Ask HR


Ask HR: Upholding our Call-in Policy

Dear HR, One of our new hires failed to follow appropriate call-in policy before missing work.  We are aware that they had a death in the family so want to be kind and help our employee through this tough period, but how do we do that while still upholding our company policies and procedures. HR Answer: Nothing is more frustrating to employers, supervisors, and other staff than when an employee fails to show up to […]


Ask HR: Rules for Employing Minors?

Dear HR: I want to hire a 17-year-old that has already been working for me through a WorkSource GED program. The job duties include mowing, weed-whacking, gardening, fencing repair, painting, cleaning, etc. What are the rules I need to keep in mind when moving forward with hiring a minor? A. First, and most importantly, an Oregon employer who hires minors 14 through 17 years of age must apply to the Bureau of Labor and Industries […]


Ask HR: Can PTO allowance vary by position?

Dear HR: Can I offer different Paid Time Off (PTO) policies to employees based on their position? I would like to offer PTO for full -time staff, but keep our temporary staff on accrued sick time only. Is that allowed under labor laws? A. In Oregon, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. So yes, you can offer different PTO policies to different employees, as long as the […]


Ask HR: Can my Employee be correctly classified as exempt?

Dear HR, Two of my project managers came into the office today to discuss the salary for a new employee.  The employee will performing supervisor duties as a Foreman, and may occasionally perform some welding and excavating work. My Project Manager said that this employee is a supervisor, and will spend more than half of his time supervising—and will only perform labor when there is a need to help out or train. This employee will […]


Ask HR: Can I require an employee to provide a doctor’s note?

Dear HR, I have an employee who is claiming sick time and wants more time off to get well and get paid for this time off. Can I require that the employee provide me with a doctor’s note verifying that he is sick and needs more time to recover? He says he doesn’t want to pay to see a doctor to get checked and get a letter.


Ask HR: How can I help a co-worker being bullied?

Dear HR, Last night I had an incident with one of our employees physically grabbing some dishes out of another employee’s hand, reprimanding them, and essentially, ordering that employee around in a rude, derogatory manner.  This incident was witnessed by one of our managers.  I notified the bossy/grabby employee to that let them know that treating this coworker was not allowable behavior.  But I want to do more.  Can you give me some advice about […]


Ask HR: What is Bullying?

Dear HR, I have an employee that I am pretty sure that has been experiencing bullying at my workplace for the last 4 months.  Some of the behavior comes from co-workers, and some of it comes from one of my shift supervisors.  Can you help me understand what kind of work behavior is defined as bullying? HR Answer. Most American workers used to characterize workplace bullying as “I have a bad boss – my boss […]


Ask HR: Covering Employee Medicare.

Dear HR, One of our long-time employees is now on Medicare and our business would like to pay for the Medicare premiums. What is the best way for us to pay/reimburse our employee for the premiums without causing them to incur tax consequences? HR Answer, Employers can pay Medicare premiums for active employees if the company’s payment plan is integrated with the group’s health plan. For example, the linked group plan must provide minimum value by […]


Ask HR: Can Employee defer Jury Duty due to workplace needs?

Dear HR, One of my employees just informed me they received a summons to jury duty next month.  Since this is a critical time for us, as seasonal business, may I ask my employee to defer jury duty? HR Answer: A person may be excused from, or defer jury duty on the basis of an undue hardship or extreme inconvenience to the person, the person’s family, the person’s employer or even the public served by […]


Ask HR: Am I required to pay Jury Duty time away?

Dear HR, We just had our first jury duty situation come up for one of our employees.  My employee is paid hourly and works during the day, so, jury duty would occur during her shift.  Am I required to pay her?  May I count this as PTO, Vacation or Sick leave?  Please help! HR Answer: Both Federal and State wage and hour laws require all hourly and non-exempt employees be paid for all hours worked.  […]