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BMD Editors

Q. A long-term employee has been working part time for a year due to double knee replacement surgery. She takes painkillers, but not during work hours. Recently, she’s displayed poor judgment, doesn’t concentrate well and sometimes shakes all over. We’re concerned she may be addicted to the painkillers. We reassigned her to a job that carries less risk. What can we legally do to address this?

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Q. We are relocating to another state. While several employees will not be given relocation packages, I do plan to give them severance packages. Is it legal to require them to stay to a certain date in order to receive the severance?

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Q. What are the employer’s rights in contacting employees during their FMLA leave? Can we ask how they are doing? Can we expect they will stay at home recuperating in accordance with the doctor’s direction?

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Q. Our employees recently voted for a union and we are now negotiating. Our policies say full-time em­­ployee status starts at 30 hours per week. All of our full-time employees currently work 40 hours per week. We want to decrease the hours of some employees (about 25% of them) from eight to six per day. Do we have to bargain with the union on this change or can we just notify them? 

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Q. We let a female cashier at our restaurant wear a religious head covering, despite our policy against hats. Now, a male employee has started wearing a camouflage cap, claiming his religious idol is Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.” He says his “religion” is sincere. Can we tell him to remove the cap?

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Q. Is it lawful to ask about a person’s driving record (accidents and violations) on the job application?

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Q. One of our truck drivers just had a bypass operation and now has a defibrillator, which means, according to the DOT, he can no longer drive a truck. Do we still need to give this driver 12 weeks of FMLA time since he will never be able to return to work?

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Many of your workers are not accustomed to handling a business phone. The result: A lost or upset customer. Here is a thumbnail guide for all workers who were not trained in customer service.

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Q. Does any law require a company to give employees a raise at the end of the year or other amount of time?

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Q. An employee called out for one day because he’d been arrested on a domestic violence charge. He did not violate the attendance policy. This man has been rumored in the office to be an abuser, and the police have been called to his home other occasions. He is an at-will employee. Can we realistically fire him if he’s broken none of our rules? 

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