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Compensation & Benefits

Egg on their faces: Mistakes in paying cooks cost $2.8 million

Employers who misclassify workers as exempt continue to be hit with big-dollar court awards. In a recent decision, a federal court ordered owners of more than 100 Waffle House restaurants …

Exempt or not? ‘Primary duty’ isn’t a time test

Michael and Constance Baldwin agreed to manage an RV park for a joint salary of $2,400 a month, plus on-site housing. They were on call 24 hours a day. After …

You Can Change Workers’ Hours on Short Notice


Q. Can we change employees’ work hours on short notice by altering their schedules? Also, we have a part-time employee who’s been employed for a few months working 32 hours a week. She’s preparing to return to work after recovering from a car accident. Can we reduce her work hours? —J.L., Maryland

Giving a bonus can cost you in discrimination case

Lisa Russell was rated “excellent” and received a bonus of $807. So what’s her gripe? An African-American co-worker received a higher rating of “outstanding” and a bonus of $1,355. Russell, who …

Sweeten Deal to Retain Worker After Training


Q. We just covered the entire cost for an employee to complete nurses’ aide training. We intended to draw up an agreement before the training so that this employee would be available to our business for six months before she could seek other employment, but we failed to discuss the agreement before the training. Can we have her sign such an agreement now? —C.E., Ohio

EEOC rewriting rules on retiree health benefits

The U.S. Equal Employment Oppor-tunity Commission (EEOC) is taking a fresh look at age discrimination in retiree health benefit plans. The commission rescinded its policy that had said employer plans …

Parent may take FMLA leave to care for grown children

Gladys Navarro asked her employer, Pfizer Corp., for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave because she wanted to take care of her adult daughter who was ordered to bed rest …

An honest mistake won’t sink you

After receiving a phone message that her father had suffered a heart attack, Vickie Medley told her boss that she was leaving Denver immediately to drive to Nebraska. Over the next …

Don’t set automatic deadline for workers returning from disability leave.

Make sure your medical leave policy doesn’t automatically terminate employees after a certain number of days. Blood Systems Inc. recently agreed to pay 23 employees a total of $650,000 after the …

You Can Restrict Use of Personal Days


Q. If a company provides both personal and vacation days for its employees and does not define what a personal day is, can that be used for anything outside of vacation time? —E.H., Utah