Legal Clinic

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The Liability Issues of Joint Employment
Question: If I employ someone jointly with another employer, can I be liable for the other employer's discriminatory acts towards that employee?
Of Disabilities and 'Significant Threats'
Question: In HR, we often become aware of disabilities affecting our employees. If it is determined that an employee's disability poses a significant threat to others, can we terminate that employee?
Free Speech or Punishable Offense?
Question: Our company was just posted about by a disgruntled employee on a website that is geared toward publicizing and embarrassing employers. The posting says some very unnecessarily nasty and hurtful personal things about some of our supervisors, and we are considering reprimanding the poster but do not want to run afoul of any laws. Can we reprimand the poster, or would his posting be considered freedom of speech?
Checking on Credit Checks
Question: I am an employer located in New York City, and I've heard that there are some recent developments in the use of credit checks by employers. My company's policy is to run credit checks as part of the background-check process on all applicants who receive a conditional offer of employment. Can we continue to run these credit checks without any restrictions?
Dealing with Third-Party Subpoenas
Question: I am the HR manager of a small company, and we have just received a third-party subpoena requesting documents related to one of our former employees. Can you please provide some guidance on what a third-party subpoena is exactly, what we need to do, and whether there are any issues we should be aware of in responding?
On Minimum Wage and Tips
Question: I run two small but successful restaurants. While business has been good, costs are high, so margins are always tight. We are always looking for ways to lower our expenses. We pay the hourly staff minimum wage, but they often make much more than that after tips. May we change our hourly rate to below minimum wage since the tips often bring them over that threshold?
OK to Reduce Benefits to Cut Costs?
Question: Given the ever-increasing costs of employee benefits, our senior executives have asked whether we can reduce employee benefits as a cost-cutting measure. Can an employer take steps to reduce employee benefits in order to cut costs?
Terminating an Employee on FMLA Leave
Question: My organization would like to terminate an employee who is currently on FMLA leave, for reasons unrelated to the leave. Can we properly lay off this employee?
On Paycheck Distribution
Question: I own several restaurants and I do not have a way to safely and efficiently distribute paychecks. Aside from distributing paychecks to employees at the workplace, what alternatives are available to employers to securely pay their employees, and what do I need to do to comply with federal and state laws?
Addressing Workplace Dress and Appearance
Question: My organization would like to implement a companywide dress code for all employees. What are some of the key issues that I should consider when putting together a dress policy?
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