Is an employee’s on-call time compensable?

February 13, 2014
Q. An employee carries a company-issued smartphone so he can respond to emergencies over the weekend. He can usually resolve an issue with a phone call. How should we pay him—for the time he’s responding to an emergency or for all the time he has the phone?
Read the full article →

Worker uses own phone for work: Reimburse him?

February 13, 2014
Q. If an employee uses his own smartphone to access company emails or conduct company work from home (on his own initiative—we don’t require it), must we pay part of the employee’s personal phone bill?
Read the full article →

Employers dropping internships to avoid liability

February 13, 2014
Fallout from the landmark “Black Swan” court ruling in 2012 is being felt in workplaces across the country. More employers are dropping their internship programs after a federal court said Fox Searchlight must pay its unpaid interns at least minimum wage.
Read the full article →

OK to ask worker to cancel doc appointment; that isn’t the same as denying FMLA leave

February 13, 2014

Employees are entitled to FMLA leave for a serious health condition. Taking time off for medical appointments is a legitimate use of FMLA leave if the treatment is related to a serious health condition. But that doesn’t mean that employees can schedule those appointments whenever they want.

Read the full article →

Testifying for fellow employee in race case provides retaliation protection

February 13, 2014
Employees who testify in an internal investigation, an agency investigation or in court are protected from retaliation whether or not they belong to the same protected classification as the employee whose case their testimony supports.
Read the full article →

Employee is disorganized, prone to mistakes? That doesn’t mean she’s disabled

January 14, 2014
Some employees can’t seem to get it together and do their jobs properly. While an underlying medical or psychological problem may be the cause, don’t assume that’s the case if the employee hasn’t asked for help or a reasonable accommodation. It’s up to her to raise the possibility.
Read the full article →

Is there such a thing as ‘constructive demotion’?

January 14, 2014
Q. Do employees who feel compelled to ask for a lower position rather than quit have a legal leg to stand on in court?  — Paul, Ohio
Read the full article →

Worker smells of alcohol: Can we say anything?

January 14, 2014
Q. There have been a few reports from co-workers about an employee smelling of alcohol. Can we ask him if he has been drinking on duty? — D.L.A., Minnesota
Read the full article →

Want to retain employee threatening to quit? Think twice before over-promising

January 14, 2014
Here’s a warning that may save you time and trouble: If you want to keep an employee who has another job offer, be careful what you promise. It may be enforceable if the employee relies on the promise. At the very least, track your efforts to deliver.
Read the full article →

ADA: Drug and Alcohol Addiction

January 10, 2014

HR Law 101: The ADA requires employers to walk a fine line between enforcing reasonable workplace safety and behavioral rules and making accommodations for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. The law doesn’t protect current users of illegal (i.e., “street”) drugs, but it does protect alcoholics and those who’ve shaken their drug addiction sufficiently to no longer be classified as active illegal users …

Read the full article →