Michael Fox

Q. Some of our employees have jobs that require some driving. Do we need to ask these employees for proof that they have driver’s licenses and insurance?

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Q. Without authorization, one of our employees worked extra hours this week, even though we told everyone they needed approval to work overtime. Are we required to pay overtime for the unauthorized hours?

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Q. One of our salaried supervisors has informed us that he needs to take two hours off work each week for the next two months to undergo medical treatment. His physician has certified his illness as a “serious health condition” under the FMLA. May we reduce his pay for the time he will miss work, or are we required to continue to pay his full salary to retain his exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

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Q. Do I have to allow an employee off work because he has been subpoenaed to testify in a friend’s divorce case? I would like to replace him if he misses work for more than a day or two.

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Q. We recently received a court order to garnish the wages of an employee who has failed to repay a student loan. I thought that the garnishment of an employee’s wages in Texas was prohibited by law. Is that no longer true?

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Q. Lately we have been concerned about workplace theft—both of our property and that of our employees. We would like to search our employees’ lockers, each of which is secured with a worker’s own lock. Is this legal? Do we need the employees’ consent?

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Q. We suspect one of our employees has filed a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim. We would like to hire a private investigator to gather information on the worker’s activities. What laws would govern that decision?

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Q. Our health maintenance organization contract calls for terminating coverage for anyone who moves outside the HMO service area. COBRA requires us to offer continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries even if they move outside the HMO service area. How do I comply with these requirements?

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Q. Occasionally, when we receive a big order, our nonexempt employees have to work through their lunch breaks. Although we do not pay them for this work, we buy pizzas and sodas for all the affected workers. Is this lawful?

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Q. I recently received an inquiry for a reference regarding a former employee. Does the job reference law alter what I should disclose regarding this person’s employment history?

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