The HR Specialist

If the ability to perform certain physical tasks is absolutely essential to one of the jobs in your workplace, tread carefully when it comes to medical evaluations. The ADA makes it illegal to “regard” persons as disabled …

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When the U.S. Senate failed to pass comprehensive immigration-reform legislation last month, the problem didn’t go away. Now states are stepping in to craft local solutions to problems related to undocumented immigrants. Employers are likely to bear the enforcement burden.

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If you think your workplace is drug-free, chances are you’re wrong. According to a new government survey, one of every 12 U.S. workers uses illegal drugs. That’s up from earlier surveys. Here’s more on the trend and what employers can do about it …

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Q. We have an employee who is out on an FMLA leave of absence. Our company provides health insurance for its employees and their families, and employees pay 20% of the premium. Our employee has not paid his share of the premium. Should we cancel his health insurance? We are very nervous about doing so because the employee has a very serious health condition. — J.B.

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Q. One of our shop employees was not wearing his safety glasses during a Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) inspection, for which the company was cited. Our company has a rule requiring employees to wear safety glasses in the plant. Were we wrongly cited? — T.B.

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Q. We have a poor-performing employee who is up for discharge. The union has requested that we give him one “last chance,” and has said that it will agree to a last-chance agreement if we don’t terminate his employment now. What is the impact of a last-chance agreement? — J.R.

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Q. We are reviewing our employment application, which includes a question about felony convictions. We have been told that we should not ask about an applicant’s arrest record. Can you explain what we can ask and what we cannot ask? We are a relatively small company, with fewer than 100 employees. — C.T.

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It pays to tread cautiously when dealing with employees who have publicly criticized their employers …

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If your organization has gone through a series of downsizings over the last few years, be sure to keep complete and accurate records …

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Disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations, including the elimination of nonessential functions. But what if an employee is functioning at a lower level than the job requires? …

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