Q. We require employees to wear uniforms. Can we deduct from their paychecks the money to pay for the uniform or clean it? —L.B., Massachusetts
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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. A long-standing employee recently took leave under the FMLA to give birth, but her twins have many medical complications. She exhausted her eligibility under our disability carrier and isn't eligible for long-term disability because she's not disabled. We want her back, but she can't commit to even 20 hours a week. What are our obligations under the FMLA, and would this individual be entitled to unemployment compensation if we terminate her? —G.B., New York
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. One of our employees has been out on disability leave for almost 16 months. He says he wants to return to work, but only if we give him a supervisory position without a lot of strenuous activity. We have no such position available. We've offered him other positions, but he's refused them all. Can we legally terminate him? —L.B., North Carolina
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
Q. I would like to fire an employee who is unpleasant to work with. We simply don't “click.” Do I have to have cause to terminate him? —A.C., Virginia
Q. We have a point system for absences and lateness. Our no-fault attendance policy states that if employees call off after the start of their shift, they’ll receive two points. What if the reason for the absence is covered by the FMLA? Should the employee still receive the two points? —C.S., Florida
If you think safety issues may be lurking in your workplace, don't wait until an accident or injury brings OSHA calling. Otherwise, the agency will surely do a top-to-bottom inspection and catch even minor problems. That can mean a hefty penalty, as one Georgia carpet manufacturer recently learned ...
You know the workplace should be free of racially or sexually charged comments and that supervisors most certainly shouldn't engage in such banter. But you can't wipe prejudice out of every employee's mind ...