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Ask the Attorney Archives

Can we ban an ex-employee from our parking lot?

Q: “An ex-employee (terminated in September 2021) was in the parking lot of our business May 2022.  The individual decided to park his car in the middle of the parking lot (including blocking one car).  Employees leaving were honking and maneuvering to try to pass this vehicle.  The ex-employee was talking with one of our current employees outside the car not willing to move.  The employee’s car, which this person directly blocked, needed to leave and they asked this person to move the car to which the response was “You have plenty of room.” This happened repeatedly until our employee screamed at the person (using profanity) and the ex-employee finally moved the car. The employee was very upset and reported the matter the next day.  We would like to issue a letter to the ex-employee informing them they cannot come onto the premises (including the parking lot) and explaining they created a negative situation for our team members and that if they show up, they are trespassing and we will notify the authorities. Can we do that?” – Lorraine

Can it ever be too soon to exercise health insurance benefits?

Q: “After 21 days of work, a new employee went out due to illness, which has resulted in her being in the hospital since July 3rd.  While this initially created a hardship, she also has elected our insurance coverage.  What can we do to resolve the matter and not run into possible legal issues?” – Lorraine

Can we fire someone just for being arrested?

Q: “Our HR Director has been arrested and is in jail for a DUI. The company currently has 230 employees. Can we terminate the employee for being arrested?” – Anonymous

How do we count employees for FMLA compliance purposes in New York?

Q. “I saw the paragraph below while conducting an internet search. Is an employer based in Massachusetts with a total of 200 employees, the majority located in Massachusetts and employees in other states, e.g., New York, that have less than 50 employees? Would an employee in the New York location be eligible for FMLA coverage?” – Juan      

What do we do if an employee states a medical condition, but doesn’t ask for accommodation?

Q: “A new exempt employee has been having issues completing tasks, and has stated he forgets because he was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We sent a reasonable accommodation request form to be completed by the employee and his physician (and included a full job description). On the first deadline, the employee called out sick. We waited a few days past the deadline and sent a request renewal extending the due date. The employee responded that he would not be requesting an accommodation at this time. Since the employee disclosed to his supervisor his condition as a reason for not competing work and missing deadlines, what are our obligations at this time? Do we still have an exposure because he made the statement? He has been out frequently.”  – Lorraine, New York

Do grandparents ever qualify for FMLA leave to care for a grandchild?

Q: “An employee has a 30-year-old daughter with mental health issues who lives with her. The daughter recently had a premature baby currently in the NICU. The employee (her grandmother) is asking for FMLA to take care of the baby when it comes home and needs to know if this would qualify under FMLA. The grandmother has not been appointed guardian of the baby.” —Ann, Florida

Must we pay employee for her time in COVID quarantine?

Q: We are a state agency that provides services for the developmentally disabled. (Our employees are considered essential workers). The child of a provider of our services tested positive for COVID. The mother is not vaccinated. Do we have to pay her for her quarantine time without her using her accruals?—Yitty, New York

After worker injury, must we provide a list of potential doctors?

Q: I was looking at our state workers’ compensation laws and they seem to require that our company present a panel of doctors to any employee who alleges a work related injury or illness, regardless if we have determined if the injury is work related. Is this true?

When is COVID considered an ADA-covered disability?

Q:  How does COVID-19 become a covered ADA disability?—Kenneth , New York

What can employees use as proof of vaccination?

Q: “Under the new federal vaccine mandate (if it’s ever enforced), what is considered ‘satisfactory evidence’ of a vaccination record? What if an employee says, ‘Where am I supposed to get that if I don’t have my card anymore?’ Could an applicant produce a sworn statement?” – Anonymous