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Ask the Attorney Archives

How should we store I-9s?

Q: “It is strongly suggested that federal Form I-9s be kept in a separate folder. If that is the case, do you have to have an individual folder for each I-9, or can all I-9s be in the same folder?” – Cindy, Ohio

Can we reduce an exempt employee’s hours and pay?

Q:“I have a salaried exempt associate who will be taking a reduction in hours starting in June. She is an officer of the company. She will be working 32 hours instead of current 45-50. Can we put this individual on an hourly rate instead of salary?” – Cindy, North Dakota

Is there a two-year residency requirement for Pennsylvania’s in-home care workers?

Q: “For an agency that provides in-home care to seniors in Pennsylvania, the caretakers are required to provide proof of two-year residency. Would office staff also be required to have this even though they do not work in the home with the clients?” – Anonymous, Pennsylvania

How do we solve these problems concerning alcohol in the office?

Q: “The owner of our company recently added kegs to our offices in Idaho and California. How can I ensure we are protected against harassment and DUI? How do you create a policy about that? What if we hire a former alcoholic who is threatened by the presence of alcohol?” – Anonymous, Idaho

Who is permitted to complete a W-4 form?

Q: “Is it illegal for payroll to complete the W-4 for an employee as long as the employee signs the form? I am looking for a regulation, publication or opinion letter saying yes or no to this.” – Lisa, Texas

How long can we withhold a final paycheck for uniform costs?

Q: “Our employees are allowed to ‘rent’ uniforms, but they are not required to wear them. If an employee leaves and does not turn in their uniform, the uniform company charges us for each item on a future bill. Because the uniform company only comes around once a week, sometimes we do not know what the unreturned uniforms are worth by the time the final paycheck is calculated. The owner of the company wants to withhold the final paycheck until either all uniforms are turned in or we receive the bill for unreturned uniforms. This could be a delay of up to three weeks. Can we indefinitely withhold the final paycheck of earned income beyond the normal payday?” – Donna, North Carolina

Can we dictate that an employee use FMLA leave in increments?

Q: “An exempt employee expected to work a regular eight-hour workday provided medical documentation that supported a request for a six-hour day to reduce workload. Is it possible to request that the employee take the leave in half day increments?” – Rachel, District of Columbia

Upon separation, must we pay employees for their unused vacation time?

Q: “Is an employer required to pay an employee who leaves employment of their own free will the vacation time they have accrued during the year prior to their leaving?”  – M., Oklahoma

How do we bring our harassment training into compliance in New York?

Q: “My consulting firm presents sexual harassment prevention training for our clients. The training has been designed to meet the guidelines of New York State and City. I have tried, to no avail, to locate a government agency that will review the program and verify/approve that it is in compliance.” – Kenneth, New York

What happens if we give faulty FMLA notice?

Q: “An employee went out on qualified FMLA leave. A letter was sent to her. Unfortunately it was a form letter that indicated that she was eligible for workers’ comp, but it was not workers’ comp leave. I just realized the mistake. How do I correct it?” – Kim, Virginia