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Q&A

Any risk of not reducing demoted worker’s pay?

06/10/2019
Q. We moved a salaried supervisor to a rank-and-file hourly position, but we left him at the higher salary. Now, several co-workers are complaining that they’re being paid less for the same job and grumbling about discrimination. The co-workers are of different nationalities than the former supervisor. Should we raise the co-workers’ salaries if we want to be as cautious as possible to avoid a lawsuit?

Pay for time spent in disciplinary meeting?

06/06/2019
Q. Last week, we asked a worker to come in early to discuss a complaint about her work that had come to our attention. We issued her a written warning. We did not pay her for the approximately 30 minutes we spent with her before she was scheduled to come in to work. Now, she’s threatening a wage-and-hour complaint. Did we make a mistake?

Is it possible to discipline for body odor?

05/16/2019
Q. We have several employees who apparently don’t use deodorant and have very offensive body odor. What can we do to get them to clean up their act? Can we discipline them? Our dress code does specify that all employees shall practice good hygiene.

What is the latest information on running FMLA leave concurrently with other leave?

04/30/2019
Q. We don’t have a policy on using FMLA leave concurrently with other leave. Therefore, sometimes employees will ask to use up their paid leave first and then use unpaid FMLA leave. This seems to occur most often with maternity leave, as some new mothers like to have extra time off. Of course, we know about the need for FMLA leave since we know the employee is pregnant. We’ve heard that the DOL now requires us to run leave concurrently. Is this true?

Cooperative dialogue versus interactive accommodations process

04/24/2019
Q. I’m a New York City employer. One of my workers recently requested a copy of the decision to deny her an accommodation. She says she’s entitled to a copy of the cooperative dialogue decision. Do I have to give her something in writing?

Federal vs. New York overtime rules: Do board, lodging and other allowances count?

04/24/2019
Q. Currently, to satisfy the New York state overtime rules, we include board, lodging and other allowances and facilities in that salary. We hit the $679 salary level contemplated in the federal DOL regs already if we include that amount. Do we have to back that amount off?

How much leave do we have to grant for bone marrow donation? Must it be paid leave?

04/10/2019
Q. One of my employees plans to donate bone marrow. She will need to take time off for this purpose. How much time can she take off? Must it be paid, even though the decision to donate was not due to her own medical condition?

Does post-traumatic stress disorder qualify for workers’ comp benefits?

04/02/2019
Q. I’ve heard that the first responders we employ can receive workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. Is that true?

How can I keep track of overtime changes happening in Washington and Harrisburg?

04/02/2019
Q. I know the U.S. Department of Labor has just released a new proposed rule changing the weekly salary that employees must receive to be classified as exempt. But didn’t I also read a few months ago that Pennsylvania is also changing the salary level?

How will upcoming expungement of marijuana-related records affect hiring?

01/11/2019
Q. We’ve heard that soon, Californians who have prior marijuana convictions may have their marijuana-related criminal records expunged. How might this affect our hiring processes?