Q&A

Employees' right to time off for court summons has some limits

08/01/2007

Q We have received separate requests for time off for court appearances from three employees. What are our obligations under the law?

Does FMLA cover 'Emotional care' of spouse in ICU?

08/01/2007

Q We have an employee whose wife is in a hospital intensive-are unit. The employee has asked for FMLA leave. Is this an FMLA-eligible reason, even though the employee isn't providing "care" as the law requires?

Hourly bonuses for salaried employees?

08/01/2007

Q. I employ a physical therapist on a salaried basis, making her an exempt professional under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Can I pay her an hourly bonus without causing her to lose the exempt status? ...

Can we fire for incomplete medical cert?

08/01/2007

Q. An employee recently has contracted a serious health condition for which she requests FMLA leave. The medical certification form, completed by her physician, does not indicate the probable duration of her condition. Can we suspend the employee for the physician’s failure to submit a sufficiently complete medical certification form? ...

No witness needed for disciplinary meeting

08/01/2007

Q. I run a large restaurant and employ only nonunion workers. Recently, I called one of the waiters into my office to issue him a warning for arriving late for his shifts. He told me he had a right to have one of the cooks there witness our exchange. Is he right? ...

How to craft noncompete agreements

08/01/2007

Q. What can I do to avoid unauthorized disclosure of sensitive company information when an employee departs? ...

Employee pays when customers don't?

08/01/2007

Q. I own a four-star restaurant in a large metropolitan area. Unfortunately, customers sometimes skip out on their checks. Can I deduct from the waitress’s salary the money owed by a fleeing customer? ...

Hiring questions: What's off limits?

08/01/2007

Q. What questions are off limits on an employment application or when conducting a job interview?

What Makes an Environment 'Hostile'?

08/01/2007

Q. What factors determine whether an environment is “hostile”? ...

Double dipping workers' comp and Social Security

08/01/2007

Q. Can an injured worker obtain both workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security disability benefits at the same time? ...

Keeping the work environment safe

08/01/2007

Q. What proactive strategies can employers implement to promote a safe workplace? ...

Punishing exempt worker who exceeds leave time

07/01/2007

Q. Can we deduct something from an exempt employee’s pay if he takes time off, comes in late or leaves early after he’s used up all of his leave time?

Can we install in-Plant security cameras without telling employees?

07/01/2007

Q. We have a theft problem in our plant. Our plant manager would like to install security cameras at key locations and exits, and would like to do this without telling our employees so that we can catch the guilty party. Is there any reason why we should not proceed with installing the cameras? ...

You are required to notify employees who have been exposed to air contaminants

07/01/2007

Q. What are the requirements for eliminating welding fumes? According to recent air contaminant testing, our employees are exposed to fumes that exceed the permissible limit. Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) has not inspected us. Are we required to notify MIOSHA or the federal OSHA of the test results? Are we required to notify anyone else? ...

Essential job functions may include shift work

07/01/2007

Q. We have a three-shift operation, and all employees are required to rotate and work on each shift. We are reviewing an employee’s request to be excused from moving from the day shift to the afternoon shift. The employee’s doctor says that his patient should not work the afternoon and midnight shifts for medical reasons, which we believe are valid. Are we required to honor this request? ...