The HR Specialist

Q. We run an amusement park. We have many jobs that can only be done by people of certain ages. For some jobs, employees must be at least 15, while others have minimum ages of 16, 18 and 21. What is the legal way for us to verify the age of an applicant on an employment application in Ohio? …

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Q. Can an employee who is receiving workers’ compensation wage continuation benefits be required to use sick, vacation and personal leave time to cover days missed due to the work-related injury? …

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Q. Can an employee be required to use FMLA leave if the required paperwork has not been completed by the employee or signed by the employee’s physician? …

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Employers frequently design performance improvement plans (PIPs) for underperforming employees. But the way managers choose which employees to place on PIPs can have serious consequences. Here’s how to make sure your PIP system is fair—and legal …

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We’ve all encountered the type: employees who are smart—and know it. They work hard and produce results. But they are so arrogant, so abrasive and so insistent that their way is the right way that they kill morale. You don’t have to keep them on just because they meet or even exceed business goals …

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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (the legal basis of many discrimination lawsuits) applies to anyone over whom an employer exercises control—that is, dictating the “manner and means” by which the individual performs the job. That means the law may cover even an otherwise independent contractor …

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As employers, we would like to think employees would be grateful for bonuses no matter the amount. But employees may perceive a smaller than expected bonus (or a bonus denied) as retaliation for engaging in protected activity …

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While employee handbooks are essential, be careful. If they are worded improperly, they can tie employers’ hands—and may even create employment contracts that remove the at-will status that allow employees to be terminated for any legal reason …

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Q. An employee just told me he wants to resign, but he asked to be fired instead of resigning. He said it had to do with unemployment benefits. What is the significance? …

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Q. Our handbook has a bold and conspicuous disclaimer stating that everyone is an at-will employee and that nothing in the handbook alters the at-will relationship. Is that sufficient to protect the company from claims based on the handbook? …

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