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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Employee returning from maternity leave: Does she have to have the same hours as before?

Q. Under Texas law, if we have an employee returning from maternity leave, are we required to give her the same work hours as she received before her leave? We would like to reduce her hours because sales are down.

What’s the new retirement plan designed for small New York employers?

Q. We are a small employer and don’t have a retirement savings plan. An employee just asked us about what he described as a new retirement plan that won’t cost us anything. What’s that all about?

What should we do? Freelancer claims harassment

Q. We just got a complaint from one of our freelancers alleging she was sexually harassed while working in one of our facilities. What should we do? She’s not our employee.

Do we really have to install baby changing tables in our restrooms?

Q. I heard that there’s a new law in New York that requires providing baby changing tables in all bathrooms. Is that true? Why would my employees need changing tables?

What to do about repeated harassment claims that always turn out to be unfounded?

Q. We have an employee who has complained multiple times that she’s been sexually harassed. Each time we investigate, no one will back up her stories. Can we tell her to stop complaining?

Can we make pay raises contingent on doing charitable volunteer work?

Q. Our new CEO believes in volunteering and wants to institute a new requirement that all employees volunteer at least five hours per month to be eligible for pay increases at evaluation time. She wants to provide a list of appropriate places to volunteer. Can she do this?

How rigid can our dress code be about imposing grooming standards?

Q. Can we require male employees to keep their hair short? Also, can we require male employees to shave their beards?

Must we pay this summer intern?

Q. We are short-handed this summer and it’s really hard to get employees right now. We want to offer an internship to a college student to help us out. She would gain experience and if she can work it out with her advisor, maybe she can get college credit. Do we have to pay her?

What should we do? Two no-show/no-call situations were treated differently

Q. We have a strict rule against not calling in before a missed shift to report an absence. We require workers to make that call at least one hour before the shift is to start, unless they cannot do so due to an emergency. Otherwise we mark the absence as unexcused. Recently, an employee went to the emergency room and couldn’t make the call because she could not get cell service where she was and was undergoing triage treatment. We didn’t hold her to the rule. Now another employee, who heard from the first employee that she was excused, is complaining she’s being treated unfairly, but her situation was not the same. What do we do?

Any risk of not reducing demoted worker’s pay?

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?