Louis DiLorenzo

When an employee either complains internally about discrimination or goes to an outside agency like the EEOC to lodge a complaint, she has engaged in what’s called “protected activity.” She may not be right about the discrimination, but if her employer retaliated against her for complaining in the first place, she could win a large jury award anyway. You’ll want to avoid at all costs having to admit to any of these 10 things if you’re embroiled in a retaliation case.

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Q. We recently made a job offer to someone, rescinded the offer and then hired another applicant two months later. Is there anything illegal about that?

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It’s a mistake that’s all too common: An employer investigating harassment claims or other workplace infraction fails to act when the inquiry bumps up against a “he said/she said” wall. There are four factors critical to assessing witness credibility: demeanor, consistency, chronology, and past history and motivations.

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Q. We operate a fitness club and employ many fitness class instructors. They have time between classes that ranges from 15 minutes to several hours. They are free to spend that time anyway they want, on or off premises. Do we have to pay them for the time between classes?

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Q. One of our employees ran an errand for us to pick up $700 in cash. He says he lost it. Can we make him pay it back?

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Q. We have medical providers at our clinic who are paid straight commission based on the number of patients treated and the treatment cost. Sometimes, they block time out of their schedules to attend training on laser techniques or continuing medical training for their licenses. I know that most employees must be paid for training time, but this is different. Do we have to pay them?

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Q. Sometimes, we get calls from government agencies or collection agencies seeking employment verification. Do we have to provide the information?

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Q. Our company has 250 employees in eight states, but we have FMLA eligible employees in only one state. As I rewrite our employee handbook, I will include the mandatory FMLA language. However, I would like some input on what type of policy, if any, to include for non-FMLA eligible employees.

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Q. I am updating job descriptions. We sometimes use the term “high energy” as a qualification. Does this violate the ADA or other laws?

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Q. Almost all our employees carry personal cell phones and seem to be calling or texting during work hours. Can we require them to put their phones in their lockers at the beginning of their shifts?

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