Category: HR Q&A

Q&A: Can we ask references about an applicant’s previous use of sick time? We’d like to get a sense of their reliability.

Q&A: Can we ask references about an applicant’s previous use of sick time? We’d like to get a sense of their reliability.

No, you shouldn’t make any inquiries into an applicant’s history of calling in sick. Asking about absences because of illness or injury before extending an offer of employment runs afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it’s likely to elicit information about an applicant’s disability. Sick leave laws may also come into play. If […]

Q&A: An employee emailed us saying that if we didn’t give them a raise, the email would serve as a resignation notice. What do we need to do to accept this resignation?

Q&A: An employee emailed us saying that if we didn’t give them a raise, the email would serve as a resignation notice. What do we need to do to accept this resignation?

We recommend you reach out to the employee to inform them of your decision not to provide them with a raise. In this communication, you can note that you’re accepting their resignation per their email and ask them when their last day will be. If the employee doesn’t provide you with a final date of […]

Q&A: Can we discipline an employee for working for another employer during FMLA?

Q&A: Can we discipline an employee for working for another employer during FMLA?

Yes, in two circumstances. First, you can discipline the employee if their other job violates your outside employment (aka moonlighting) policy. Second, you can discipline an employee who obtained FMLA leave fraudulently. If, however, you do not have a policy that specifically prohibits employees from working for other employers or if the employee’s work for […]

Q&A: I know that most of the federal employment discrimination laws kick in when an employer reaches a certain number of employees. How do we count that number?

Q&A: I know that most of the federal employment discrimination laws kick in when an employer reaches a certain number of employees. How do we count that number?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you should count every employee who has worked for your organization during at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or previous year. Those 20 weeks don’t have to be consecutive, and the individual could have worked full time or part time. This methodology can be applied […]

Q&A: What should we do if a candidate asks us not to contact their current employer?

Q&A: What should we do if a candidate asks us not to contact their current employer?

It’s ultimately up to you, but we’d generally recommend that you honor the request. The candidate may have a good reason for asking you not to contact their current employer. They may fear retaliation if their manager gets wind of their interest in leaving, or they may have a toxic boss who wouldn’t give an […]

Q&A: Do we need to offer summer interns group health insurance?

Q&A: Do we need to offer summer interns group health insurance?

Whether you need to offer benefits depends on your health plan eligibility terms. However, offering benefits to interns can enhance your employment brand and reputation in college placement offices and within the labor marketplace overall. Summer interns by nature are “temporary” employees as their duration of employment is expected to last not more than the […]

Q&A: Can we tell employees not to talk about their pay with each other?

Q&A: Can we tell employees not to talk about their pay with each other?

Generally not. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) grants all non-supervisory employees (not just those in unions) the right to organize and engage in “concerted activity” for the purpose of mutual aid or protection. Concerted means “in concert,” meaning more than one employee is involved. Activities for mutual aid and protection could include discussions about […]

Q&A: Can we require employees to do extra work outside their scheduled hours? 

Q&A: Can we require employees to do extra work outside their scheduled hours? 

Yes, but you have to pay for it. As an employer, you have control over schedules and can modify them as needed. That may mean scheduling additional work time for employees. A few things to note: For nonexempt employees, any extra work time must be compensated at or above minimum wage, and any overtime worked […]

Q&A: How do we handle leave paperwork when the employee needing leave is incapacitated or unable to be reached directly?

Q&A: How do we handle leave paperwork when the employee needing leave is incapacitated or unable to be reached directly?

In the event you’re made aware that an employee needs medical leave, but the employee is not available for direct contact due to inpatient care in a facility or incapacitation, send the applicable leave paperwork to the employee’s address on file. The employee may have someone who can get the paperwork from their home address […]

Q&A: Can a part-time employee be exempt?

Q&A: Can a part-time employee be exempt?

Yes, a part-time employee may be classified as exempt. The minimum salary and duties requirements must still be met, of course. And the minimum salary cannot be prorated when an exempt employee works part-time. In other words, the federal requirement to pay $684 per week (or the higher state minimum salary) will apply even if […]