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Compensation & Benefits

Unsigned contracts can lock you in

After negotiations to open a new restaurant, a company gave chef Roland Schnider a final draft of a three-year employment agreement that covered salary, benefits, bonuses and an ownership interest in …

You can limit domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples

If you’re thinking about extending benefits to employees’ domestic partners, be prepared to defend any limits. When the Chicago school board decided to extend spousal health benefits to domestic partners …

Employee can sue after losing workers’ comp case, state says

Terry Smothers claimed that exposure to chemicals from his job as a lube technician led to lung problems, but Oregon’s workers’ comp board said he couldn’t prove that workplace exposure was …

Newborn’s Medical Problems May Warrant Shorter Hours


Q. A long-standing employee recently took leave under the FMLA to give birth, but her twins have many medical complications. She exhausted her eligibility under our disability carrier and isn’t eligible for long-term disability because she’s not disabled. We want her back, but she can’t commit to even 20 hours a week. What are our obligations under the FMLA, and would this individual be entitled to unemployment compensation if we terminate her? —G.B., New York

During FMLA, you can pay exempt workers by the hour

The job description for Doris Rowe’s position as a bus company supervisor noted the job was “FLSA: EXEMPT.” She was paid a fixed salary every two weeks regardless of the number …

Supreme Court lets stand ruling that limits employee’s FMLA rights

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a lower-court ruling that minimizes the impact when an employer fails to notify a worker promptly that he is ineligible for time off under …

Facing layoffs? Avoid laying the groundwork for lawsuits

Trimming your work force without smart legal advice is like performing surgery without a doctor. You may remove what you intended, but the complications could be deadly. Even if you …

Playing doctor: What’s a ‘serious’ condition under FMLA?

Since 1993, employees have been able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their own “serious health condition” or to tend to a child, spouse or …

Urge Staff to Visit Doctor During Off-Duty Hours


Q. We don’t usually require employees to provide documentation when they take time off for doctors’ appointments, but one worker has a pattern of scheduling these “appointments” on the Friday before holiday weekends. Can we request verification from the doctor’s office on a case-by-case basis? —J.B., Washington

Driving isn’t a major life activity

After Charlotte Chenoweth was diagnosed with epilepsy, her doctor ordered her not to drive until it was under control. Because her nursing job involved driving to different sites to review files, …