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Q&A

Can we refuse to hire the long-term unemployed?

09/20/2011
Q. We are inundated with applications for the few open positions we have. Many are from applicants who’ve been out of work for over a year. Can we exclude them automatically or do we have to come up with a specific reason—such as stale skills—for each one we reject?

Must we grant time off for rehab?

09/16/2011
Q. An employee recently confided to us that he has a drug problem and would like to take several weeks off to check into a rehabilitation program. May we deny his request?

Does the FCRA cover private eyes looking into workers’ comp fraud?

09/16/2011
Q. We suspect that one of our employees has filed a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim. We would like to hire a private investigator to gather information on his activities. By doing so, are we subject to the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

What kind of time off must we grant for employees to attend school-related activities?

09/16/2011
Q. With the new school year under way, can you ­give me a rundown on the rules governing our obligation to grant workers time off to participate in their children’s school-­related activities?

How can we recoup stolen money?

09/16/2011
Q. We just fired an employee after discovering that he stole $5,000 from the company. Do we have to pay the employee his final paycheck or can we apply that paycheck toward the $5,000 he owes us?

When executive wants to ease into retirement, can we insist on a ‘retirement contract’?

09/16/2011
Q. An executive wants to retire in one year and gradually reduce her schedule until then. Our business needs don’t allow us to have this executive role be part-time on a long-term basis. Can we approve this request on the condition that the executive sign an agreement binding her to retire within one year?

Off-hours training: Paid or unpaid?

09/14/2011
Q. We are requiring some hourly employees to take additional training. Those who work the day shift can attend the training in lieu of work. But employees who work the night shift will have to come in during the day. Must we pay extra for the night shift employees to attend the training?

Offering extra leave as hiring incentive: Any risk?

09/05/2011
Q. We are considering hiring a new RN. She is requesting an extra week of vacation above what our company policy offers. Would we be discriminating against our other full-time employees if we grant her request?

Are there perils in giving a pay raise in hopes of boosting employee performance?

09/02/2011
Q. About four months ago, we gave a pay raise to a marginal employee who is pregnant, in hopes that it would improve her job performance by boosting her morale. Unfortunately, her performance has gone from bad to worse. If we fire her for poor performance, can she successfully argue that the recent raise indicates that she was performing well and that our reason for terminating her was discriminatory?

Must employers grant FMLA leave for an adult child’s injuries?

08/29/2011
Everyone knows employees can use FMLA to care for minor children who have serious health conditions. But what about adult children who need a parent’s care? It’s a difficult issue that straddles the complex intersection of the FMLA and the ADA, plus definitions of “disability” and “care.”