Human Resources

From employment law to compensation and benefits, FMLA and hiring and firing and more, Business Management Daily provides comprehensive Human Resources updates.

Discover how your colleagues – and competitors – are dealing with discrimination and harassment, employment law, benefits programs, and more.

Q. We have an employee who submitted a dated, signed resignation letter but then changed her mind and wanted the letter back. She was not a good employee, but we let her rescind the letter because we thought we'd be on shaky legal ground. Could we have held her to it? —M.L., Ohio

Q. We have mechanics who work on a straight commission basis. Do we need to track their hours? —E.D., Nevada

Q. We own a chain of restaurants. It has been a challenge for us to complete all of the I-9 forms and keep up with reverification of expired work authorizations. Is it legal for us to hire a company to handle these tasks for us? —A.M., Tennessee

It's enough to give employers a case of whiplash. First, Pennsylvania courts said corporate employers couldn't hire nonlawyers to help them at unemployment compensations hearings. Then the legislature reversed course, passing a law that OK'd nonlawyer representation. That should have been the end of the issue, but not yet ...

Premiums are still increasing for HMOs and PPOs, but those increases are slowing down, says a new survey by health care consultant Milliman ...

Q. I’m confused about when we can require physical exams or treatment. We now make employees undergo a fitness-for-duty exam when we think there is a physical or psychological reason that impairs the employee’s ability to perform the job. We also use last-chance agreements requiring medical treatment for an employee to earn reinstatement after a discharge, such as for alcohol or drug abuse. Are we courting trouble? —D.J., Michigan

Q. Can our company require an independent contractor to wear a specific uniform? And can we stipulate that the contractor buy the uniform through us? —A.C., California

Q. Since Sept. 11 and due to the economic doldrums, some of our employees have not been the same emotionally. We’ve tried to be patient and understanding, but they seem to need something else. We’ve heard that some companies are contracting with corporate ministry services. Is this practice legal or advisable? —S.S., Virginia

Q. We terminated an employee after we caught him downloading software and movies onto his own CDs and DVDs. After he left, we found discs that contained copied movies in his desk. Now he's asking for his belongings back. Are we required to return the discs? —D.V.

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