David B. Ritter

Q. I’d like to institute a civility code that goes beyond the basic racial and sexual slurs to include any name-calling that is demeaning, crude or rude. What do you suggest as punishment?

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Q. I need to send a nonexempt employee to training for two days out of town. We’ll pay his mileage, hotel, meals and training costs. We plan to pay him for a normal eight-hour workday for both days … Do we have to pay for off-duty hours since the employee needs to stay at the training venue?

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Q. I know we have to provide milk-expression breaks for new moms, and we do. But now a new mother is having her mother bring the baby in twice a day to nurse. These breaks go more than 30 minutes as the baby is passed around, etc. Can we just tell her to express and refrigerate the milk?

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Q. With the election approaching, it seems like our office is as politically divided as the country. Can we ban all political talk?

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Q. We’re interested in taking advantage of the new incentive for Illinois employers to hire veterans. What are the details?

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The 7th Circuit has held that employees who participate in employer internal investigations before administrative charges or lawsuits have been filed are not protected from retaliation. It’s different, however, after such charges have been filed.

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Q. Could you explain the National Labor Rela­tions Board’s recent challenges to at-will employment policies?

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Q. What is the final rule that the EEOC issued regarding the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)?

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The 7th Circuit recently considered for the first time whether an employee can be individually liable under a “cat’s paw” theory of retaliation under Section 1981. In Smith v. Bray the court held that an employee could sue an HR manager individually for retaliating against him by influencing the decision to fire him.

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Q. We have heard that employers are increasingly screening applicants online, including by going to their Facebook pages. Can we require an applicant who has a private Facebook page to give us the password to that page?

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