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California Vacation

Are you required to pay out unused vacation in california with final check or as soon as practical?

Under California law, vacation benefits are considered wages; thus, the pay out of unused vacation time must be included in the employee’s final paycheck. Also, unless otherwise stipulated by a collective bargaining agreement, the employer must pay the employee at his final rate of pay for all accrued and unused vacation days.

October 18th, 2014, 6:21 PM |  Posted in: Benefits |
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ADD & exempt status as a reasonable accomodation?

Employees with an ADD-Inattentive diagnosis often need additional time to meet deadlines. What types of reasonable accommodations are commonly granted in this kind of situation? In an occupation that with many employers is exempt-status and with many other employers is non-exempt, this ADD employee seeks exempt status as a way to have enough time to meet deadlines without the employer incurring overtime costs. Yet the employer refuses to reconsider the exempt-status request, since the occupation had years earlier been determined to be non-exempt. (Note: The employer has lost litigation on previously having wrongly classified other positions as exempt). When an occupation can reasonably be considered exempt or non-exempt, is it lawful for an employer to deny exempt status as a reasonable accommodation? Is it lawful for an employer to deny the exempt-status request without providing a detailed explanation?

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which covers employers with fifteen or more employees, prohibits discrimination against an individual who can perform the essential functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodation. Under the ADA, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities to do their jobs.

Employers have an obligation to participate in discussions with employees to include an interactive exchange of information which specifically addresses reasonable accommodations. However, employers are not required to agree to any and every request from an employee. Employers aren’t required to provide an accommodation that would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense for the employer considering its size and resources. If claiming undue hardship be sure to have sufficient evidence to back up your decision.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage and overtime regulations. Under the act, employees are classified as non-exempt or exempt from overtime provisions. To be exempt an employee must pass all three “tests” as described by the FLSA; salary level, salary basis, and duties. Employers must be careful in classifying employees as exempt since incorrect classifications can lead to back pay and costly fines. Employers cannot classify an employee as exempt simply to avoid paying overtime wages. Accommodations that may subject the employer to possible violations under the FLSA are not considered reasonable.

There is no requirement to inform employees of the reason for the denial of an accommodation request. However, it is recommended in order to fully engage in an interactive communication about accommodations. If the employer deems a requested accommodation is unrealistic than different types of accommodations should be discussed. Suggestions for accommodations depend on many factors including the limitations of the employee, the effect of such limitations on the job and what accommodations can be made to reduce or eliminate these problems. Reasonable accommodations in this situation may include restructuring the job to allow larger projects to be divided in to smaller projects with generous timelines and/or providing an organizer to keep track of assignments and deadlines.

October 16th, 2014, 1:12 PM |  Posted in: Human Resources Management, Labor Laws |
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Hostile Workplace

We were informed by an employee that someone had urinated on their property, and that their property had been repeatedly removed from their work area. Nothing was done. No investigation or plan was put in action to stop this from occurring. It was reported to the direct supervisor and general manager. We terminated that employee for another cause. He is now saying that he reported an assault in the workplace and that nobody responded to it in any way. It is basically a he said she said situation. Could we be liable in any way? Thank you.

An employee reporting that his belongings were stolen and urinated on while at work warrants an investigation. The employer failing to investigate the matter and put a stop to the behavior essentially allowed the inappropriate conduct to continue.

A hostile work environment is created when unwelcome conduct is so severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of one’s employment and creates an uncomfortable and abusive working environment. Hostility in the workplace becomes unlawful when the behavior or actions are discriminatory in nature. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency responsible for enforcing laws prohibiting employment discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy), religion, national origin, age (40 and over), physical or mental disability, and genetic information.

Thus, if the employee was targeted due to a protected characteristic and the employer failed to resolve the matter then a hostile work environment may have existed and the employer may be liable.

In the future, it’s important to investigate matters relating to an employee feeling uncomfortable and/or abused in the workplace. Allowing inappropriate behavior to continue, even if it’s not unlawful discrimination, is unethical, shows poor judgment and affects employee morale; ultimately affecting business operations.

October 16th, 2014, 12:00 PM |  Posted in: Human Resources Management, Labor Laws |
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Applicant Log

We are a small company with 49 employees in Indiana. Are we required to keep an applicant log of any kind? Thank you.

There is no requirement that a small employer without federal or state contracts maintain an applicant log. Employers chose to use an applicant log for various reasons including to protect against unlawful discrimination claims, to monitor diversity efforts, to evaluate recruiting effectiveness, and to streamline future hiring. Consider these reasons when determining if maintaining an applicant tracking log is necessary.

October 16th, 2014, 11:19 AM |  Posted in: Human Resources Management |
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Providing items to employees

Hello, We are a small business located in Southern California. In the past, we have provided paper plates and forks in our lunch room. The purpose of those items were for company events held at the location. Occasionally employees forget to bring a plate to heat up their food or forgot their fork. We have allowed them to use the items. But recently the demand for these items are increasing. We are a small company and must stick to our budgets. Are we suppose to provided the paper plates and forks to the employees?

Providing kitchen items like paper plates and utensils is a very nice benefit to offer employees. However, there is no requirement to do so. You can consider offering a small number of these items each month and securing the items needed for company events in a locked cabinet.

October 15th, 2014, 8:49 PM |  Posted in: Human Resources Management |
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