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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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What are the limits on employee monitoring?

Q. How would an employer legally go about monitoring employees in the workplace?

What’s the definition of ‘right-to-work’?

Q. What is the difference between a right-to-work state and a non-right-to-work state such as Pennsylvania?

Can work continue during paid lunch break?

Q. Our hourly employees have a paid 30-minute lunch break. Sometimes we ask them to do some work during that time. Is this OK since we pay them or are we required to provide them with a complete break?

Must we offer benefits to same-sex partners?

Q. One of our employees claims she has a marriage certificate for herself and her female partner and now wants to put that partner on her insurance plan. Do we have to do that?

Employer restrictions on guns in California workplaces

This month, we’ll examine several questions about how far employers can go toward prohibiting employees from bringing guns to work.

When and how do we notify that COBRA is ending?

Q. I have a COBRA participant who is nearing the end of his 36-month maximum coverage period. What notices must I send him regarding coverage termination?

Personal cellphone: Must we pay if it’s used for work?

Q. An employee uses his own smartphone to access company email and conduct work from home. The work is on his own initiative—it’s not required, but we’re aware of it. Are we obligated to pay any portion of his monthly bill?

Posting employee pics online: Is a waiver required?

Q. Do we need a signed waiver before we post pictures of our staff on our website, Facebook page or other Web-based media?  

May we collect ‘walkout’ shortages from tips?

Q. We operate several restaurants and have issues with customers who walk out without paying. We expect our ­servers to help prevent this and want to implement a program that makes servers responsible for these losses. May we deduct the amount of the shortage from employees’ gratuities instead of their wages?

Can we give preference to hiring veterans?

Q. We pride ourselves on supporting veterans who have served in the armed forces. We know we should generally not use an applicant’s class (such as gender, race, etc.) when making hiring decisions. But we have heard that the law does allow us to give a hiring preference to veterans. Is that true?