Q&A

Involve all relevant managers in employee reviews

10/01/2005

Q. We have an employee who works for two different departments, under two different supervisors. Which supervisor should conduct the review, the one with the most seniority? —D.F., Illinois

You can track hours for exempt and nonexempt staff

10/01/2005

Q. We have mechanics who work on a straight commission basis. Do we need to track their hours? —E.D., Nevada

Don't play 'Name game' with newly wed employees

10/01/2005

Q. One of our employees recently got married. She’s informally going by her new last name, but she hasn’t changed her name on her Social Security card to her married name and doesn’t plan to. We submit all payroll information using her maiden name. Do we face any liability? —L.K., Missouri

Drug testing is perfectly legal ... if done properly

10/01/2005

Q. I have an employee who says that our drug-testing program is a violation of his constitutional rights. What can I tell him (or show him) to prove that we’re well within the law? —S.H., Texas

You can use surveillance to spot workers' comp fraud

09/01/2005

Q. How far can we go to make sure that employees aren’t taking advantage of our company while they’re out on workers’ comp leave? Can we, for example, call them at home to make sure they are resting and not out working another job or abusing the system? —D.V., Illinois

What to include in a camera-Phone policy

09/01/2005

Q. I’m looking to create a company policy regarding cell phones with photographic capabilities. Any suggestions? —L.B., California

Don't make ex-Employees pay training costs

09/01/2005

Q. We’ve started requiring 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

You can cut wages for 'Maxed Out' employees

09/01/2005

Q. We have some employees who are earning the maximum salary for their job classifications. Can we cut their pay if we feel they’re overpaid? —D.N., Colorado

Mandatory EAP referral is legal

09/01/2005

Q. In a previous issue of HR Specialist, you said that employers can’t force employees to visit a psychologist. Our Internet policy says that if we find employees accessing pornographic Web sites, they’ll receive a three-day suspension without pay and a mandatory referral to an EAP counselor. Can we require this? —A.C., Maryland

Combat tardiness with progressive discipline

09/01/2005

Q. Some of our assistants are good employees, but they’re constantly late. What can we do to get them to come to work on time? —A.A., Virginia

Retain benefit eligibility after FMLA leave

08/01/2005

Q. We understand that employees on FMLA leave don't lose investment toward retirement plans. Leave time is counted as work time. But our policy says that if employees are out for more than 30 days, their anniversary dates will change. Accrued paid-time off and vacation time will be based on the new anniversary date. Can we do this? —K.A., Connecticut

Don't punish employees for wrong drug-Test hunch

08/01/2005

Q. We suspected an employee was using drugs, so we sent him to be tested. We told him he couldn't work until the test came back in two days. The results were negative. What financial responsibility do we have? Do we owe him lost wages for those two days? —L.B., North Carolina

Break into vacation-Leave bank if sick leave is empty

08/01/2005

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

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