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Aug27

Medical Supply Storage Area

Can medical supplies be stored in the same room as an employee break room?

The majority of employers are not required to provide a break room at all, and those that do can set them up at they see fit. California does require that employers provide “suitable resting facilities in an area separate from the toilet”, but this would not necessarily preclude some supplies from being stored in the same room.

However, it is recommended that you review your facility policies as well as seek guidance from regulatory bodies in the medical field to ensure compliance with any applicable regulations.

Aug27

Positive Drug Screen/Short Term Disability

Can an employee that has tested positive on a random drug screen and has been suspended from work request to file a short term disability claim while on suspension?

The question is probably not so much if the employee can request short-term disability but rather do you have to grant this request. You do not indicate what state you are in, so I am going to assume that this is a benefit offered by the company that is not state-mandated. In this case, the company is free to establish their own policies regarding eligibility, such as when an employee is or is not eligible, any waiting periods, etc.  Your first step will be to review your short-term disability policy and see exactly what the qualifications are. Some policies require that an employee be actively at work at the time of the disability notice. If the suspension does not meet your company’s definition of being actively at work, this employee would not be eligible for the benefit.

If after reviewing your short-term disability policy it is determined that the employee is eligible, you will then want to review your drug policy, especially if the employee is requesting the short- term disability to seek treatment for her drug addiction.  Some drug policies state that if an employee comes forward on his own & requests time off for drug treatment, then the company will assist him, while those employees who test positive during random or other drug screens will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Other policies do allow employees to request drug treatment if they test positive during a screen.

As a side note, be aware that individuals who are current users of illegal drugs, as evidenced by a positive random drug screen, are not considered disabled under ADA guidelines.

Aug26

Drive Time?

Does a municipality in Texas have to pay drive time, or overtime, to an hourly employee who is sent to training in a far away city where the employee must leave the workplace two hours before normal hours and return two hours after normal hours? I.E. normal hours- 8:00am to 5:00pm/ Training schedule- 6:00am to 7:00pm.

Yes. FLSA regulations require that if a nonexempt employee who normally works at a fixed location in one city is given a one-day assignment in another city but returns home the same day, the time spent traveling to and from the other city is considered work time. However, employers may deduct from this travel time the amount of time the employee normally spends commuting to work from home.

Aug22

Overtime

How much time advance notice should an employer inform employees of upcoming overtime?

There is no legal requirement for employers to provide employees with advance notice of required overtime. Employers are free to set and change schedules at will, including requiring employees to work overtime. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime payment for nonexempt employees for hours worked in excess of forty in one workweek. Some states have additional overtime requirements, such as Alaska and California, which require the payment of overtime for hours worked in excess of eight in one day. But in general, employers may schedule exempt and nonexempt employees as they see fit, and they are not required to provide advance notice.

However, it is always advised to give employees as much notice as possible of any schedule change, including upcoming overtime.

Aug21

working hours

The organization I work for uses “contracts” for their employees and they are paid for the same number of hours each week. Several employees arrive 10 to 15 minutes late to their work stations on a daily basis and also leave 1/2 hour or more early every day when their work is done. What, besides re-negotiating with the bargaining unit the concept of “contracts”, can management do to rectify this issue?

Does the contract allow employees to set their own work hours? If not, the employer still has a right to establish work start and stop times and implement the progressive disciplinary process to address violations.

If the contract does allow employees to set their own start and stop times, you will need to abide by the terms of the agreed-upon contract until/unless the issue can be re-negotiated.

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