The HR Specialist

Sometimes, employees who finally come forward and allege they worked in hostile work environments will reach back years—even decades—to catalog the harassment they claim they experienced. The sheer weight of the list may unfairly sway juries. But fortunately for Michigan employers, there is no continuing-violation claim available under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act …

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Q. I have an employee who is scheduled for surgery and will be going on FMLA leave. What forms will I need? There is a possibility that he will not return after the 12 weeks. How long will we be required to hold his position for him? …

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Q. If a salaried employee has used up all vacation and sick time, yet wants to take more vacation or calls in sick, can we make deductions from his pay? If not, what can we do? We don’t want the employees getting out of hand …

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Q. We told an employee we probably would be replacing him within the next month. He quit and filed for unemployment. Under what circumstances do we have to pay unemployment? …

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Timing is everything, especially when it comes to retaliation. That’s why it’s crucial for supervisors and managers to understand: Once an employee has filed a complaint, don’t suddenly start enforcing rules you let slide before. If you do, the likely result will be a retaliation lawsuit …

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Here’s another reason to tell managers and supervisors that any and all sexual harassment must stop: Even if it has been years since an egregious act of sexual harassment, recent subtler incidents can revive the claim. That’s why it is important to stop harassment in its tracks—and then monitor the situation. You can do that by checking back with the accuser on a regular basis …

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Q. We’re a small company with about 45 employees, but we have another 20 employees who are temporary. Do we have to count the temps when complying with the EEO or other employment laws? …

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Q. We have several supervisors who insist on keeping their own private files on employees in their departments, especially to record absences and comp days. Is this legal? …

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Q. We have a number of employees who are paid on a commission basis. Are they exempt from overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act? …

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Q. We have an exempt employee who is consistently late a few times a week, arriving anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours late. Can we discipline him for being consistently late? In addition, can we require him to work at set times—for example from 9 am to 5 pm? …

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