The HR Specialist

Q. Can we require an employee to receive psychological counseling or treatment if his behavior has become a hindrance to his job performance? —N.M., Kansas

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Q. An ex-employee whom we fired is now asking to take some documents from his personnel file. Is he legally allowed to do this? Do we have to give him the information just because he’s asking for it? —L.B., North Carolina

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Q. We dock employees’ pay by 15 minutes if they don’t punch in or out on their timecards. If this happens more than twice over any 90-day period, we write up the employee. We’ve recently been told that we shouldn’t have such a policy. Is that correct? If so, how can we make sure employees punch in? —K.K., Michigan

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Q. We’re looking to switch an employee to a different shift, which will better serve the entire shift. Can we force an employee to change shifts even if he’s not interested? —K.C., New York

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Q. Our company employs fewer than 50 people, so we don’t have to comply with FMLA. Do we need to mention that fact in our employee handbook? —G.R., Michigan

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Q. One of our employees was hurt while driving in a company car on her morning commute to work. Would this be considered a workers’ compensation claim? —K.S., Michigan

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Q. A few of our employees have added their spouses to our health benefits plan. We’ve heard through the grapevine that some of these “couples” aren’t actually married. Can we check on this without being discriminatory? —L.C., Illinois

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Q. We may soon terminate an employee whose daughter also works here. We’re uncomfortable with her daughter remaining as an employee. Can we legally terminate the daughter, as well? —R.M., Missouri

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Q. We don’t ask applicants for their age or birth date on our application. But we plan to start conducting background checks on applicants whom we’re seriously considering. The company that will conduct the checks for us said the birth date is on all the applications they see and that it’s instrumental to conducting the checks. What should we do? —V.T., Wyoming

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Q. An employee took FMLA leave Sept. 1 due to job stress. In October, she had an operation for carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers’ comp ruled that her absence was work-related and it dated her workers’ comp claim back to Sept. 3. So, they’re now saying that her FMLA leave won’t start until she is officially released from workers’ comp. Do we need to keep a job open for her indefinitely? —F.W., Nevada

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