Michael Fox

Q. We have been threatened with a race discrimination lawsuit. Frankly, we think we made a mistake. Can we settle the matter just between the employee and us?

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Q. What are the deadlines for paying employees who are terminated or resign from employment?

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Q. Can I make deductions from an employee’s final paycheck for outstanding expenses or company property that the employee still has in his or her possession?

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Q. I know employees can be required to waive their rights to sue to resolve employment-related disputes, either through a negotiated release or binding arbitration agreement. Can an employer also require employees to agree to waive their rights to file EEOC charges?

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Q. An employee who recently quit has not returned a company-owned laptop computer worth more than $1,000. Can we withhold the value of the computer from the employee’s last paycheck?

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Q. Someone from outside our company approached our HR vice president wishing to discuss a “personnel matter.” During the meeting, he presented the vice president with a set of union authorization cards signed by over half of the company’s employees. As the vice president flipped through the authorization cards, the individual stated that he is a union business agent and that his union represents a majority of an appropriate bargaining unit at the company. Are our employees entitled to an election to determine if they will be represented by the union?

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Q. How do bonuses affect the overtime rate calculation under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

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Q. If an employee is already on probation when she becomes pregnant, can we continue progressive discipline measures, including possible discharge?

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Q. For several years, Fridays have been “casual days” for our employees. Beer and wine are served beginning around 4:30 p.m. We hate to stop this practice because our employees seem to enjoy it and there has never been a problem. Should we stop?

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Q. I recently fired an employee for performance problems. At the end of the termination meeting, he asked for a copy of his personnel file. Do I have to give discharged employees copies of their personnel files?

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