The HR Specialist

Q. Our company recently has adopted an employee suggestion program with prizes for employees who make a suggestion that we adopt. I have been asked whether employees who turn in suggestions must be paid for the time they spend on developing their ideas if they work on them at home. Employees are not required to turn in suggestions, but we did make a big deal about the suggestion program with our employees …

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Q. I’ve read that 50 or more employees must be affected by a plant closing in order to trigger a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice requirement. We will be closing a plant, but it will take several months before all employees will be laid off. When are we required to give the notice? …

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Employers can’t discriminate against employees because of their honestly held religious beliefs. On the other hand, those religious beliefs don’t give employees the right to alter their jobs based on those beliefs. This is especially true for public employees who might expose their agencies to First Amendment establishment clause litigation …

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The best—quite possibly the only—protection employers have against losing a sexual harassment lawsuit is an effective sexual harassment policy. But a policy isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if employees don’t know about it or find it hard to use …

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Sometimes it becomes painfully obvious you’ve made a hiring mistake shortly after the new employee clocks in on day one. If, during initial training or on the first assignment, you know the employee will not meet your legitimate expectations—and you can substantiate your impression—it may be best to admit the mistake and discharge the new employee …

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You’ll never be able to completely eliminate romantic involvement between co-workers, but you can and should take steps to ensure peaceful coexistence in the workplace once a relationship ends. Just make sure you enforce the rules evenhandedly against both males and females …

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If you thought last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Ledbetter case made it clear that employees must file EEOC complaints within 300 days of suffering a discriminatory pay decision, think again. That deadline applies only to sex discrimination cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act …

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Your organization could be missing out on some top talent if you shrug off the new high-tech applications and résumé tools that could someday make paper résumés obsolete. Here are some of the more popular high-tech methods that candidates (especially young ones) are using to market themselves, plus some of the advantages and disadvantages of welcoming them …

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Employers can manage employees’ religious needs without simply exempting religious employees from weekend work. Here’s how: Simply design a system that rotates shifts so everyone gets a turn for weekend days off; then tell those seeking religious accommodations it’s up to them to arrange shift swaps …

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an important employment-law case, Huber v. Wal-Mart Stores, that will decided whether disabled employees who are returning to work are entitled to a preference for open positions.

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