Susan Lessack

Q. An employee says our drug testing program violates his constitutional rights. What can I tell him to prove that we’re well within the law?

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Q. How should we compensate an hourly employee for an out-of-town, two-day (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) seminar? In particular, should we pay for the hours during the overnight hotel stay, since the employee must sleep there to be ready for the next day’s session?

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Q. We’ve reduced the salaries of our exempt employees and told them to work only 36 hours each week. Still, however, many of those employees continue to work 40 or more hours per week. Exempt employees feel uncomfortable documenting 36 hours, when, in actuality, they’ve worked many more hours than that. Should we ask exempt employees to document hours that are not necessarily true?

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Q. Can we require an employee who is out on FMLA leave to use accrued paid time off if he or she is receiving disability payments?

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Imagine this nightmare scenario: You’ve contracted with a vendor to enter personnel data into a new computer system, including employees’ Social Security numbers, addresses, names of dependents, health records and bank account routing numbers. Then the vendor notifies you that employee data was somehow stolen or lost. What do you do?

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Q. When an employee gets married, do we need a new W-4 to show her new name? What about a new I-9?

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Q. We suspected an employee was using drugs, so we sent him to be tested. We told him he couldn’t work until the test came back in two days. The results were negative. Do we owe him wages for those two days?

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Q. We have some employees who are earning the maximum salary for their job classifications. Can we cut their pay if we feel they’re overpaid?

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Q. One of our employees is out on workers’ comp. Our contract says “no sick time will be lost or deducted” while employees are out on workers’ comp. But now he wants to know if he continues to accrue sick time and holiday pay while not working. Does he?

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Q. We have an employee who is going on eight weeks’ leave for a qualifying serious health condition. She isn’t requesting to use FMLA leave because she has enough paid sick leave. Can employees choose not to use FMLA leave even though they qualify?

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