The EEOC and state and local agencies have been filing more and more administrative charges in recent years. As the recession deepens and more people lose their jobs, that trend is likely to continue. Because administrative charges can be precursors to discrimination lawsuits, it’s critical for you to handle them properly.
Q. My company requires new employees to sign a two-year noncompete agreement. Are such agreements enforceable?
Q. When an employee requested a reduced schedule as an accommodation of his medical condition, we agreed. He has now told us that he is able to work full time. However, because of business conditions, we’d prefer to keep him at a reduced schedule. Do we have to reinstate him to his full-time job?
Q. We are considering layoffs but would like to avoid them. Can we cut employees’ pay because of tough economic times?
Q. Is it OK for our company to prohibit employees from speaking in languages other than English in front of our customers?
Q. We have an employee out on FMLA leave and have just learned that she will not be able to return to work when her FMLA entitlement expires. Should we go ahead and send her a termination notice now?
Q. With the change in the seasons, an employee who claims to suffer from seasonal affective disorder wants to put up a special lighting fixture by her desk that she says will provide natural-spectrum light. Some employees complained last year when she put up this light that it was bothersome and distracting to them. Do we have to let the employee use the light? What do we tell other employees?
Q. It looks like it will be necessary for our company to lay off several employees. Can you tell me whether we are required to pay severance? If so, how much?
Q. Flu season is coming and we are concerned. If employees have the flu or show flu symptoms, can we require them to stay home long enough to make sure they are no longer contagious? Would we have to pay them for time away?
Q. My company asks employees who receive raises or discretionary bonuses not to discuss them with other employees. An employee recently took issue with this request and told me the company’s practice is illegal. Is that true?