Louis DiLorenzo

Q. We have two offices in two different states. In one office, we have a sick leave policy in place because we have exempt employees, and the FLSA requires us to have the policy if we want to dock exempt employees for sick time after they exhaust their sick days. All employees at the second office are hourly, and they rarely call in sick. Can we have a policy at one location and not at another?

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Q. Are we required to give applicants official offer letters? What does a letter have to spell out?

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Q. Would a brief clock-out (initiated by the employee) of less than 20 minutes, such as an impromptu smoking break or personal phone call break, need to be paid as work time? The company accepts such impromptu clock-out breaks without prior supervisor approval.

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Q. Some of our supervisors make their exempt employees take personal or sick leave for every minute they miss from work, even if they work a regular schedule the rest of the week. Can we safely do that?

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Q. Our company offers a health insurance opt-out incentive, paying employees $400 a month if they use their spouses’ insurance plans. We now have an employee going out on FMLA maternity leave. Do we have to keep paying her $400 per month?

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Q. Our company recently discovered some theft in our operation. We called an employee in for an investigative interview. He claimed to have consulted with an attorney and refused to answer our questions on the grounds that he could not be forced to incriminate himself under the Fifth Amendment. What are our choices?

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Q. Some of our supervisors make their exempt employees take personal or sick leave for every minute they miss from work, even if they work a regular schedule the rest of the week. Can we safely do that?

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A solid investigation is the cornerstone of any decision to discipline an employee. One of the most important and effective tools available in conducting an investigation is the investigatory interview. Here’s how to conduct one.

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Q. We are investigating a sexual harassment complaint. One of the employees accused of wrongdoing refuses to be interviewed without his lawyer. I know the attorney has no right to be there, but what are my options?

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Q. Recently, an employee left our company to join a competitor. When we took a look at his computer, we found deleted e-mails and files indicating he downloaded some valuable information about our customers. We suspect he transferred it to our competitor. He was an at-will employee and we had no employment agreement with him. Is there anything we can do about this?

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