BMD Editors

Q: “Can we refuse a request for FMLA intermittent leave for a serious health condition when the physician has checked the box indicating that there is no part of that employee’s job that the employee is not able to perform? We included a copy of the job description with the FMLA paperwork we provided.” – Kary, Maryland

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It’s not always such a terrible thing for a worker to just go through the motions. But it means we need to change our conception of what workplace motivation looks like.

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Q. Our owner brings her dog to work every day. We have a new employee that just found out—due to health-related issues—that she is allergic to the dog. The owner said she won’t terminate the employee, but the employee needs to decide whether she wants to stay or not, because the dog is not going anywhere …

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Q. Can we ask an employee to work one day at a certain position for $25 per hour and the next day work a different position for only $21 per hour? Employees on a rig crew switch positions many times, so one day they may be a rig operator, and the next day a derrick hand.

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Q: “Is there merit to having employees sign their time cards? Is it important to have a certification that the hours shown represent an accurate accounting of time worked? Is there any type of liability if the employee simply uses an automated system of hand or card swipes and never ‘approves’ their time, either automatically in the computer timekeeping system like ADP or in writing on a printed timesheet? What might be the issue if this does not happen?” – Kary, Maryland

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Q: “One of our general managers in Oklahoma hired an individual to lift metal parts off a cutting table to place on pallets. We found out that the new hire is suing his former employee for an alleged back injury. Can we terminate the employee for not letting us know he had a back injury? He said that he was qualified to perform the work and has been lifting the parts for a week.” – Vincent, Louisiana

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Look around your office: in the conference room, the reception area, the lunch room. You have enough chairs, but do you have any that can accommodate a person who’s morbidly obese (defined as weighing 100% or more over ideal body weight)?

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Crafting a powerful, engaging culture not only boosts hiring, but it also helps you keep the talent you already have.

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Q. Should a small business employee handbook include a safe-harbor clause under the benefits section for their 401k plan? In the past, the benefits information in the handbook has been limited because it can change so often. Instead, the handbook just points the employee to the summary plan documents.

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Q. Our employee handbook states that if employees are sick before and after a holiday and they do not get a doctor’s note, they will not get paid for those missed days. Is this legal?

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