By Keisha-Ann G. Gray
More Legal Clinic:
A 'Very Uncomfortable' Request for FMLA Leave
We have a very uncomfortable situation at work. One of our employees has asked for FMLA paternity leave to take care of a newborn child whom he claims is his. The problem is, this employee did not give us any prior notice of the birth, and his wife (whom he lives with) is not the mother of this child. He has apparently fathered this child with one of the women whom he has been having an affair with. Can we ask this employee to provide us proof that he is, in fact, the father of this child as a requirement for granting him FMLA leave?More
FMLA and In Loco Parentis
Question: One of our employees has requested FMLA leave to care for a child with a serious health condition that he is not the biological father of, but whom he has taken an active role in raising. All other requirements for eligibility for FMLA leave have been met but because this employee is not the child's biological parent and there is no legal parent-child relationship between him and the child (he has not legally adopted the child, though he has been raising him) we are uncertain whether the law requires us to grant him the requested FMLA leave. Does it?More
Auditing the HR Department
Question: The CEO of my company has asked that I perform an audit of our HR department. I haven't done one before. Can you explain the process and provide some ideas of what specifically to look for. Also, are there any drawbacks we might face to doing an audit?More
A Checklist for Terminations
Question: Can you provide us with a termination checklist or cheat sheet? As HR professionals, we often have the difficult duty of handling terminations. Can you give us a list of things we need to do and/or prepare (a) before the employee's last date of employment, (b) on the employee's last date of employment and (c) after the last date of employment so that the process takes place smoothly and we reduce litigation risk?More
Best Practices for Dealing with Workplace Violence
Question: Workplace violence is becoming a disturbing fact of life these days. Can you suggest some pre-emptive steps that HR professionals and employers can take to (a) best reduce the threat and (b) respond to it if and when it occurs so that we protect our employees and the company?More
Are Written Job Descriptions A Requirement?
Our company does not provide written job descriptions for employees. Should we have them? If so, what topics should be included in a job description?More
Jury Duty and the Employer's Obligation
Are employers required to pay employees who are out on jury duty? If so, do they have to pay employees a full day's salary while on jury duty? Can employers require them to return to work if they get out of jury duty early for the day?More
FMLA Obligations to Independent Contractors
Are companies required to save an independent contractor's job after he or she returns to work after addressing a medical condition?More
Working Through a Natural Disaster
Are employers required to remain closed in areas where the government has declared a state of emergency during a natural disaster?More
Can We Require Our Workers to Speak English?
Can an employer require its employees to speak only English while at work? One company recently enacted an English-only rule and several employees have already complained.More
Is It Legal to Ask for Only Male Applicants?
Our company is comprised of predominantly female employees and we want to increase the number of male workers on our staff. Would we run into any legal issues if we placed an advertisement for our vacant positions and requested that only male applicants apply?More
Recording Conversations with the C-Suite
We have just learned that some employees have been secretly tape recording conversations they have with management. Is there something we can do to prohibit this?More
Requirements for Religious Holidays
By Keisha-Ann G. Gray
With a lot of religious holidays coming up, are employers required to give employees days off for their religious holidays? If so, do they have to give them paid time off?
The Difficulties of Discussing Hygiene
How do you best handle an employee who comes to work with offensive body odor? My HR department has been receiving complaints about this employee and I believe we will need to speak with her. More
Requesting a Criminal-Background Check
In what stage of the hiring process can employers request an applicant to submit to a criminal-background check? Can they ask for it early on in the interview (to see how he or she reacts) or do they have to wait until they give the applicant an actual offer? More
HR Legal Terms Explained
A helpful glossary of legal terms explained, from cat's paws to the difference between disparate impact and disparate treatment.More
Companies That Sue for Defamation
Companies -- not just people -- are capable of being defamed, which means they can file defamation suits against ex-employees who make disparaging public statements against their former employer.
Disclosing Medical Information on Reference Calls
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer's ability to legally disclose medical information on a reference call turns on whether the medical information was obtained by the employer because the employee voluntarily disclosed the information to his employer, or whether the medical information was obtained by the employer through a medical inquiry that the employer made to the employee.More