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Ask the Attorney Archives

When have we kept employee records too long?

11/04/2019
Q: “Is there any legal liability for an employer keeping employee records for too long? For example, seven years? I know they need to be shredded, but what if you are audited and it is found you have employee files from 15 years ago?” – Anonymous, Texas

How do we know when to obey a garnishment order?

11/04/2019
Q: “We received an order directing us to withhold wages from an employee from ECMC (Educational Credit Management Corporation). Since this is not a government entity, are we required to process mandatory withholding that is listed on the Order of Withholding from Earnings?” – Julia, California

What to do if an employee on workers’ comp stops paying for insurance?

11/04/2019
Q: “We have an employee out on workers’ compensation who has stopped paying his portion of his medical insurance. We emailed him a reminder but he has failed to respond and he is suing us for his case, since he was denied workers’ compensation. I have not terminated him, but I would like to know if I can move his insurance to COBRA due to disability and non-payment?” – Kim, California

Whose state regulations do remote workers abide by?

11/04/2019
Q: “If our office is in New Jersey and we have an employee working in Georgia, does that employee fall under the New Jersey Family Leave Act? Is there a Georgia Family Leave Act that she is entitled to? How is coverage determined?” – Marta, New Jersey

Is it unlawful to reveal the medical information of non-employees?

10/15/2019
Q: “If an employee has a death in the family and persons of authority tell multiple people the circumstances of the death, can the employee sue the company? If not, what recourse would the employee have?” – Patty, Wyoming

Did we pay these workers correctly when they had kids in the hospital?

10/15/2019
Q: “We have two employees. One is salaried and the other is hourly. Both are considered full-time employees. Both had children in the hospital for a short span of time. The salaried employee was not required to turn in a form for the time he was away from work. The hourly employee was required to turn in a form for the amount of time he was away from his work, which was subtracted from his annual PTO time. Is that legal?  – Marchia, Oklahoma

Must we keep physical I-9s even if they’re stored digitally?

08/27/2019
Q: “We are switching to an HRIS system. If we e-Verify our new hires, and record the e-Verify system’s case number in the new HRIS system, can we safely shred the original document and use that case number? How can we digitize this function, if we cannot do that? – Kary, Florida

Are we creating a problem by giving a temp a pass on our dress code?

08/27/2019
Q: “We have an employee hired through a temporary agency who wore a shirt to work that said “Caliente.” I know this means hot. I think it’s inappropriate for her to wear this shirt in a business setting and if she were an employee, I would probably tell her that. However, since she’s a temp, but likely to become a permanent employee, what should I do? – Lee, Texas

How long should we retain documents in an employee’s file?

08/27/2019
Q: “Should I apply a retention schedule to individual documents in an employee’s file, or should I keep everything until 7-10 years after they are no longer an employee?” – Maren, Virginia

What action can we take when an employee is hospitalized for mental health issues?

08/27/2019
Q:  “We were informed that an employee in good standing was hospitalized for [mental health issues]. We have placed her on suspension until we can gather additional information about what is occurring and her ability to safely complete her job duties. She had previously disclosed a history of mental health issues, but had provided a clearance from a medical doctor stating that she was stable and able to work. Is this a qualifying event for FMLA? Are we able to terminate her employee because of the assumed risk to safety to herself and those around her in the event of another episode? Any information/guidance is appreciated. – Anonymous, Pennsylvania