Michael Fox — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 3
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Michael Fox

Q. One of our employees is complaining of “stress and anxiety.” Is that enough to put us on notice of a serious health condition under the FMLA?

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Q. We have several positions in our company that require financial discretion. May we perform background checks on applicants for these jobs?

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Q. Under Texas law, if I have an employee returning from maternity leave, do I have to give her the same job hours as before her leave? The reason for the reduction in hours is due to sales being down.

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Q. One of our employees gave us a two-week notice because he found another job. However, now the employee is unmotivated and not focused on his work. Can we let him go before the two-week period is up?

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Q. In the wake of United States v. Windsor, we have extended a number of our employee benefits to same-sex married couples. Can you provide any guidance on the proper treatment of flexible spending account (FSA) expenses and health savings account (HSA) and dependent care assistance program (DCAP) contribution limits for same-sex married couples?

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Q. I am thinking about hiring someone, but would first like to check his Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts to gain a more complete picture of the candidate. May I ask the applicant for log-in and password access to his accounts?

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Q. When our business gets busy, is it legal for us to require our nonexempt employees to work overtime on occasion?

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Q. Do we have any duties or obligations if we discharge employees who are in the United States on work visas?

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Q. Several of our employees will be required to travel to another state for a seminar. What’s the rule for compensating nonexempt employees who take overnight business trips?

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Q. Can we require our employees to give us notice of when they need FMLA leave? Can we require that notice in writing?

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Q. We are considering instituting a uniform policy at our workplace. We would like to require our employees to pay for their own uniforms. Is this legal? Could we also require employees to maintain their own uniforms?

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Q. An employee of ours accused a co-worker of threatening him with physical harm. When we confronted the accused employee, he attributed the behavior to his psychological disorder and to a recent change in his prescription. We would like to verify the em­­ployee’s claims. Are we permitted to ask the em­­ployee for medical certification of his disability and a doctor’s statement regarding his prescribed medications?

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Q. We send our hourly employees to training that is related to work but is not required for employees to do their jobs. The training is on a weekend, is voluntary, and no work is performed. Are we required to pay employees for the hours they spend attending the training?

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Q. A while ago two of our employees developed a romantic relationship. They are now expecting a baby and both put in a request for family leave to bond with their newborn. Are we required to give both workers leave for the birth of their child—even if they are not married?

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Q. After several large health insurance claims last year, our president decided to increase the premiums deducted from employees’ paychecks. However, the rate he has directed to be deducted is higher than the rate at which we are billed for the spouse and dependent coverage. Is it legal to make money off of the “premiums” we ask em­­ployees to pay?

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Q. Are we required to put up a new FMLA poster? Did the DOL recently make other FMLA changes we need to know about?

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Q. We recently started permitting two of our employees to telecommute on certain days of the week. We are concerned with tracking these employees’ hours. What are the wage-and-hour concerns we should be aware of for telecommuting employees?

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Q. When our employees come in to work, they spend part of their time getting their equipment running. Do we need to compensate them for that time?

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Q. We recently disciplined one of our employees for a handbook violation. She has since alleged that she was the victim of harassment. We are now facing a retaliation claim from this employee. How should we respond to such retaliation complaints?

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Q. We have heard that the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a timekeeping app that allows employees to track their time on smartphones. Should we permit employees to use this in our workplace?

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