, but we know it’s for medical tests? Can we force her to get a medical certification so we can subtract the paid vacation time? —L.L., Georgia ...