Q&A

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 ...

Encourage, don't require, EAP counseling

10/01/2007

Q. When we discipline employees for behavioral issues, we typically tell them to meet with an employee assistance program (EAP) counselor. Can we require them to have at least one session, or does that violate the ADA? —J.M., Idaho ...

Can we conduct medical exams before we make offers to out-of-state applicants?

10/01/2007

Q. My company would like to institute a policy of conducting medical examinations on out-of-state applicants when workers interview here for jobs. This would reduce the number of trips an applicant would have to make before beginning employment with our company. The test results would be sealed (so the information cannot be relied upon in making job offers) and would be reviewed only if we offered, and the applicant accepted, a conditional offer of employment. Would such an arrangement violate the ADA? ...

Continuation health care coverage: What does California require beyond COBRA?

10/01/2007

Q. I know that the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers with 20 or more workers to offer continuation health care coverage following a “qualifying event.” Does California law impose additional requirements? ...

Do holidays count when calculating FMLA or CFRA leave?

10/01/2007

Q. When determining the amount of leave an employee has used, do holidays count against the 12-week entitlement under the FMLA or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)? ...

Can we mandate direct deposit?

10/01/2007

Q. To cut down on the administrative costs of issuing paychecks, my company would like to pay all its workers through a direct deposit to the bank of their choice. May we require our employees to accept their pay via direct deposit? ...

How can employers get waivers of claims from terminated employees?

10/01/2007

Q. May an employer fire an employee and then ask the employee to sign a waiver of claims or severance agreement? ...

The dreaded reference check: What to say about former employees?

10/01/2007

Q. What may an employer say about why an employee left or was fired? ...

Attendance discipline needs care if employee qualifies for FMLA leave

10/01/2007

Q. An employee of ours has attendance problems. Before we could counsel her on the attendance problems, she was approved for intermittent FMLA to care for her elderly mother. While she has taken FMLA days for her mother, she also continues to have attendance problems unrelated to her FMLA leave. Can we proceed with counseling and possible disciplinary actions while she is under FMLA? ...

Investigating suspected employee theft

10/01/2007

Q. I think one of our employees is stealing. What are the proper steps to take to handle this situation? ...

Saying 'No' to the office beggar

10/01/2007

Q. An employee in our office regularly asks co-workers for small amounts of money and then never pays them back. We’ve all stopped giving him money, but he continues to ask, which makes many people feel uncomfortable. How do we get him to stop? ...

Under what circumstances can an employee challenge a termination?

10/01/2007

Q. If an employee believes he has been terminated unfairly, does he have a legal right to challenge the termination? ...