Michael Fox — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 11
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Michael Fox

Q. We have an employee returning from FMLA leave. His physician has issued a fitness-for-duty certificate. However, we have doubts about the worker’s ability to perform his job because he wasn’t off work very long … Can we send him to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty examination?

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Q. Our company requires male employees to keep their hair short. However, a recent applicant has stated that his religion doesn’t allow him to cut his hair. Will requiring him to cut his hair to get the job violate federal law?

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Q. Several recent hires have suffered work-related injuries shortly after starting to work for us. As a result, our workers’ compensation premiums have soared. Our CEO, in an effort to avoid this problem, has directed managers to hire only “careful” workers in the future. Is this legal?

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Q. Our software company is considering hiring a Canadian citizen for a computer systems analyst position. Does the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allow us to hire this individual?

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Q. One of my employees has created his own web site and has been posting negative comments about our company. Specifically, he has accused the company of failing to provide adequate benefits and paying below-market wages. Can we fire this worker for this conduct?

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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. 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. 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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