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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR Weekly


How should we handle difficult firing meeting?

Q. We recently decided to terminate an employee based on performance concerns. The employee is in sales and is required to cold call a certain number of individuals each day. In reviewing the daily call logs, the employee’s manager discovered that she has been calling the same disconnected number over and over again … To top it off, she sent an email telling other employees they could do the same. In preparing for the termination meeting, I’m wondering what we should say?

Are reference checks a waste of time?

Q. We are re-examining our applicant screening process. One idea we’re considering is eliminating calling previous employers for reference checks. We haven’t found those calls to be very helpful, because most former employers will only confirm dates of employment and job title. Is this a good idea?

Does our ‘sick leave bonus’ count toward employee’s regular rate of pay?

Q. We pay a bonus for not using accrued sick leave. Does that count when determining an employee’s regular rate of pay for overtime purposes?

Can we offer more vacation in lieu of OT pay?

Q. May an employer compensate an employee for overtime work by awarding additional paid vacation time equal to the total accrued overtime?

New rules for commissioned sales employees?

Q. What are the new developments regarding overtime exemption for commissioned sales employees?

Can we collect employee cellphones at the door?

Q. We’ve had it with all the texting and social networking by employees when they’re supposed to be working. Can we just make them check their electronic devices at the door? Telling them to stop when we catch them isn’t working.

Is it OK to use SSNs as ID numbers?

Q. A few employees have complained that we use their Social Security numbers (SSNs) as their ID numbers. They’re concerned about identity theft. Is it legal to use Social Security numbers for ID purposes?

How do I make a noncompete enforceable?

Q. Can I ask employees who are already with the company to execute noncompete agreements?

Does workers’ comp cover telecommuters?

Q. Do workers’ compensation laws apply if an employee is injured while working in his own home and using his own equipment?

Can I fire someone I just don’t like?

Q. I would like to fire an employee who is unpleasant to work with. We simply don’t “click.” Do I have to have cause to terminate him?