Michael Fox

Q. About once a month, one of our employees faints, is taken to the hospital by ambulance and is released to return to work—without restrictions. These recurring incidents are affecting our productivity, and we’re worried about the employee’s health. The employee has claimed the episodes are induced by workplace stress. What should we do?

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Q. When a job applicant took a post-offer physical, he learned he has hepatitis C. The position he is seeking at our oil refinery would expose him to chemicals that could be harmful to his liver. If we refuse to hire him and he alleges disability discrimination, will we be able to utilize the “direct threat” defense?

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Q. We are a small manufacturing company with 16 employees. We distribute our products through another company, which we also own. The distribution company has 38 employees. One of our manufacturing employees is pregnant and has asked for time off. She says she is entitled to leave under the FMLA. Is this true?

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Q. We have an employee who recently submitted an expense report for more than $1,300 for an extended business trip. We accidentally reimbursed him twice. He did not report the double payment and we did not learn of the mistake until an internal audit two months later. Our company policy prohibits dishonesty and we want to fire the worker for violating this rule. Will he be able to collect unemployment benefits? May we withhold the vacation pay that is due to him under our policy, which would just about make us whole?

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Q. Our employees receive tips, and we take advantage of the tip credit toward the minimum wage. In the past, we have paid employees the full tip amount on credit card charges, even though we have to pay a percentage fee to the credit card company. It doesn’t seem fair that we should have to pay money that we don’t really receive. How may we resolve this fairly and legally?

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Q. Our maintenance employees drive company vehicles and keep them overnight. The employees are responsible for servicing a number of stores. Some days, they report to our warehouse to pick up parts before going to their first location. On other days, they report directly to a work site … Do we have to pay them for any time in excess of their normal commuting time to the warehouse?

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Q. We recently extended an employment offer to someone who was later determined to be unable to perform the essential functions of the position because of a visual impairment. As a result, we wasted a significant amount of time and missed the opportunity to hire other qualified individuals. Aren’t workers obligated under the ADA to disclose to an employer that they suffer from a disability?

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Q. We suspect some employees come to work drunk. Are workplace alcohol tests lawful under the ADA?

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Q. We suspect some employees come to work drunk. Are workplace alcohol tests lawful under the ADA?

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Q. All of our employees have Internet access at their workstations. We have heard rumors that several employees have been visiting pornographic and other inappropriate web sites, and displaying and disseminating objectionable material to others in the workplace. Even though we have not received a formal complaint, do we have an obligation to address this now? What steps can we take to avoid these problems?

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