Q. We fired an employee based on an eyewitness account of theft. We documented that report and put it in the ex-employee's personnel file. That person has now hired an attorney and asked to see the file. We feel that we have no obligation to respond. Do we have to turn it over without a subpoena? —E. I.
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A top-performing employee is diagnosed with depression and now says her medication makes it impossible for her to make it to work on time. Must an employer change her work schedule? A job applicant volunteers that he is intellectually disabled but says he can perform his job with a job coach. Is that a reasonable accommodation? Are you prepared to answer those questions ... and more?
Employee benefits are, in many cases, a lot like other pieces of an organization's culture: They're there because, well, they've always been there. But in these days of constantly rising health insurance costs, employers can't afford to keep providing benefits just because that's the way they've done things in the past, said Gary Kushner, president of Kushner & Co. benefits consulting firm ...
Q. In a previous issue you said employers “must keep certain records separate from personnel files.” What, specifically, does “separate” mean—in separate drawers of the same file cabinet? In separate offices? How far apart do they need to be? —T.S., Illinois
Q. I've just joined a new company, and our HR people give out employees' information (wage data, demographic info, etc.) to anyone who calls to request it. Is that right? —P.L., Virginia
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
If an employee is suffering from performance problems and wants a transfer to another supervisor or position, be careful which details in the person’s history you share with the new manager. That’s especially true if the employee has a history of filing legal complaints ...
Don't open an employee's' personal mail If you know that a letter or package sent to that person at work is personal (not business related). A recent court ruling shows that you may be opening up a legal mess along with the letter ...
Q. I have a question about the partial-day deduction rule. I don’t understand how we can deduct from salaried employees’ paid-leave bank when they are gone for an hour or two during the day since we don’t pay them anything extra when they work 50 hours in a week. For example, if an employee works 10-hour days on a regular basis, is it OK to charge her vacation time when she leaves an hour or two early? —J.H., Minnesota
Q. What should we keep in personnel files? —G.T., Missouri