Andrew Volin — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Andrew Volin

Q. We just hired a salesperson from a competitor. We warned her not to take proprietary information from her former employer, but she says what is on her personal laptop is her information. Is there any risk for us from that laptop?

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Q. In our industry, there is a historical practice to pay field workers a daily wage, which compensates them for all hours worked. Now we understand that class actions are being used in the wage-and-hour area to fight such practices. Is this practice a good idea in light of class-action suits?

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Q. We just let go of a new hire after only three months on the job because her performance was not up to our standards. Do we have to provide two weeks’ notice or severance pay?

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Q. Several female employees have reported that a male supervisor with one of our clients sends them strange e-mails. They are vaguely sexual and implore our employees to quit and to join his employer. The women think the sender is weird and have told him to stop, but he continues to send them messages. Is this a problem for my business?

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Effective Jan. 1, 2009, employers with 15 or more employees have a new set of ADA rules to contend with. President Bush signed off on a law significantly amending the ADA in September, greatly changing how employers must handle disabled applicants and employees.

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Q. We recently prevailed before the CCRD, which conducted an extensive investigation into a charge of discrimination. Now our former employee has filed an agency appeal. What will happen next?

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Q. We are a large company and are dealing with a situation with a sick store manager. He has used up all his FMLA leave and is still not able to return to work. Can we safely terminate his employment now?

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Q. Can an employee waive coverage under workers’ comp laws? …

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Q. An employee complained that co-workers made fun of her at an after-work bowling event. She says they made fun of her accent (she is an immigrant) and talked about sexual acts involving her. She is embarrassed now and does not want to work with the people involved. Do I need to look into this, or should I refuse because the incidents took place away from work? …

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Q. I keep hearing about wage-and-hour class actions, where workers claim they were not paid properly because they were misclassified as exempt, not paid for all hours or not paid the correct overtime rate. What can I do to minimize this risk? …

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Q. I just learned from a reliable source that two employees are going to start a similar business. Apparently, they have submitted paperwork that is based on the forms I used to create my own business. Is this grounds for termination? …

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Q. A former employee is circulating a rumor that there has been some kind of fraud taking place at my business. What should I do? …

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Q. My company deducts 30 minutes from each day’s recorded time for employees’ meal periods. Is this proper? …

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Employment terminations fall into several categories. Whether the situation involves new hires who didn’t work out, firings for cause or performance issues, or voluntary resignations, terminations often lead to litigation. For each type of termination, there are some common ways employers can make sure they can defend themselves if challenged …

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November’s election has special implications for Colorado employers because a number of ballot issues involve employment law. The ballot features dueling initiatives: four measures brought by organized labor in response to three measures sponsored by business interests …

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Q. I need to lay off some staff. I was going to select some based on the fact that they were the most recently hired. I was also going to select others who were hired earlier, retaining some who were hired in between the two groups. Is that permitted? …

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Q. We have a policy that vacation pay is not paid at termination unless the employee attends an exit interview at which he signs a release of any claims he may have. Is this permitted? …

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Q. We have a problem with applicants who pass the pre-hiring process but then decide for some reason that they don’t want the job after all. They fail to show up their first day on the job. By that time, we have already spent time and money on drug tests and orientation, and turned down other promising applicants. Can we require applicants to submit fees to apply, which we will refund if we don’t hire them, or if they remain employed for a minimum period of time? …

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