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The HR Specialist

FMLA regulations provide employers with four options for calculating how much leave employees are entitled to at any given time. But if you don’t select a method and let employees know, the DOL says you must use the one most beneficial to the employee. That may mean doing four calculations every time an employee wants FMLA leave …

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Employees who have chronic medical conditions that require intermittent FMLA leave sometimes take advantage of alleged flare-ups to go on vacation or otherwise miss work for personal reasons. Discourage that kind of abuse by requiring them to call in daily. If the employee ignores the requirement, you can terminate her for failing to follow company policy …

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We have an employee who has worked for us for more than 12 months, but not 12 consecutive months (he left, and then we rehired him). Now this employee is requesting FMLA leave. Must the months of employment required to be eligible for FMLA leave be consecutive? …

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Q. We work in a very small industry, and employees tend to circulate among various employers in our greater metropolitan area. Many of us belong to the same trade and professional organizations and know each other. We would like to be able to provide each other with honest information in response to reference checks about an employee’s work history, but everyone is reluctant to do so because the general opinion seems to be that the safer course of action is to give only names and dates of employment. Can employers provide honest information about the reasons for employment terminations in response to reference requests? …

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It’s far too easy to lose control over your workforce. All you have to do is let employees dictate how supervisors measure their performance. Don’t let it happen to your organization. Instead, let employees know how you will judge how well they’re performing and then stick with those measures …

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Sometimes it’s hard to spot employment discrimination problems even when they’re right under your nose. Consider, for example, age discrimination. Audit your hiring and firing records for the past few years. If the people your organization has let go are older on average than those you have hired or retained, chances are there is an age discrimination claim lurking in your HR records …

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It’s legitimate to base hiring decisions on observations of how prospective employees will perform. Just be sure supervisors document any observations they make. If the person in question later sues you for some reason, you’ll be able to use those observations as legitimate justifications for your decision …

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Employers commonly give employees a chance to resign rather than be fired. And employers often believe that as long as they get employees’ signatures on the “voluntary” resignation letters, they’re in the clear. That’s simply not true …

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You know that employees who complain about harassment or discrimination shouldn’t suffer retaliation. But do you have a mechanism in place that prevents such retaliation? If not, it’s time to come up with one. Nipping retaliation in the bud is far cheaper than defending it in court …

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Generally, employees have the right to wear union insignia in the workplace. But in some limited circumstances in health care settings, employers can restrict that right if the restriction is “necessary to avoid disruption of health care operations or disturbance of patients” …

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