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unpaid intern

Unpaid Internships

As summer is just around the corner, a common question for employers  is whether it is acceptable to engage unpaid interns. Assuming the organization in question is a for-profit company, this is an area in which to exercise extreme caution. While most interns must be compensated at least minimum wage plus any applicable overtime in […]

Employee and an Independent Contractor

Can a Worker Be Both an Employee and an Independent Contractor?

We hired a part-time worker who also does occasional contract work for us. Is it okay that we pay this worker as both a W2 employee and as an independent contractor? Typically a worker cannot be both an employee and an independent contractor for the same company. An employer can certainly have some employees and […]


Demoting an Underperforming Employee

A recently-hired employee has the skill set to perform most but not all of the duties they were hired to do. May we demote them to a different position and reduce their compensation? Yes….if the employee does not have a written employment contract guaranteeing them a certain position or rate of pay, you may reduce […]

Background Checks

Are Selective Background Checks Acceptable?

Is it appropriate to perform a background check on a certain applicant, but not on others? You may conduct background checks for some jobs but not others. Different jobs may require different levels of investigation, but for the same job title, make sure you keep your process uniform to avoid charges of discrimination. As long […]

Written Warning

When an Employee Refuses to Sign a Written Warning

If an employee refuses to sign the documentation for a written warning, how should you respond? When an employee refuses to sign a warning, it is recommended that you write “refused to sign” at the bottom of the notice. It is best if you have more than one person witness and attest to this refusal. […]

previous disability

Can We Ask an Applicant about a Previous Disability?

An individual submits an application to your organization that has previously worked for you before. You have heard that this individual has been in and out of the hospital in the recent past due to sever back pain. Is this something you can ask him about during the interview? According to the Americans with Disabilities […]

Employee Engagement

5 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Here are 5 ways you can increase employee engagement in your organization Assign Company Values Put together a list of company core values that your organization aspires to encompass. Then, every month, assign one of your company’s values to an employee based on a peer-voting process. You can do this for one employee a month […]


Should Your Organization Have a Policy Against Nepotism?

Some companies are concerned with employees who are spouses reporting to one another. Is this legal? Should there be a policy against nepotism? There is no law against employing relatives. Nepotism in fact, is quite common in the United States. That being said, there are some precautions worth mentioning. As a best practice, it is […]


Can We Say That Being Bilingual Is a Requirement?

Can your organization post job ads that state, “Bilingual in English/Spanish is a must?” If speaking Spanish is an essential function of the job, then you may certainly say that being bilingual is a requirement and consider only Spanish-speaking applicants for the role. Generally, there is nothing discriminatory about requiring that applicants know an additional […]

bag checks

Bag Checks at Work

Is it allowed for an organization to check the bags of employees and visitors when they leave a certain area of the premises? Yes, you can check the bags and possessions leaving your premises. This should only be done if you have properly notified employees and visitors in advance of this practice. By giving advance […]