Legal Clinic

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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?
Requesting Additional Leave
Question: We have an employee who has taken more than the allotted 12 weeks of leave under the FMLA, and is continuing to request additional leave as an accommodation under the ADA. How much leave time are we required to give employees under the ADA as a reasonable accommodation, and at what point will such leave constitute an undue hardship?
Telecommuting Policies When Inclement Weather Strikes
Question: With the winter refusing to release its icy grip, we have received numerous requests from employees asking to telecommute and work from home during inclement weather. What should we be mindful of when deciding whether to grant or deny these requests, and do you advise employers to maintain a telecommuting policy?
Drug Testing in the Workplace
Question: I suspect that one of my employees is taking drugs, but we don't have a drug-testing policy at our company. Can I have him drug tested?
Enforcing Separation Agreements
Question: My company recently underwent a reduction-in-force. As I was informing one of our employees that he was going to be let go, I handed him our standard separation agreement. He took a look at it and said to me "I'll sign it. This thing won't be enforceable anyway." Can my company continue giving terminated employees our standard severance agreement?
Marijuana at Work
Question: My company is located in New York, where a law permitting the use of medical marijuana was recently passed. I would like to know if this law, and similar laws passed in other states, protects employees from termination if they are found to be under the influence of marijuana while at work. In other words, how do the medical marijuana statutes impact an employer's right to enforce its Drug Free Workplace policy, and how do these laws affect an employee's right to reasonable accommodations under the ADA and similar state statutes?
Handling Holiday Parties
Question: As we embark on the holiday party season, I would like a refresher on what sorts of things I need to be aware of when my company hosts a holiday party. At last year's party, one of our supervisors had a little too much to drink and became a bit too "friendly" with his staff. No one came forward and complained, but this supervisor's conduct was the subject of some office gossip the next few weeks. I'd like to have a better understanding of the liability that a company could face because of actions taken at a holiday party, and I also would appreciate some tips on how best to prevent issues from arising at a party.
Avoiding Wrongful-Discharge Suits
Question: Can you give us some tips on how we can best avoid a wrongful-discharge claim or suit?
Defining What's 'Essential'
Question: Under the ADA, we always hear a lot about accommodating employees with disabilities as long as they can continue to perform the "essential" functions of the job. Can you please explain what legally constitutes an "essential" function of a job?
Asking Questions about Ebola
Question: We are all frightened by the recent Ebola crisis and would like some guidance on what HR can and cannot do to help address employee concerns and protect the workplace. Are we allowed to ask employees who come from the countries where there is an outbreak to get tested and confirm that they have not been exposed to the virus as a condition for them continuing to work with us?
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