The HR Specialist

Q. If an employee resigns and gives two weeks’ notice, can the employer tell the worker that he or she is not needed for the two weeks and avoid paying the person for that time? …

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A trio of closely watched national salary surveys say that employers plan to dole out annual pay raises of about 3.8% in 2008. The biggest trend: Employers are devoting an increasing amount of their salary budgets to bonuses. Here’s how to keep your bonus programs fair and legal…

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You have the right to demand a drug-free workplace, but employees also have reasonable rights to privacy. That’s why drug testing and substance-abuse prevention programs carry big-time legal risks if they’re not managed properly. Employers can safely administer drug testing before hiring someone, during a fitness-for-duty test and after a preventable accident …

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Q. What is progressive discipline? …

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Q. What standards must Pennsylvania employers follow when drafting noncompete agreements? …

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Q. Who has the right to view personnel files? …

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Q. Can employers eavesdrop on their employees’ phone conversations at work, or listen to their voicemail messages in the company voicemail system? …

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Q. Do I have to pay my employees for travel time? …

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Only 23% of execs say HR plays a key role in shaping company strategy and affecting operating results, says a new Deloitte survey. The key for you: “Pick a project that impresses executives, impacts the bottom line and makes good use of your time,” says Dave Ulrich, co-founder of the RBL Group and a University of Michigan business professor …

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Suppose your organization decides to alter its retirement plan. You shoot out an e-mail about the change, but fail to secure written proof that employees have read and understand the modifications. Three months later, an employee retires based on promises made in the old retirement plan, resulting in lost pension dollars. He sues, saying he never got wind of the retirement-plan change. This true story occurs surprisingly often in U.S. workplaces …

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