Q&A

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?

How should we handle pay when employee works unauthorized overtime?

03/27/2014
Q. What can we do if our employees worked overtime despite our instruction that they shouldn’t?

Age bias settlement: Need ADEA waiver, too?

03/27/2014
Q. My company was sued by a former employee for age discrimination under the California Fair Employ­­ment and Housing Act (FEHA). We’re settling the case and including a waiver of the right to proceed under FEHA. Do we need an ADEA waiver, too?

Does Minnesota require allowing time off for employees to attend school activities?

03/25/2014
Q. One of our employees came in two hours late today, without an advance call. When he got here, he told his supervisor that he needed “school leave” for the morning. Can we discipline him for being late?

Changing hours: Must we talk to the union first?

03/19/2014
Q. Our employees recently voted for a union and we are now negotiating. Our policies say full-time em­­ployee status starts at 30 hours per week. All of our full-time employees currently work 40 hours per week. We want to decrease the hours of some employees (about 25% of them) from eight to six per day. Do we have to bargain with the union on this change or can we just notify them? 

What should we tell manager who wants to ask inappropriate interview questions?

03/17/2014
Q. We have a manager who is really concerned about “fit” when we interview for his group. He wants to ask questions about hobbies, whether the candidate has a family and how that will affect the candidate’s ability to be at work. I’ve tried to explain that, due to discrimination laws, we should only ask questions based upon the job and its requirements, but he ignores me. What can I do?

How can we fire a poor performer--who up until now has earned glowing reviews?

03/17/2014
Q. We recently hired a new manager in an underperforming division. After getting to know her team, the manager wants to fire an employee for poor performance. But, the employee has only had glowing performance reviews under his previous manager. Can we go ahead with the termination?

Do we have to tolerate 'Duck Dynasty religion' hat?

03/14/2014
Q. We let a female cashier at our restaurant wear a religious head covering, despite our policy against hats. Now, a male employee has started wearing a camouflage cap, claiming his religious idol is Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.” He says his “religion” is sincere. Can we tell him to remove the cap?
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