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Susan Lessack

Q. We’ve allowed employees to work from home on occasion and are considering making it an option for some positions. Does exempt/nonexempt status matter when it comes to employees working from home on a permanent basis?

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Q. When an employee fails to clock in or out properly, our payroll department withholds that day’s pay until the next pay period as a form of employee discipline. My understanding is that an employer can’t hold back portions of pay as punishment. Am I right?

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Q. We recently started to provide unpaid internship opportunities to local college students… The interns are not subject to the same process as other permanent or temporary employees in terms of background checks and workers’ compensation insurance. Now we’re looking at how best to structure this relationship to address issues such as what happens if an intern is hurt at a client facility. How should we approach this?

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Q. Many of our executives use their personal laptops for business purposes. We don’t have a policy governing this practice. We will be terminating our COO and want to know how we can legally go about transferring or deleting all work-related files from his personal computer.

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Q. We have an employee who recently started working a second job. We currently don’t have a rule against moonlighting, but now he frequently comes in late and tired. It’s really affecting his work. Are we legally entitled to ban second jobs?

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Q. Several employees have requested that we talk to another employee who, frankly, smells bad. I know she has medical problems. Can we ask her to do something about the odor or would that be discrimination based on disability?

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Q. To curb wasted time and keep workers on task, we are banning cellphones at work. Now one of our employees has told us that she has the Department of Labor’s wage-and-hour app on her iPhone. She says she uses it to track her hours worked, and that we are illegally preventing her from using it. Will our ban hold up legally?

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Q. Management wants to install “facial recognition” software that clocks in employees by electronically matching the employee’s face to a database. Leaving aside the Big Brother creepiness, are there any legal land mines we should consider before installing this type of technology?

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Q. One of our employees just took emergency custody of her grandchild after her son and daughter-in-law were arrested for child abuse. She now wants to take FMLA leave to get the child settled in and have family counseling. What kind of proof must we accept that she really has legal custody?

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Q. We are moving to another office and want to take this opportunity to purge outdated or unnecessary documents. How long do we have to keep our personnel files?

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