Q. Our drug and alcohol policy states: “While on company premises and while conducting business for the company off premises, no employee may use, possess, distribute, sell or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.” It's very clear how this applies at the work site. But some of our staff asked if this also applies to them when they travel or attend out-of-town seminars at hotels. Does our policy still hold up in this situation? —V.S., New Mexico
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Q. Our company has been unable to secure financing and will run out of cash in the next four to six months. We may have to shut down and lay off all 200 workers. At what point do we have to notify employees of the possible closing? —R.Y., Maryland
Q. Our company wants to begin screening applicants for illegal drugs. Can we make job offers conditional on the results of a drug test? —K.P., Louisiana
Q. Our company merged with another company. Are we required to complete a new I-9 form for each employee who worked for the other company, or are these employees "grandfathered" in? —J.M.
Executives from Michigan’s Big Three automakers met with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary Michael Leavitt in late January to sign HHS’s Value-Driven Health Care Initiative ...
When employees complain that they should be earning overtime, it’s smart to settle up quickly if it’s clear that they’re right. Reason: When you fail to properly pay overtime, the Fair Labor Standards Act allows employees to collect twice what they should have earned ...
Q. Are there any specific rules defining “early out” retirement packages offered to employees? Our company is planning to offer early outs. Our criteria mandate that an employee must have worked 15 years and be at least 50 years old. But we have employees who have worked as long as 28 years, but fail to meet the 50-year-old criterion. Is this age discrimination in a reverse sort of way? —T.G., Florida
Q. One of our managers has medical problems (she qualifies for the ADA and is in an age-protected class) and has used a significant amount of sick pay. Because we don't have a defined sick pay policy, this manager is paid sick time whenever she's out (full day or half day). How can we legally cap this? Is the development of a policy with specific hours our only alternative? —F.E., Georgia
Q. In a previous issue of HR Specialist, you said that employers can’t force employees to visit a psychologist. Our Internet policy says that if we find employees accessing pornographic Web sites, they’ll receive a three-day suspension without pay and a mandatory referral to an EAP counselor. Can we require this? —A.C., Maryland
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