Category: HR Q&A

Q&A: An employee says that the stress of the job is affecting their mental health. How should we handle this?

This employee may just need to talk through their concerns and get your help prioritizing or delegating. They may, for example, feel like every single thing on their to-do list is life-or-death by Friday at close of business, when that’s not really the case. Some manager guidance can go a long way, especially for your […]

Q&A: Can we terminate an employee who is applying elsewhere?

Terminating employment because an employee is looking for work elsewhere isn’t expressly prohibited by law, but we wouldn’t recommend it. You might be surprised by how many of your employees are looking for other opportunities—either actively or passively—while still doing good work for your organization. If you start terminating everyone who is keeping an eye […]

Q&A: Can we ask employees for proof of COVID-19 Vaccination?

You can ask employees for proof that they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, but you need to be careful about how you ask for it and what you do with the information. You should ask employees to provide proof that only includes their name, the date of vaccine (and whether first or second dose, if applicable), […]

HR Federal Law Alert: American Rescue Plan Act Signed Into Law

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which is the latest bill to address the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19, has been signed into law. Most aspects of the law do not directly affect the HR function, but those that do—optional extension of sick and family leave and establishment of COBRA subsidies—are outlined below. OPTIONAL EXTENSION […]

HR Q&A: Are there new OSHA requirements regarding COVID-19?

Technically, no. OSHA’s new guidance is advisory in nature and creates no new legal obligations. However, one of President Biden’s first acts after being sworn in was to sign an Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety that directs OSHA to increase enforcement of existing agency standards and investigate whether a new standard for […]

HR Q&A: How do I determine whether a requested accommodation would be an undue hardship?

The basic definition of an undue hardship is an action that creates a significant difficulty or expense. There are no hard and fast rules governing what significant means, but the bar is intentionally set high in order to encourage employers to help those with disabilities fully engage in the workforce. The factors below are important […]

HR Q&A: Should we give an employee notice that their employment will end in two weeks?

Question: We are going to terminate an employee who has not been meeting expectations, even after several warnings. Could we give the employee notice that their employment will end in two weeks? That way they have a little time to search for a new job. I would not recommend giving notice ahead of an involuntary […]

HR Q&A: How should we handle returning personal belongings to a terminated employee? Can we pack them up for the employee?

You may pack personal belonging for the employee or ask that they come in and collect their items. My preference is to let the employee gather their things so that you avoid any disputes about missing personal items, but either way is fine. As long as the items are not harmed or discarded, you should […]

HR Q&A: An employee was coughing, what should we do?

Question:An employee of ours had a brief coughing fit today, but she says she just had something caught in her throat. As far as we’ve seen, she hasn’t experienced any symptoms associated with COVID-19 other than this one time. Do we need to send her home just in case? Answer:No. If you’ve confirmed that she […]

HR Q&A: Given the COVID-19 pandemic, should we cancel our annual holiday party?

We would certainly recommend not having an in-person event this year, which could put your company, employees, customers, and community at risk. If your event spreads the virus, your employees could become sick, much of your workforce may need to quarantine, and your event could make the news. We understand, however, that cancelling this event […]