HR Law 101: If your organization becomes the target of a union-organizing effort, keep your head. Some activities can spell disaster. Both the NLRA and the Taft-Hartley Act prohibit employers from discriminating against employees for participating in union activities ...
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Discover how your colleagues – and competitors – are dealing with discrimination and harassment, employment law, benefits programs, and more.
Q. We had a full-time RN request time off to be with her husband who experienced a heart attack. We’re a small medical center with 25 employees. Administration was very upset and wouldn’t let her take any paid time off and wouldn’t guarantee her position. She had lots of sick time and vacation time in the bank. Can the company do that? —D.B., Pennsylvania
Q. Concerning writing reference letters, we have a few supervisors who think it's OK to write them only for “good” employees. But our policy says supervisors can't issue reference letters for any current or former employee. I'm having a hard time finding a reason that justifies our policy. Help! —P.T., South Dakota
Q. We classified our janitorial supervisor as an exempt employee. She meets some of the qualifications, such as hiring and firing janitorial staff. But when she's on site, she mainly performs janitorial duties. Is she classified correctly? —L.B., Texas
Q. Some of our employees have been getting a lot of spam e-mail that advertises porn sites. I'm concerned that an employee will consider this junk as creating a hostile work environment. What can we do to protect ourselves? —M.C., Minnesota
Q. A recent sexual harassment complaint reported the conduct of management employees at a private party. The party was outside the normal workday and wasn't sponsored by the company. What is the company's liability? —W.S., Wisconsin
Q. We have a written employment contract with a worker that includes her salary, but an additional sheet attached to that outlines the commission structure. If the employee resigns with a month's notice, what is our obligation to pay approximately $10,500 in earned commissions? —P. D., Pennsylvania
Q. A few of our employees have added their spouses to our health benefits plan. We've heard through the grapevine that some of these “couples” aren't actually married. Can we check on this without being discriminatory? —L.C., Illinois
Q. I constantly run into this problem: I pre-screen a candidate who seems like a perfect fit for the job description. But when I send the person to the hiring manager for an interview, I'm told to keep looking for someone better. This is frustrating to the managers, the applicants and me. Any suggestions on how I can improve my pre-screening? —P.B., New Jersey
Q. In recent months, a sharp decline in revenue has forced us to consider downsizing. What are the legal risks associated with a layoff and how can we minimize them? —L.C., Hawaii