Susan Lessack

Q. Our company allows employees to purchase products on an installment basis. When employees leave and haven’t repaid the full amount, can we deduct the remainder due from their last paycheck?

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Q. One of our salaried employees was picked for a grand jury. She’ll be away about one week per month. Do we have to pay her during jury duty? She will be checking in via BlackBerry daily.

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Today’s economic climate has caused employers to cut budgets and workforces—and expect workers to do more with less. As they see colleagues laid off and their employers cutting back, employees are more concerned than ever about their own job security. It makes sense for employers to address stress issues in their workforces, since increased stress affects not only employees, but employers’ bottom lines.

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Q. One of our employees has a sick parent who lives in another country. She wants FMLA leave to care for the parent. Is FMLA available under the circumstances? And how would I verify the authenticity of a foreign medical certification?

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Q. We have an hourly employee who consistently arrives late—about seven to 10 minutes each time. Can we cut her pay to the nearest quarter hour? We would, of course, pay her for staying later.

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Q. Is dyslexia considered a disability under the ADA? Can we legally screen potential employees for it through our pre-employment tests?

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Q. When an employee gives two weeks’ notice, we prefer to terminate immediately. Is there anything that prevents us from doing that? We are worried that employees who are leaving may tamper with our systems.

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Q. One of our employees is having cosmetic surgery and plans to take leave. Would that fall under the FMLA, or would it be a leave of absence?

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Q. We’re going back and forth on this question: On an employment application, can we legally ask about an applicant’s prior conviction record or arrest record?

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Q. Is it legal for us to strongly encourage our employees to have money withheld from their paychecks to support a charity drive, like the United Way?

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