The HR Specialist

Q. What are the requirements for eliminating welding fumes? According to recent air contaminant testing, our employees are exposed to fumes that exceed the permissible limit. Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) has not inspected us. Are we required to notify MIOSHA or the federal OSHA of the test results? Are we required to notify anyone else? …

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Q. We have a three-shift operation, and all employees are required to rotate and work on each shift. We are reviewing an employee’s request to be excused from moving from the day shift to the afternoon shift. The employee’s doctor says that his patient should not work the afternoon and midnight shifts for medical reasons, which we believe are valid. Are we required to honor this request? …

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Q. We are a hospital and we give employee “bonus” hours if they agree to work weekends and at other times that are difficult to staff. An employee has requested FMLA leave to care for a family member. Our employee has actually worked less than the FMLA-required 1,250 hours in the year, but because of the bonus hours, she has been paid as if she worked more than 1,250 hours. Does she qualify? …

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Do you have special incentive programs to make weekend work attractive to employees? If your program pays workers “credit hours” for time not actually worked, you don’t have to include those hours toward FMLA eligibility …

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Think twice if your company relies on informal in-house recommendations to fill open positions. The courts look suspiciously on such “networking” promotions and land hard on employers that don’t post job openings …

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The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled applicants and employees. And those accommodations must be based on an agreement between the disabled individual and the employer, using an “interactive process” …

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Ever since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2005, older workers and applicants have been able to prevail in age discrimination suits if they can show that an employer’s policy or hiring standard has a so-called “disparate impact” on those over 40 years old …

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Employers can fire at-will employees for any legal reason—or for no reason at all. Employees who work under a contract, on the other hand, have more rights. Don’t let a flawed employee handbook weaken your hand …

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Don’t keep it a secret if your organization does good for the community and the environment. Let employees and job applicants know about your corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts …

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If you’re the do-it-all leader of a one-person HR department, you’ve become the consummate HR generalist. But now you want to direct your career path toward a larger organization …

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