Susan Lessack

Q. The animal care officers who work for us spend 80% of their time driving and responding to rescue calls via cellphone. Requiring them to pull off the road while talking on their phones wouldn’t work. Is there another way to limit our liability?

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Q. We plan on hiring a college intern later this year. Will we have to pay him or her?

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Q. I recently found out that one of our designers has been freelancing on the side. It doesn’t seem to be interfering with her work, but is there anything we can do legally to protect the interest of the company?

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Q. Can we suggest psychiatric help for an employee we suspect may be having trouble with substance abuse? And can we require a random drug test?

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Election season often increases the volume and vociferousness of political conversations. Widening ideological gulfs, dissected and fueled by pundits, have made politics seem like a contact sport more than ever. While some political activities can be prohibited in the workplace, some actions are protected.

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Q. Is it true that according to federal law, employees must be paid within two weeks of completing their work, no matter the excuse (computer glitch, etc.)?

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Q. We need to cut costs, and have started to explore trimming our staff, starting with those who earn far more than other employees. Are there any dangers in doing so? Can we legally fire a high-earner because of his salary?

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Q. An employee frequently comes in late or is absent because of car troubles. Is this a justifiable reason for termination? To avoid this issue in the future, can we ask applicants if they have a reliable means of transportation to get to work?

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Q. Many of our part-time warehouse employees have recently been putting in well over 40 hours per week. Do we have an obligation to change their status to full time?

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Q. One of our managers has medical problems and has used a significant amount of paid sick leave. Because we don’t have a defined sick pay policy, this manager uses paid sick time whenever she’s out (full day or half day). How can we legally cap this? Is developing a policy with specific hours our only alternative?

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