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Jonathan Hyman

Q. How long do I have to keep employees’ personnel files after their terminations?

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Q. How often do I have to pay my employees? Are there any rules that require payment upon termination within a specific time period?

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Q. Does our company have to permit new moms to nurse at work?

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On Jan. 16, the U.S. Department of Labor’s new FMLA regulations became effective. The most significant changes were to the regulatory scheme for handling employee leave certifications and medical documentation.

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Q. We run a manufacturing facility, and our production needs do not always permit our employees to take breaks during the workday. A group of employees have complained that we are required by law to provide rest breaks and a lunch break during their shifts. Are they right?

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Q. We have an employee who failed to return from an FMLA leave of absence. During the leave, we had been paying our customary share of her medical insurance premiums. Is there anything we can do to recoup the expenses we paid for this employee?

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President Obama has put forth a significant employment and labor agenda. If he and the Democratic-controlled Congress succeed in passing proposed legislation, the next several years will see the creation of new protected classes, more family leave rights and the re-emergence of labor unions.

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Q. Because of the long lines on Election Day, some employees missed hours of work. In the future, do I have to permit employees to take time off to vote?

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A recent federal appeals court decision shows how risky it is to ignore the interactive accommodations process spelled out in the ADA. In Talley v. Family Dollar Stores of Ohio (6th Cir.), the court held that the breakdown of the interactive process can, in and of itself, constitute a constructive discharge of an employee.

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Q. We provide PDAs to virtually all our employees, some of whom are nonexempt. This enables them to send and respond to e-mails at all hours of the day and night. Does an employee’s time spent on his or her PDA outside of work count as hours worked?

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