Q&A

Dangerous and Disabled: ADA's 'Direct Threat' Rule

08/01/2005

Q. One of our employees, who has diabetes, is on the road a lot tending to patients in their homes. We’ve heard that she is having trouble seeing patient charts and difficulty pricking patients’ fingers for tests. What should we do? —M.J., New Jersey

HIPAA Rules Aren't Just For Doctors and Hospitals

08/01/2005

Q. I'd like to know if our company needs something like a HIPAA form for employees to sign when we release personal information to others. Is HIPAA only for the medical field? —B.B., New York

Intermittent FMLA leave may cause inconvenience

08/01/2005

Q. We have an employee on intermittent FMLA leave who periodically faints at work, is carried away in an ambulance, is off for a few days and then returns. Her position is critical. Do we have to continue with these absences? —R.R., Massachusetts

Apply dress code evenly among sexes, within reason

08/01/2005

Q. Our company manufactures plastic tubing. Our general manager is requesting that men not wear sleeveless or tank-top shirts, due to sweat and appearance. He said women can wear them as long as their shirts are seamed. Is this legal? —C.M., Texas

Check state law before firing victim of a stalker

07/01/2005

Q. One of our female employees says her ex-boyfriend is stalking her. She hasn't been able to get a restraining order against him. We're worried that he may show up and do her or other workers harm. Can we fire or suspend her? —B.L., Florida

Attack tardiness with progressive discipline

07/01/2005

Q. Several of our assistants are constantly late. What can we do to get them to come to work on time? —A.A., Virginia

Should you return pirated software to a fired employee?

07/01/2005

Q. We terminated an employee after we caught him downloading software and movies onto his own CDs and DVDs. After he left, we found discs that contained copied movies in his desk. Now he's asking for his belongings back. Are we required to return the discs? —D.V.

Banning male employees' long hair is OK

07/01/2005

Q. Can we require male employees' hair be a certain length, or is that discrimination? Also, can we say male employees can't have beards? —C.H., Illinois

Don't require employees to visit a psychologist

06/01/2005

Q. Can we require an employee to receive psychological counseling or treatment if his behavior has become a hindrance to his job performance? —N.M., Kansas

Pay for uniform-Change time if job requires it

06/01/2005

Q. Do we have to pay employees for the time they spend changing into their uniforms before work (and out of their uniforms afterward)? We're a hospital and our operating-room personnel must change clothes. —E.T., Maryland

Add anti-Nepotism rule to your family of policies

06/01/2005

Q. Some employees have complained anonymously that an employee is receiving preferential treatment because she's the wife of a manager. How can we defuse this situation? Should I transfer her to another warehouse? —B.B., New York

Deduct Vacation Leave if Sick-Leave Bank Is Empty

06/01/2005

Q. If an employee is out sick but has already used up all her sick-leave hours, can we legally subtract from her vacation time instead? —K.P., Michigan

Promote staff volunteerism, but not for firm's benefit

06/01/2005

Q. Our CEO just implemented a new employee evaluation goal based on their volunteer work throughout the year. The more they volunteer, the higher the points they receive on their review, ultimately increasing their salary. Can we do this without risk? —T.M., Maine

Don't deduct training costs from ex-Employee's pay

05/01/2005

Q. As part of our new employees' noncompete contracts, we've started including a clause that requires employees to repay the company (through payroll deduction) for training costs if they quit or are fired within one year. Are we OK legally? —S.M., Kentucky

'Reasonable' Maternity Leave Doesn't Matter Under FMLA

05/01/2005

Q. Is there a law or reasonable standard regarding how many weeks maternity leave should be? And should we make that a written policy in our employee handbook? Even with FMLA, to which our employees are entitled, we thought maternity leave was either six or eight weeks, depending on type of delivery. —J.F., Pennsylvania