Q&A

What's the legal standard for firing an executive for behaving inappropriately?

04/30/2014
Q. We recently held a three-day meeting and on the second night one of the regional account executives proceeded to drink too much and behave very badly. He failed to show up for the final day of the meeting. Is this grounds for dismissal?

Can part-timers be salaried workers?

04/30/2014
Q. Can we pay any of our part-time employees as salaried employees?

For termination day, how much do we pay?

04/30/2014
Q. Our pay period is Sunday through Saturday. A salaried employee is being laid off on Monday. Should she be paid hourly for time worked during that final pay week?  Does that include the unauthorized time she informed her supervisor she worked on Sunday?

What's the full list of off-limits job interview questions in California?

04/27/2014
Q. We are looking to hire a new employee. Are there some questions I should steer away from?

Must we allow employee to review everything in her personnel file?

04/23/2014
Q. One of our employees has asked to see her personnel file. Are we required to show her the file? If so, do we have to give her access to everything contained in the file?

Any limits on time between shifts?

04/23/2014
Q. We need to schedule an employee for a shift from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. in order to close our store and begin a shift the next morning at 8 a.m. to open the store. Does California law require a minimum amount of time, such as 12 hours, in between scheduled shifts?

Is there a reason not to limit smoking breaks?

04/23/2014
Q. Two of our employees go outside to smoke almost every hour for about 10 minutes. Our other employees are starting to complain. Do we have to allow these 10-minute rest periods every hour?

Can the government dictate the 'look' of the people we prefer to hire?

04/15/2014
Q. We are a retail company. Our public image and our reputation for being a patriotic corporate citizen are both very important to us. We tend to hire a predominately young workforce and individuals with trendy, but “clean cut” and energetic appearances. I also don’t want to be forced to hire people with head coverings or facial hair, which we don’t allow. Can the government force us to do that?

Can we compel a former employee to update LinkedIn to show she no longer works here?

04/09/2014
Q. It’s come to our attention that a former employee of ours has not updated her LinkedIn profile after her termination 10 months ago for insubordination. Would we have a cause of action against her?

What are the rules for intermittent FMLA leave?

04/07/2014
Q. One of our employees has requested to take leave from work periodically to receive treatment for a medical condition. Are we obligated to allow the employee to take leave intermittently?

What are the basic rules for conducting background checks that pass legal muster?

04/07/2014
Q. We have several positions in our company that require financial discretion. May we perform background checks on applicants for these jobs?

How far must we go to accommodate a pregnant employee's no-lifting request?

03/31/2014
Q. We have a pregnant employee who works as a nurse and has asked that she be excused from lifting patients during her pregnancy. Do we have to grant her request?

Could we be penalized for misclassification?

03/31/2014
Q. We have some employees that have been misclassified as exempt. We are working to rectify the situation, but could we still be penalized for the time the employee was misclassified?

Could questioning an employee about an incident be considered assault?

03/31/2014
Q. One of our employees was involved in an incident and questioned regarding suspected ­wrongdoing. He is now bringing a suit against the company, alleging that the act of being brought into a room and questioned at length constitutes false imprisonment and that the aggressive questioning constituted assault. Does he have a case?

Can an HR professional have personal liability for employment decisions?

03/31/2014
Q. As an HR professional, do I have personal liability for my participation in employment decisions?
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