The HR Specialist

Q. How many hours must employees work to be considered full time? Part time? —D.S., Texas

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Q. Our business has 14 employees, and we pay 100 percent of their health insurance costs. One employee is out on workers’ comp. Are we required to continue paying his health insurance, or can we offer him COBRA? —P.F., Delaware

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Q. We’re being sued for discrimination. What circumstances would open us for punitive damages? —L.C., Massachusetts

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Q. We’re going back and forth on this question: On an employment application, can we legally ask about an applicant’s prior conviction record or arrest record? —T.F., Nevada

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Q. Is it legal for us to strongly encourage our employees to have money withheld from their paychecks to support a charity drive, like the United Way? —L.M., Texas

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Q. Currently, our company pays 70 percent of employees’ health insurance premiums. But we need to either decrease the percentage or possibly ask employees to pay the entire premium. How much notice must we give employees before making such a change? —D.O., Louisiana

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Q. At our university, the special-events supervisors must occasionally hire people. We currently don’t pay for their time involved in interviewing job candidates. I think we should pay them for that time, but I was told education institutions are exempt from pay laws. Is that true? —D.D., West Virginia

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Q. Our church day care center hired a woman who, we later found out, was living with a married man. Our director had “moral issues” with this situation and terminated her. I think the termination was illegal. Was it? —L.T., Florida

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Most employee lawsuits stem from employees’ perceptions that they got a raw deal. So before you discipline an employee in writing, ask yourself these questions …

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Q. Is it legal to require that employees on FMLA leave report to us regularly on their plans to return to work? —P.R., New York

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