Test Your Knowledge About HR Compliance

Holiday Pay

Q:  Do I have to pay employees more for working holidays?
A:  A common misconception is that employers must pay employees a higher rate of pay if they work on a holiday. That’s not true, except for a couple of states in New England that have “Blue laws” on the subject. Similarly, they don’t have to provide any pay for a holiday when hourly employees don’t work- but most companies do.


Q:  If I want to vote will I be docked pay for my time away, or, will I be paid as if I were at work?
A:  Time away from the work varies by state law and many states are silent on the matter.

Mandatory Rest Periods

Q:  If I have a job that is physically demanding will there be mandatory rest periods?
A:  Generally, rest periods are mandated by less than a third of the states and there are variable definitions of paid/unpaid.


Q:  Can companies create their own specific tests that are used during the hiring process but that are not in regular compliance with state laws?
A:  States limit what testing can be done, what action can be taken, what notice must be given during the hiring process.


Q:  Are meal breaks required for employees?
A:  Most states do not require meal breaks, but some do, and requirements vary on whether breaks are paid or unpaid.

Jury Duty

Q:  How many states require that employees be paid by their employer for having to attend jury duty?
A:  Five.  Required pay in some manner in: AL, CT, CO, MA, NY.

Workday Restrictions

Q:  Is it against the law in some states to work on certain days of the week or holidays?
A:  In MA employers can’t employ on Sunday for certain jobs and a permit is needed for employees to work on certain holidays.  The pay 1.5 x rate (OT).

Other Common HR Scenarios For Business Owners

Q: Should we ask a job applicant if they have a valid license and a reliable car to get to work?
A: No. You could learn that they have a disability, and if not hired they could argue that it was a factor in your decision.

Q: Can we ask a job applicant if they are a man or a woman?
A: Only if it is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ)

Q: When an employee is hurt on the job, can I send them for drug testing?
A: Only if drugs or alcohol are reasonably suspected to be a contributing factor

Q: How many breaks and how long of a lunch period do I have to give my employees?
A: Depends on State law. In most states, no breaks or lunch periods are required by law.

Q: If an employee has chronic attendance problems and their final violation was because they were hospitalized, will they be able to collect unemployment benefits on my account?
A: Likely, yes. The unemployment office only cares about the “final incident”, and if the employee was unable to work due to circumstances beyond their control, the unemployment office will likely award them benefits.

Q: In a harassment allegation, how does an investigator prove that the harassment did or didn’t occur?
A: By searching for evidence in the form of interviews with the complainant, the accused, and key witnesses, obtaining video evidence, text messages, emails, hand-written notes, gifts, or anything else that can clarify the situation.

If any of these scenarios apply to your organization and you need help, or, if this blog has create additional HR questions for your organization please call us at (586) 977-3377 and we will be happy to assist you.