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HR Management

Test before deciding on employee’s limits

Shirley Hoffman was a whiz at her indexing job at Caterpillar Inc. She moved faster than almost anyone, even though she was born without a left arm below the elbow. Several …

Don’t let blabbing employees hide their identity on the Internet

Imagine that an employee posts confidential information about your company on an Internet message board. What do you do? One company sued the message-board site to learn the identity of the …

Put ‘unwritten rules’ in writing

Interstate Brands Corp. had an unwritten policy that required a doctor’s note to confirm all absences caused by a work-related injury. When Cynthia Bausman didn’t produce …

Risky environment won’t end your duty to reduce danger to staff

All patients at Topeka State Hospital posed a danger to themselves or others. Staff members knew that, and the hospital regularly required workers to sign job description documents that mentioned the …

Investigate complaints, pronto

The male workers at an Azteca restaurant constantly mocked Antonio Sanchez for his effeminate ways. They swore at him and referred to the waiter as “she” and “her.” Sanchez finally …

Save with separate legal services

More lawyers are offering services a la carte to attract small businesses. Example: An attorney charges separate fees for negotiating a settlement, drafting a legal document, moving paperwork through the legal …

Consider leasing staff; PEO market is evolving

Look into turning your back-office duties over to a professional employer organization (PEO). New trends and fresh players have heightened competition among PEOs, which serve as a “co-employer” and handle recruiting, …

Mental health benefits: Know federal, state parity laws

When Congress reconvenes, one of the hottest issues will be whether to add new teeth to a five-year-old federal mental-health parity law. Under the law, companies offering mental health coverage …

Get Certification Before Granting FMLA Leave


Q. An employee told her supervisor that she needed surgery. We approved time off under the FMLA with the understanding that she would provide certification after the leave began. We later discovered that this “necessary” procedure was liposuction. Can we revoke approval of medical leave under FMLA and convert sick hours used to vacation hours instead? Can we fire her based on inappropriate use of the FMLA? —T.S., Florida

Uneven Comp-Time Policy Can Cause Trouble


Q. Our company manual doesn’t address compensatory time off, but we have offered certain exempt managers an hour of comp time for every hour of overtime worked. Do we have to pay them for accrued comp time when we terminate them? In the past, we’ve paid comp time to some and not to others. Can we negotiate our own terms with each employee? —E.B., Oregon