Michael Fox

Q. I am the HR manager of a company with about 350 employees. I have just learned that the company is eliminating one product line and, as a result, there will be a layoff in that department. One of the employees who would be laid off is on FMLA leave. How do I handle this situation? …

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Q. How do we handle an employee who is on an indefinite leave of absence and does not know when he will be able to return to work?

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Q. One of our employees recently developed a condition that makes it difficult for her to perform the essential functions of her job. She has asked to be transferred to a job she can perform. Are we obligated to do this?

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Q. We are closing one facility and laying off a large number of workers. In lieu of immediate layoffs, however, we want to temporarily transfer some maintenance employees from another facility 800 miles away. They have agreed to perform this work, which will take about three months. Do we have to pay them for the time spent traveling to the new work location, which will occur over a weekend?

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Q. The Department of Labor’s form for the Employer’s Response to Employee Request for Family or Medical Leave (WH-381) inquires whether the worker is a “key employee.” How should I mark those boxes? I consider most of our workers to be key employees, and I do not want to offend anyone by suggesting that they are not.

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Q. I have an employee who is taking leave under the FMLA. The company is continuing to pay the same portion of her health insurance premiums that we paid while she was working. If the worker fails to return to work when her protected leave expires, may the company recover the premium payments made during her leave period?

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Q. We have an employee returning from a leave taken under the FMLA. His physician has issued a fitness-for-duty certificate. However, we question the worker’s ability to perform his old job because the length of his absence was too short for him to recover completely. Also, the fitness-for-duty certificate simply states that he is “able” to work, without addressing his specific job duties. Can we send him to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty examination?

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Q. I recently discovered that an employee who handles my company’s accounts receivable has filed for bankruptcy. Can I discharge this employee?

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Q. We have an employee on FMLA leave. Can we replace her and find a different job for her when she returns?

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Q. Is it becoming a practice among employers to quit conducting employee evaluations?

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