The HR Specialist

Perhaps no other aspect of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is more confusing than the so-called “donning and doffing” provisions. Exactly what preliminary preparation before work and cleanup after work should be included in paid time? Fortunately, a recent case helps clarify that employers don’t need to pay workers for many preliminary and post-work activities …

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California law and the ADA protect just about anyone who “associates” with a disabled person from discrimination. It doesn’t have to be a child, spouse or blood relative. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Act both protect those who count disabled persons as friends …

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Many government employers ask applicants to submit to drug testing before beginning work. A recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling may make employers rethink that strategy and prepare to clearly articulate a business-related reason for drug tests. A blanket testing policy may spell trouble …

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Have you taken a good look at who fills supervisory roles at your workplace? If not, you should. Having very few female supervisors may spell trouble. Having none is like carrying a sign that reads, “Sue me now!” Employees suing for sex discrimination could point to the lack of female supervisors as evidence supporting their claims …

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UPS requires all its drivers to hold U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) commercial driver’s licenses to operate trucks weighing more than 10,001 pounds, even if they regularly drive only smaller trucks. Drivers diagnosed with epilepsy can’t qualify for the national licenses. That became a problem when UPS driver Paul Warren developed epilepsy …

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Kyaw Nyunt, a U.S. citizen of Burmese origin, worked for the government agency that broadcasts Voice of America radio programming. After the agency failed to promote Nyunt several times, he filed a complaint alleging age and national origin discrimination. Then he filed a federal lawsuit alleging age, national origin and race discrimination …

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Q. We have received garnishment orders for several employees. This could pose an administrative burden on our small HR department. What can we do to reduce this burden? …

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Q. Our company is considering hiring student interns this summer. Are we required to pay them under California law? …

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Q. Our existing employee handbook includes a probationary period for newly hired employees. In revising the handbook, should we consider omitting this provision due to the possibility that we could be altering the at-will employment relationship? …

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Do you require some employees to live on the premises so they can be on call to provide emergency or other services? If so, you can structure the compensation system to pay only for actual time worked. You don’t have to compensate them for the time spent waiting to deal with some work-related matter …

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