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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Under PTO policy, must we pay out unused leave upon employee’s termination?


Q. We offer employees a set number of paid time off (PTO) days per year, which they may use for any reason, including vacation and sick days. Must we pay out all earned but unused PTO days upon termination?

Employee out on military leave: Must we pay him?


Q. We have an employee who will soon go on temporary military duty soon and be gone for several weeks. Do we have to pay him at all during his absence, or does he receive military pay?

How should we handle overtime and holidays?


Q. I am wondering about rules relating to overtime during weeks with holidays. We pay a higher rate than normal for employees who work on the day of a holiday. Do we need to include the additional pay rate in calculating any overtime owed during the same week? …

How should we proceed? We want to hire someone who has signed a noncompete agreement


Q. We would like to hire an applicant who used to work for a similar company, but he has a noncompete agreement with his former employer. We think the noncompete is way too broad—it lasts for three years and prevents him from working anywhere in the country—and we do not believe the work he will be doing competes with any activities of his former employer. Can we go ahead and hire him?

Worker wants to alter a discipline note she saw in her personnel file—Now what?


Q. An employee asked to review her personnel file, and we let her. Now she wants us to change a discipline notice she found in the file. We don’t have to do that, do we?

We hear a worker is sick: What can we say?


Q. We recently heard from a co-worker that an employee (“Mike”) seemed to be having some health issues. Mike hasn’t said anything to his supervisor or anyone else as far as we know. What can we say?

Must employers use progressive discipline?


Q. Under our progressive discipline policy, employees receive an oral warning, a written warning, suspension and finally termination. If an employee’s conduct is severe enough to warrant termination upon the first offense, can we fire the employee right away, or must we follow this progressive discipline policy?

What can we ask about how applicant would get to work?


Q. In our experience, employees who take public transportation or rely on rides from others are more likely to be tardy to work than those who own their own vehicle. Therefore, before hiring an applicant for employment, we would like to make sure the applicant has a reliable method of transportation to work. Would it be appropriate to inquire, for example, whether the applicant owns a vehicle?

Are we allowed to prohibit moonlighting?


Q. Is there any law against having a policy that prohibits my employees from working a second job?

Can I terminate a cashier who just filed for bankruptcy?


Q. I just found out that an employee filed for bankruptcy. I’m concerned, because she works a cash register and has access to money. Can I fire this employee?