Our compliance department fields hundreds of calls from business owners all over the country. This service is available to our customers. For more information please contact your GDP Advisor.
Q: With a lot of publicity around overtime rules and potential changes in the law, our company is considering an email curfew. is this a good idea?
A: An email curfew is a fairly new concept. In an effort to eliminate the need to pay overtime to non-exempt employees in this era of technology, companies are looking at ways to forbid employees from checking emails after business hours and then claiming hours for such “work”. Companies may put an email curfew in place that says emails can only be checked between the company work hours of, for example, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It can be done, but it may be more difficult to track than you might think. If the employee has a cell phone, tablet or computer where they are able to log in to the company email systems, they may or may not tell the company they are doing so and may not accurately report hours actually worked. In order to truly ensure employees are not checking email outside of work hours, it would be up to the company to turn off the email system at a certain time each day. Another solution, if it does not disrupt the operations of the company, is to not provide employees the ability to access emails remotely. Another important issue to consider with regard to the email curfew is proper classification of employees now and, if and when, the new regulations are passed. Make sure that if your company is
classifying an employee as exempt that they truly meet the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to be exempt.On the other hand, if you have non-exempt employees at higher hourly rates, and they are expected to work or are working after hours, make sure they are paid for any hours worked.
Q: Can our company institute a policy of not hiring individuals who smoke?
A: There are 29 states and the District of Columbia that have laws prohibiting employers from requiring, as a condition of employment, that employees or prospective employees not use tobacco products outside the course of employment. In many of the states where such a law has been passed, employers are allowed to put smoking restrictions in place when it relates to a bona fide occupational requirement and are related to the employment responsibilities and activities of a particular employee or a particular group of employees and not all employees. Most laws will require employees follow the policies that the employer has instituted with regard to the use of tobacco while the employee is working or on company property. The following is a list of where such laws have been enacted:
California Colorado Connecticut District of Columbia Illinois Indiana Kentucky Louisiana
Maine Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Oklahoma Oregon Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming