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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Must we grant time off for employee to care for a grandparent?

Q. Our company has 30 full-time employees. One of our employees who is working on a key project has asked us for time off to take care of her grandfather, who has cancer, on days after he’s gone through chemotherapy. We know other family members are available to provide this care, and we are worried that it will be a hardship to have the employee away from work. Do we have to give the employee the time off?

Can we fire admitted drug user, or should we offer time off for treatment?

Q. We have an employee who has been performing poorly and who has shown up for work appearing to be intoxicated. In a discussion with a manager, the employee admitted that he was currently using cocaine and it was affecting his personal and work life. We haven’t done a drug test on the employee, given his admission of drug use. We want to fire the employee, but we aren’t sure if the FMLA or any other law requires us to give him time off to undergo treatment?

Can we ask employees about retirement intentions?

Q. Is it OK to ask members of our management team what their tentative retirement plans are so we can focus on having enough trained people ready to step up when vacancies occur? 

Do agencies use ‘fake applicants’ to test for bias?

Q. When interviewing a candidate, I became suspicious the job-seeker was a “tester.”  Her answers seemed like she was fishing for a slip-up. Do agencies or groups still send out people to see whether employers are hiring legally?

What should we do? Employee says he’s allergic to co-worker’s service dog

Q. After making several accommodations for an em­­ployee who was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and assigned a service dog, another employee is now claiming he is allergic. Can we ask for medical documentation to confirm his allergy? And aside from moving him farther away from the dog, are there other accommodations we are required to make for him?

Must we give FMLA leave for cosmetic surgery?

Q. An employee lost weight and is having excess skin removed and a breast lift. There will be a surgery and recovery period. Is elective cosmetic surgery covered under a serious medical condition?

What are the rules for compensating nonexempts for overnight travel?

Q. Several of our employees will be required to travel to another state for a seminar. What’s the rule for compensating nonexempt employees who take overnight business trips?

What are the rules for obtaining notice that an employee needs FMLA leave?

Q. Can we require our employees to give us notice of when they need FMLA leave? Can we require that notice in writing?

Can an independent contractor use a company car?

Q. If we use independent contractors as drivers/couriers, can they use our company cars?

What do we need to consider when crafting a policy on unpaid intern injuries?

Q. We recently started to provide unpaid internship opportunities to local college students… The interns are not subject to the same process as other permanent or temporary employees in terms of background checks and workers’ compensation insurance. Now we’re looking at how best to structure this relationship to address issues such as what happens if an intern is hurt at a client facility. How should we approach this?