Legal Issues

Unclear rules could warrant unemployment benefits

November 19, 2013
Someone who is fired for breaking a workplace rule isn’t entitled to unemployment benefits. That’s because rule-breaking is misconduct. But if the rule is unclear, all bets are off.

Must we interview men for our receptionist job?

November 19, 2013
Q. We advertised for a front-desk receptionist opening and got 44 applications. Three were from men, all qualified. We’ve always had a female in that job and would like to keep it that way. We plan to interview five finalists. Must we include one of the men to avoid sex discrimination charges?

Sexually hostile environment: 4 red flags

October 30, 2013
Tangible signs of a potentially hostile environment may be only the tip of the sexual harassment iceberg. Here are four red-flag areas you should monitor:

When Is an Intern Not an Intern?

October 1, 2013

Lately, the news has been full of stories about successful lawsuits by unpaid interns whose main job was to get coffee and be messengers. But before you cancel plans to hire an unpaid intern, know it is possible to design a program that complies with current laws and benefits those on both sides of the desk.


FMLA: What if worker won’t return to old job?

July 17, 2013
Employees who take protected FMLA leave are supposed to return to the same or an equivalent position in terms of pay, duties and benefits. But what if the employee doesn’t want the same job for some reason? Must you create a new job for her? No.

How risky is it to fire a pregnant employee having attendance problems?

June 20, 2013
Q. An employee has been with us for less than a year, so she isn’t yet eligible for FMLA leave. Last month she missed five days because her child had a high fever. She used available PTO for the time off. Last week, she was no-call/no-show for three days. She told the supervisor she had been hospitalized because of pregnancy complications and didn’t have access to a phone and was sedated. She provided a doctor’s note that released her to return to work, but stated that she may need to be put on bed rest. The supervisor would like to terminate her because we can’t afford to continue employing someone so unreliable. Can we do this?

Hiring People with Disabilities

March 1, 2013
Are you looking for a new source of talent? By recruiting and accommodating disabled individuals, you gain a diverse workforce and an infusion of enthusiastic new employees with abilities waiting to  be tapped. 

Deciding not to hire, note specific reasons why

January 11, 2013
You never know which unsuccessful job applicant will sue. That’s why it is crucial to internally document why you rejected a candidate. Bonus: You can also use the information for an informal internal audit to make sure a hiring manager isn’t inadvertently discriminating.

Must we give extra pay for extra duties?

December 12, 2012
Q. We are short-staffed and some employees have been assigned extra tasks. Some have said they want more money because of this. Do we have to comply? — J.V., Indiana

Do You Suspect a Fraudster?

November 1, 2012
A “loyal and hardworking” accounts payable clerk was accused of embezzling $1 million from the Archdiocese of New York. Although perceived as an outstanding employee, she had been stealing since she was hired.