Courts have consistently ruled that deaf employees are entitled to sign language interpreters during training sessions.... They may also need specialized equipment or software to perform their jobs. But do you need to provide an interpreter or specialized equipment during a disciplinary meeting? ...
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Q. Recently a nonexempt employee left from work to attend a two-day conference. She left at 2:30 p.m. and arrived at the location at 5:00 p.m. I interpret that we should pay for eight hours since her travel was from the work location and within normal work hours. The next day, she left the conference at 4:15 p.m. and arrived back in town at 7 p.m., but she didn’t stop at the office. Since travel time is outside of normal (8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) work hours, is she paid for travel time or just for work hours attending conference? —M.B., Georgia
Q. One of our employees was recently in jail for traffic and drug violations. Before he returns to work, what guidelines can we follow to ensure that he's drug-free? Will we be discriminating if we require a drug test before allowing him back on site, even though we didn't require this test when he was hired? —M.Z., Washington
Q. We have salaried, exempt employees who take increments of vacation time (anywhere from one hour to seven hours at a time) instead of one full day. Is this legal? Or should they take only full-day vacation? —C.D., New Jersey
Q. Is it legal to offer some employees, but not others, stipends to help with education, rent or lodging? —N.G., California
Q. Is it true that under a recently passed law, our company no longer can request copies of picture I.D. and Social Security cards? —A.G., Texas
Q. Do workers' compensation laws apply if an employee is injured while working in his own home and using his own equipment? —S.S., Maryland
Q. If an employee is out sick but has already used up her sick-leave hours, can we legally subtract from her vacation time instead? —K.P., Michigan
Q. We have a new administrative employee in our pediatric office who missed 22 days of work in her first nine weeks. She has doctor excuses for illnesses for most of the days, but my front office is in shambles. Can I put her on written warning for excessive absences? Can I terminate her? —C.F., Georgia
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 ...