Q&A

Quitting without notice, but getting vacation pay?

09/01/2007

Q. Recently, one of my employees quit without giving notice. I was advised that under New York labor law, I have to pay all earned and unused vacation. Is this true? If so, what can I do to prevent this from happening in the future? ...

Shorter vacation for part-Time employee?

09/01/2007

Q. Under New York law, must an employee who works part of the year be paid a prorated vacation? ...

Draft 'Last-Chance' agreements with care

08/01/2007

Q. We have a poor-performing employee who is up for discharge. The union has requested that we give him one “last chance,” and has said that it will agree to a last-chance agreement if we don’t terminate his employment now. What is the impact of a last-chance agreement? — J.R.

Ask job applicants about felony convictions, but be careful

08/01/2007

Q. We are reviewing our employment application, which includes a question about felony convictions. We have been told that we should not ask about an applicant’s arrest record. Can you explain what we can ask and what we cannot ask? We are a relatively small company, with fewer than 100 employees. — C.T.

Health insurance maintained during FMLA leave

08/01/2007

Q. We have an employee who is out on an FMLA leave of absence. Our company provides health insurance for its employees and their families, and employees pay 20% of the premium. Our employee has not paid his share of the premium. Should we cancel his health insurance? We are very nervous about doing so because the employee has a very serious health condition. — J.B.

Discipline employee who refuses to abide by safety rules

08/01/2007

Q. One of our shop employees was not wearing his safety glasses during a Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) inspection, for which the company was cited. Our company has a rule requiring employees to wear safety glasses in the plant. Were we wrongly cited? — T.B.

Georgia limits workplace rights for breast-Feeding mothers

08/01/2007

Q An administrative staff member who recently gave birth is scheduled to return to work in a few weeks. She plans to have her mother bring the baby to the office several times a day so she can breastfeed. Our office manager says that’s not going to happen. Doesn’t Georgia law give women the right to breastfeed in the workplace?

Employees' right to voting time off more limited than most realize

08/01/2007

Q Historically, we have allowed employees to take two hours off with pay on days when there are federal, state, or local elections. Our new vice president of HR says only certain employees are entitled to such leave and that it’s not paid leave. What are our obligations under Georgia law?

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? ...