Category Archives: Employee Handbook / Policies

Swine Flu, Quirky Question # 106

Quirky Question # 106:

We’ve heard a lot about the swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus.  So far, we have not had many, if any, problems with this flu strain in our workplace.  Nevertheless, we are looking for guidance as to how we should handle various issues that could arise if the H1N1 virus becomes much worse with the fall flu season.  Any suggestions for how this should be addressed at our company? Answer→

Vacation Pay Obligations, Quirky Question # 103

Quirky Question # 103:

We recently opened operations in California and are concerned that our current PTO policy does not meet California state standards.  We were caught unawares by the new Massachusetts Supreme Court case on vacation pay and know that the law on vacation policies differs from state to state.  What should we be doing to protect ourselves from employee vacation claims in California? Answer→

Enforcing Arbitration Agreements, Quirky Question # 90

Quirky Question # 90:

Several years ago our company adopted as arbitration policy.  We felt that this was one way we could control our employment litigation costs.  Our arbitration policy is set forth in our Employee Handbook, which is available to our employees on line.  We encourage our employees to review the Handbook if they have any questions about our company’s policies.  Our system does not allow us to track who accesses the Handbook and who does not.  We recently terminated one of our employees.  He now claims that our decision was discriminatory and he filed a Charge of Discrimination.  He then obtained a right to sue letter and filed a lawsuit alleging race and age discrimination.  We intend to file a motion to compel arbitration.  Is there anything we should be concerned about  before proceeding to arbitration? Answer→

Rights Provided by Employee Handbook, Quirky Question # 54

Quirky Question # 54:

We have an employee who has missed a fair amount of work due to various surgeries.  As set forth in our handbook, we offer FMLA leave for employees who have worked 1250 hours in the preceding 12 months.  When we were informed that our employee would need to miss additional time due to some follow-up surgeries, we belatedly explored the issue with our attorneys.

Our lawyers advised us that although our employee had worked the requisite number of hours under the FMLA, he was not FMLA eligible because we don’t have enough employees in the office where he works or within 75 miles of his worksite.  Based on those facts, we informed our employee that he was not eligible for FMLA leave and told him that he could not take time off.  When he went forward with his surgery and took leave anyway, we terminated his employment.  He now has sued us under the FMLA and other legal theories, including “promissory estoppel.”  Given that he was not FMLA eligible, do we have anything to worry about? Answer→

Protecting the Company’s Public Image, Quirky Question # 17

Quirky Question # 17:

We run a retail clothing firm.  Our goal is to cultivate a youthful, preppy image.  We prohibit “facial jewelry” with the exception of earrings.  This prohibition is set out in our Employee Handbook.

One of our employees insists on wearing “facial jewelry,” displaying various facial piercings.  Can’t we prohibit this practice?  Can we tell our employee to choose between her facial jewelry and employment with our company? Answer→

Donating Sick Leave, Quirky Question #2

Quirky Question # 2:

One of our employees is quite ill, with a very serious illness.  She has used up all of her sick time.  She is well liked and several of her co-workers want to donate all of their sick time to her.  Are there any downsides to allowing these employees to donate their sick time?  Are there any downsides to disallowing these sick time donations? Answer→