Susan Lessack

Q. Are employers required to pay for overtime hours that result when an employee voluntarily switches shifts with a co-worker?

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Q. As a large retail business, we employ several demo reps who present products to shoppers in the hope they’ll buy them. Recently, we’ve had to put increasing pressure on our demo reps to increase sales up to 200%. If a demo rep doesn’t meet the new goal, can we terminate him or her? Do they have legal recourse should they be fired?

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Q. We are still getting requests from students to work for free. We know we have to pay them minimum wage, but do we have to do more? Do we have to pay benefits or give paid holidays?

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Q. I recently read about an employer laying off an entire division and then making those employees reapply for newly reconfigured jobs in that division. This sounds like a good way to get rid of deadweight and lower our payroll. Are there any legal problems with this? Will those who don’t reapply still be eligible for unemployment compensation?

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Q. Our company doesn’t want to consider applicants who send in unsolicited résumés. We are trying to come up with a legally sound definition for “applicant” so we can write an official policy. Any suggestions?

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Q. One of our employees has apparently taken in his sis­­ter’s young child because his sister is undergoing cancer treatment. He wants to take FMLA leave to help the child adjust. Must we provide the leave?

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Q. Can we legally prohibit female workers from breastfeeding at work?

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Q. Our employee manual doesn’t address compen­satory time off, but we have offered certain exempt managers an hour of comp time for every hour of overtime worked. Do we have to pay them for accrued comp time when we terminate them? In the past, we’ve paid comp time to some, but not to ­others. Can we negotiate our own terms with each employee?

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Q. Our employees work irregular schedules. They may work for two weeks and then be off for three. Can we pay them every two weeks based on their average yearly income and, if they work more, pay them at an hourly rate?

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Q. We are swamped with applications, most from people who don’t meet our basic requirements. We typically toss out applications that clearly aren’t from qualified applicants. Should we keep copies?

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