The HR Specialist — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 323
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The HR Specialist

Q. Our HR department recently received an inquiry from another employer concerning one of our former employees who was applying for a job. The inquiry contained an authorization and release signed by the employee indicating we could share the information without liability. Should we share it? …

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Q. Due to the competitive nature of our business, our sales force signs restrictive covenant agreements that prohibit them from working for a competitor for a six- month period. We are about to lay off some of these employees for lack of business. Is the covenant enforceable? …

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Q. We are a private corporation. Recently, we discovered some theft in our operation. We called an employee in for an investigatory interview. He claimed to have consulted with an attorney and refused to answer our questions on the grounds that he could not be forced to incriminate himself under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. What are our choices under such circumstances?…

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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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