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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Can we demand employee’s Facebook password so we can access her postings?

Q. Our company received a report that an employee who called in sick on a Thursday and Friday later posted photos to her Facebook page that indicated she was traveling in another city with friends at the time. It appears she lied to us about being sick. Can we require her to give us her Facebook password so that we can see her online postings?

What are the pros and cons of prohibiting workplace photography?

Q. We recently saw a news report that an AOL employee was fired for taking a photograph during a meeting. Now we’re wondering: Should we include anything in our employee handbook prohibiting the taking of photographs or videos at work?

What if client makes a discriminatory request?

Q. We offer home health care services. Sometimes clients request a certain caregiver in respect to color, age, gender, etc. Is it legal to place an ad with a specific request from our client, such as “seeking Caucasian female between ages 40-50 to help care for adult female”? 

Can we ban off-premise, lunch-break sports?

Q. Two employees got into a fight while on their lunch break. They were playing soccer in an open lot off premises and wearing their company uniforms. The vice president reacted by banning employees from playing any sports during their lunch break—on the premises or off … Can the VP dictate what employees can do on unpaid time?

Does telecommuting affect nonexempt status?

Q. We’ve allowed employees to work from home on occasion and are considering making it an option for some positions. Does exempt/nonexempt status matter when it comes to employees working from home on a permanent basis?

FMLA expired and we haven’t heard from worker: Can we legally terminate?

Q. One of our employees was injured on the job and has been on leave for almost six months now. Her eligibility for FMLA leave expired a couple of months ago and we haven’t received a response to the notice we sent her stating that her time off under worker’s compensation counts against any leave she may be entitled to. Can she legally be terminated and replaced?

Isn’t it illegal to withhold pay as punishment?

Q. When an employee fails to clock in or out properly, our payroll department withholds that day’s pay until the next pay period as a form of employee discipline. My understanding is that an employer can’t hold back portions of pay as punishment. Am I right?

Does a natural disaster make former employees eligible for unemployment benefits?

Q. We had to close down our business because of the damage caused by a natural disaster. Are our employees entitled to unemployment benefits?

Must we pay severance to employee who turned down telecommuting offer?

Q. We plan to lay off some of our employees and offer jobs to others in our facility in another state. We are also giving a select few of our employees the option to work from home. One of the employees to whom we gave this telecommuting option has declined it and requested severance instead. Are we obligated to pay him severance?

Who’s responsible for filing a workers’ comp claim?

Q. Our data entry employee has been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. She has not submitted a workers’ comp claim but has advised us of her diagnosis. Are we required to file the claim even if she hasn’t?