ASK THE ATTORNEY

What should we do about 'negative dilute' drug test results?

07/14/2014

Q: “We currently have employees who keep getting results of ‘negative dilute’ during drug tests. Our policy is to not accept the result and to retest. Can we require the retest to be an observed collection?” – Ross, Ohio

Can we compel employees to work before or after a holiday to receive its bonus pay?

07/14/2014
Q: “We want to add a new addition to our policy regarding holiday pay that states the employee is required to work either the day prior to, or the day after a holiday in order to receive pay for that holiday unless a previous request for time off was submitted and approved prior to the holiday week pay period. Is this something we can add, as shown below?” – Bryan, California

Personnel files--how long must we keep them?

07/14/2014
Q: “How long do we need to keep personnel files? Also, can we keep them in offsite storage as long as we want?" – JMDG, New Jersey

Should temp workers sign a different employment agreement than other staff?

07/14/2014
Q: “For temporary employees, do we need to have a separate employee agreement with a signature page if we already have an employee manual with a signature page?” – Joey, California

Can we compel workers to divulge their troubles with the law?

07/07/2014
Q: “Can my client put wording in his employee handbook requiring the disclosure of arrests and/or convictions?” – Susan, Michigan

How do we assist this terminally ill employee in getting benefits?

07/07/2014
Q: “A 26-year-old employee learned a week ago that she has cancer that is terminal. She knows that she cannot work any longer. The company is very small and does not offer health insurance, and she is not covered on an individual policy. Is it a correct protocol to “lay off” this employee so that she may receive unemployment and other possible benefits such as Medicaid to financially assist with the remainder of her illness?” – Sue, Nebraska

Does the lack of a written employee-monitoring policy prevent us from disciplining?

06/30/2014

Q: We have five drivers. We told them verbally when we hired them that we may use GPS from time to time to track their activities. This is not in writing, not in the handbook and there is nothing they have signed acknowledging this information. However, we used a GPS device on a driver this past week and found out that he parks his truck sometimes for as long as three hours and clocks this time as working time. What can we do? Can we discipline him for this letting him know that we are aware that he is stealing time? Can we terminate him for this? – Kerri, South Carolina

How do we recover the value of missing equipment upon separation?

06/30/2014

Q: May I deduct value of equipment not returned by my employee from her final expense reimbursement check? I know I cannot deduct this from her final paycheck. – Margaret, Arizona

Now that the ACA covers older dependents, what happens when one misses a payment?

06/30/2014
Q: The ACA covers dependents up to age 26. They are classified as dependents under the provisions of the medical plan of which their parent is a participant. In our employee's case, a son was 21 at the time that medical treatment was provided. He has failed to pay the deductible for treatment under the plan to the provider. As a result, the medical provider is billing the dependent’s parent and threatening to put the issue into collections and take legal action. The question is, who is responsible for the deductible payment? The dependent here is not declared as a dependent for income tax purposes. – Terry, New Jersey

How are we to rein in our staff on social media?

06/25/2014
Q: “What are the rules and laws about social media? We have employees who have generated Facebook pages with our company name. They are also posting information that we are not ready to publish-such as the opening of another store in a new city.” – Angela, North Carolina

Firing a pregnant employee--how should we proceed?

06/25/2014

Q: “I own a temporary staffing agency. I have an employee at a client location who became pregnant in January 2014. She is now showing up late for work and also spending time not working or performing her job duties. We have documented and advised her of her tardiness. At this point, we are wanting to terminate our employment with her due to non-performance. Can you please advise?” – Joey, CA

After employee misses open enrollment, is this drastic maneuver the only way to get health coverage?

06/16/2014

Q: “If an employee failed to participate in open enrollment, thereby losing insurance coverage, can the employee resign and be immediately rehired to enroll in the employer’s medical plan as a new hire?”Theresa, Virginia

Can we limit our applicant pool to U.S. citizens only?

06/09/2014

Q: “Is it legal for an employer to only hire United States citizens, and when advertising say that you must be one to apply for the position? Would this fall under ‘discrimination’ and are there any laws that prevent it?” – Susan, Kansas

What is the minimum documentation needed to grant FMLA leave?

06/09/2014

Q: “Does an employer have to request an official certification form for all FMLA situations, or can a physician’s note be enough for an employer to designate FMLA?” – Ann, Illinois

Are there travel limits when a worker is on FMLA leave?

06/02/2014
Q: “Can an employee leave the USA to visit his home country while on family medical leave? Are there any restrictions?” – Terry, New Jersey
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