Joseph Beachboard

Q. Our company is considering replacing sick leave and vacation benefits with a paid time off (PTO) program. How are these plans treated upon the termination or resignation of an employee?

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Q. How does the new California law making it illegal to send and read text messages while driving affect employers?

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Q. I have an employee who is a volunteer firefighter. Although I believe that volunteering is important, his absences to respond to emergencies have disrupted workplace productivity. Can I replace him because of the problems his service causes?

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Q. Several recent hires have suffered work-related injuries shortly after beginning their employment. As a result, our workers’ compensation premiums have soared. The company’s CEO, in an effort to avoid this problem, has directed that only “careful” workers be hired in the future. Is this legal?

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Q. One of our employees is experiencing performance-related problems that I believe are attributable to a mental disability. However, the worker has not notified the company that he suffers from an impairment that may be a covered “disability” under state or federal laws. Nor has he asked for any accommodations. Should we nonetheless offer to reasonably accommodate this employee?

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Q. One of my employees has created his own web site. Recently, he has been posting negative comments about our company. Specifically, he has accused the company of failing to provide adequate benefits and paying below-market wages. Can we fire the worker for this conduct?

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Q. Are there any specific requirements regarding the types of resting and eating facilities California employers must provide for their workers?

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Q. Our company’s attendance policy calls for issuing a warning when an employee has three absences. Five absences result in a suspension, and seven absences result in termination. Can we continue this policy?

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Q. What kinds of penalties or liability does an employer face if it fails to provide notice of COBRA coverage upon termination of an employee?

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Q. We recently had a power outage and called employees who weren’t in yet to tell them to come in when the power was back up. We then gave these people a chance to make up the lost time by working late or using paid time off. Do we have to pay them for the hours they missed?

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