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Susan Lessack

Q. We try to be a flexible workplace and sometimes get requests from employees to work from home for a day or two during school breaks and so on. I don’t have a problem with this for exempt employees, but what about hourly ones? How do we track that time?

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Q. The FLSA requires that we pay the full salary for any week in which the exempt employee performs any work. We have a sick leave plan for all employees included in our paid time off—or PTO—plan. If an exempt employee calls off sick, we dock her PTO available, which includes sick or vacation. In other words, our PTO isn’t split into sick and vacation pay. Can we dock this bank until it’s gone before we pay her for nonwork days?

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The ADA only covers mental health conditions if they constitute disabilities, meaning they substantially limit a major life activity.

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The bill that prohibits employers from asking about a prospective employee’s wage and fringe benefits history is expected to become law, effective sometime in mid-2017.

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Q. Our maternity leave policy offers paid leave for female employees who plan to return to work after the birth of the child. If the employee quits before returning to work, she’s required to reimburse the company for the paid leave. Is this lawful?

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Q. Our company’s vacation policy says that terminated employees are not paid for vacation days that they accrued during their employment. Is that legal?

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Q. Our Pennsylvania company wants to begin screening applicants for illegal drugs. Can we make job offers conditional on the results of a drug test?

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Q. We give employees the choice of using two 10-minute breaks each day or combining them into one 20-minute lunch break. The employees are required to punch out and in for these breaks. Now, we have a policy that docks employees 15 minutes’ pay if they’re four or more minutes late returning from a break. Is this legal?

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A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management reported a sharp uptick in political volatility in their workplaces this year.

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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?

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