Susan Lessack

Q. We run FMLA and short-term disability (STD) concurrently. FMLA is for 12 weeks of job-protected leave. STD is for 26 weeks, with proper medical documentation. At what point can we terminate an employee?

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Q. One of our full-time employees took time off when her husband had a heart attack. We’re a small company with 30 employees. Management was very upset and wouldn’t let her take any paid time off and wouldn’t guarantee her position. She had accumulated several weeks of paid leave. Is it legal to keep her from taking paid time off to care for her husband?

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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. Is it legal to adopt a once-a-month payroll for hourly employees?

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Q. Can our company require an independent contractor to wear a specific uniform? And can we stipulate that the contractor buy the uniform through us?

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