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Employment Law

State Law Varies on When Clock Tolls for Overtime

02/01/2001

Q. What’s the definition of a standard workweek? One of our employees claims that overtime is defined as anything over eight hours per workday. Is he correct? —P.F., Minnesota

Body Odor: Clear the Air Over Staff Dress Code

02/01/2001

Q. In the December 2000 issue, you discussed the topic of employees with body odor. We also have a staff member with body odor so bad that other staff members have complained and even threatened to leave the agency. The employee has been disciplined several times and required to go home without pay until she agrees to comply with the dress code. At what point can we legally terminate her? —A.S., Michigan

New schedule legal, barring contract or illegal reason

02/01/2001

Q. Our company of 15 employees manufactures labels in California. We have an employee whom we want to move from the day shift to the swing shift. Although this employee has the most seniority, he has the least experience with the presses we run during the day. When we told the employee of our plans, he said that moving him would be illegal. Is he correct? We are worried that if we move him and he quits, it won’t be the last time that we hear from him. —T.R., California

Check state law for drug testing policy

02/01/2001

Q. Is drug testing permitted under Maryland law? —L.R., Maryland

Don’t shrug off same-race harassment

02/01/2001
Odis Ross’ boss at the county jail refused to call him Officer Ross. Instead, he addressed him as “black boy” and “nigger” and often referred to Ross’ wife, who is white, …

Leaving spot vacant won’t erase promotion bias

02/01/2001
Branford Dodoo, an African-American, was continually passed over for advancement at his place of employment. In one case, a promotion went to a younger white male who had been with …

Employee is covered under ADA if you perceive him to be disabled

02/01/2001
After downing at least nine beers during and after a company dinner, which followed a training program, Ray Zakaras spoke freely about his objections to the program and made rude comments …

Avoid equal pay suit by comparing employees’ duties, not titles

02/01/2001
Laurie Howard was promoted from secretary to HR coordinator for a United Technologies Automotive plant with 53 employees, all on salary. The head of the plant recommended she be promoted …

Inability to work overtime doesn’t mean worker is disabled

02/01/2001
As a senior train operations manager, Clyde Kellogg regularly put in 60 hours to 80 hours a week, including weekends, holidays and at home. That is, until he appeared to have …

Good planning limits fallout from FMLA misunderstandings

02/01/2001
Moira Kelly received an extension of her maternity leave, with one caveat. Her company informed her by letter that she was considered a “key employee” under the Family and Medical Leave …