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Frederick Thurman

To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires employees to notify their employers if they are injured at work. North Carolina courts have spelled out why this requirement is important:

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Q. My small construction business is closing its doors, and we have limited funds with which to pay employees and numerous creditors. What should we do? Who should we pay first?

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Q. I saw in the paper last week that texting while driving is no longer allowed in North Carolina. Should my company have a policy regarding this?

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Q. May we include a provision in our bonus plan for North Carolina employees that they will forfeit any bonus that has not been paid at the time of termination?

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Q. One of our former employees, Joe Smith, has started an engineering consulting business. We have contracted with Joe to provide services similar to those he provided when employed. Would providing him with business cards bearing our name and logo jeopardize his independent contractor status?

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When was the last time you reviewed your company’s bulletin boards in the break room or alongside the time clock? Do they show the correct, updated federal- and state-law posters? A little time spent seeing what’s there—and what’s missing—will keep you in compliance with state and federal laws.

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Some HR departments are notorious for keeping every stack of paper indefinitely, while others fail to keep enough. Neither approach is acceptable, and it’s up to you to maintain a happy medium that complies with the law. Proper record-keeping is one of an HR professional’s core duties. Knowing what legally must be kept and for how long are important aspects of that duty.

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Have you audited the employee bulletin board in your break room or next to your time clock recently? Have you ever done so? A little time spent seeing what’s there—and what’s missing—will keep you in compliance with North Carolina and federal laws.

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Q. In an effort to avoid laying off employees in this tough economy, our company has decided to temporarily reduce everyone’s work hours to 35 hours per week. May we?

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Q. My company, a North Carolina corporation, has only four employees, all of whom are equal shareholders. We don’t have employment contracts. May three of us decide to terminate the employment of the other, a 25% shareholder?

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