Joseph Beachboard

Q. We employ a number of computer programmers at our Northern California facility. Is there a new law regarding compensation for these exempt employees?

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Q. An employee recently complained that one of our clients sexually harassed her. May we be held liable for the client’s action?

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Q. The owner of our company recently fired an employee who refused to run a business-related errand. The employee said running errands wasn’t in his job description. Can he sue us for wrongful termination? …

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Q. We have two employees who went out on workers’ compensation leave and never came back. They’re still listed as employees. Can we lay them off? …

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Q. One of our employees will be out for medical treatments for four to six weeks. He doesn’t want to use FMLA leave, just his accumulated sick and vacation days. We’re afraid he’ll use them up and then demand 12 weeks’ FMLA leave. Can we make him use FMLA leave first? …

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Q. We’d like our retail staff to wear uniforms. Can we charge them for the uniforms? …

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A temporary employment agency violated federal labor law by including a confidentiality provision in an employment contract, according to a recent NLRB ruling (Northeastern Land Services, Ltd. dba The NLS Group and Jamison John Dupuy, 352 NLRB No. 89, 2008). In the case, the agency fired a worker for violating the confidentiality provision …

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Q. Is it illegal to pay someone without a degree less than someone with the degree? In our case, two employees have the same title but do slightly different tasks. One has a bachelor’s in HR and the other does not. However, the one without a degree is doing all the HR duties and gets paid less than the one with a degree. The degreed employee doesn’t use her HR skills in her job at all.

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Q. One of our employees was injured on the job. She went to the hospital the same night, had surgery and was out of work for eight days. Can we apply FMLA leave or sick leave to that time, even if she ends up being paid through workers’ comp?

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Q. One of my employees worked four 10-hour days this week. His last day of work fell on Sunday, the seventh day of our workweek. We do not currently have an alternative work schedule arrangement. Do we have any overtime obligations to this employee? …

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