The HR Specialist

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects members of the armed forces by allowing them to return to their jobs when their service ends. But USERRA has limits, applying only to service members who actually were employees when they went to serve …

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An employer often bends over backward when an employee says she’s been harassed. It feels compelled to treat the complaining employee with kid gloves to avoid possible retaliation charges. That may be a mistake, especially if the employee becomes disruptive and generally uncooperative …`

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Q. Is it legal in the state of Colorado for an employer to take away paid employee sick leave? If sick leave is a benefit, can the employer suddenly decide that it’s going to take it away, or does it have to pay you for the hours? Can the employer be required to freeze it for you to use if you need it? Can it be forced to pay accrued sick leave if you leave the company? …

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Q. If I work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., can my employer allow a 10-minute break in the morning, lunch at 11 a.m. and no break in the afternoon because I didn’t work four hours after lunch? …

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Q. Are employers required to pay employees their hourly wages when they are assigned to attend training classes? Our employees travel from Colorado Springs to Denver and are not paid or reimbursed for their travel time. They also are not paid during the two- or three-day training course. Employees travel to and from the training daily. If the employee does not stay with the company for one year and one day after completion of the training, the employee is required to reimburse the employer for the school. Are these practices legal? …

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Good news on the class action front. A federal court has refused to allow a lawsuit to go forward as a class action when it was clear that none of the employees named in the complaint had anything in common except that they worked for the same company …

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Q. Can an employer in Colorado fine an employee who quits without giving two weeks’ notice? …

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Lots of employees try to blame lost jobs or promotions on discrimination. To do so, they assign themselves into protected classes that may not seem at all obvious. For example, a black employee who obviously hasn’t been discriminated against because he is black may add national origin to the mix …

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The U.S. Labor Department has announced it plans to update FMLA regulations. The proposed regulations make it clear that employees will be able to settle past FMLA violation claims. Now a recent case spells out under what circumstances a release will be contractually and legally binding …

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Q. We usually don’t allow our employees to read or comment on their annual evaluations. Instead, we perform a performance review one-on-one and have them sign an acknowledgment that they have discussed their performance. Do we need to provide them with a copy of the evaluation? …

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