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Q&A

Can we terminate an employee who has been discussing how much he gets paid?

08/12/2010
Q. Our company has a confidentiality policy about employee wages. We recently learned that one of our employees has been violating this policy by disclosing his hourly pay rate to co-workers. Can we terminate this employee for violating our company policy?

What are our FMLA obligations when an employee has to care for a child he isn’t related to?

08/12/2010
Q. An employee has requested FMLA-protected leave to care for his partner’s son. We are aware that the child is not legally or biologically related to our employee. Do we have to grant the leave?

Is an employee who resigned (instead of being fired) eligible for unemployment benefits?

08/12/2010
Q. We recently decided to conclude a long-time worker’s employment with our company. We gave the employee the option of resigning instead of being fired. She chose to resign and is now trying to collect unemployment benefits. Is she still eligible even though she resigned?

Must we pay workers who have been suspended?

08/06/2010
Q. We recently sent an employee home for not following his supervisor’s instructions. Do we have an obligation to pay him for the full day regardless? How should we handle this situation in the future? Is this considered administrative leave?

Does the Florida Workers’ Comp Law require pre-suit notice in retaliation cases?

08/06/2010
Q. We are a private company that provides services under contract to a subdivision of the state. Normally, before any tort lawsuit has been filed against us related to our services to the state agency, we have received a pre-suit notice as required under Section 768.25, Florida Statutes, to trigger a waiver of sovereign immunity. A former employee has brought a lawsuit against us, alleging that his discharge was unlawful workers’ compensation retaliation under Section 440.205, Florida Statutes. However, he never sent us a pre-suit notice for this statutory tort. Can we get the case thrown out?

Now that the ADAAA has been enacted, can former employee apply it retroactively?

08/06/2010
Q. One of our security employees uses a hearing aid. He could not pass the unaided hearing requirements of his job. As a result, we let him go. His layoff occurred in 2007, when he first brought a claim for an alleged violation of the ADA. He claims that with the subsequent adoption of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), an employer is not allowed to consider mitigating measures in determining whether an employee has a disability. Can the ADAAA be retroactively applied so he is deemed to have a disability under the ADA?

Must breastfeeding breaks be ‘paid’ time?

08/05/2010
Q. We have an employee who will be returning from maternity leave next month. I read that the new law requires us to provide time for her to pump milk. Do we have to pay her for those breaks?

We overpaid employees: Can we ask for it back?

08/04/2010
Q. We recently switched to a new payroll company. They made a mistake when they set up our overtime calculations. Our employees who work the swing shift are given an extra 25 cents for regular hours and 37 cents for overtime hours. But we accidentally paid them 57 cents extra per hour instead. Can we require the employees to repay the extra amount?

Does the ADA allow us to look into dangers posed by employee’s recurring medical crises?

08/02/2010
Q. About once a month, one of our employees faints, is taken to the hospital by ambulance and is released to return to work—without restrictions. These recurring incidents are affecting our productivity, and we’re worried about the employee’s health. The employee has claimed the episodes are induced by workplace stress. What should we do?

What’s our legal defense? Working here would be dangerous for ill applicant

08/02/2010
Q. When a job applicant took a post-offer physical, he learned he has hepatitis C. The position he is seeking at our oil refinery would expose him to chemicals that could be harmful to his liver. If we refuse to hire him and he alleges disability discrimination, will we be able to utilize the “direct threat” defense?