Is A Break Area Required?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about break area:

In a work place with 30 or more employees are you required to have a designated break area?

Signed, Need a Break

Dear Need a Break:

Very few states have any kind of labor regulations about how or where breaks are taken–or even if breaks must be allowed. Check with the Department of Labor in your state to find out for sure.An employer who cares about employees and wants the most productivity usually makes an effort to provide a break area of some kind and allows breaks to be taken. However, sometimes work spaces are rented or leased and break rooms aren’t part of the layout.

read more

Can They Refuse To Give Me My Holiday Time?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about holiday pay: I have 100 hours to take and would like to know what my rights are regarding this.

I have worked at my company ( a large retail store) since it opened in June 2009. I have been told to book my holidays by the end of January. However, I have covered everybody in my department who has been off on holidays or sick, by doing lots of different shifts and overtime. Now I am told they cannot allocate me my holidays and will therefore lose them! I have 100 hours to take and would like to know what my rights are regarding this. Is there anything I can do?

read more

Mice and Pregnancy

Question: to Ask the Workplace Doctors about pests in the work area: I would also like to know my rights as a pregnant employee on paid leave until this is sorted out!

I am 22 weeks pregnant and there have recently been an infestation of mice at work. There were over twenty traps put down and each of them were touched every week since September. Yesterday the exterminator came in to check the traps and none of them had been touched so therefore we were advised there were no longer any mice. A few hours after this there was a rat spotted near the kitchen of our office by four members of staff so obviously now we have a rat problem. Is it safe for me to be working in that environment while being pregnant? We have been advised by management to wipe our desks down daily with disinfectant wipes. I personally still don’t feel this is an efficient enough measure to protect us from their droppings etc.. I would also like to know my rights as a pregnant employee on paid leave until this is sorted out!

read more

Depression in the Workplace

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about depression and work:

I have suffered with depression most of my life. Recently I have had a wave hit me again and I have missed work due to it. Is it possible to obtain a doctors note for this ongoing illness?

Signed, Concerned

Dear Concerned:

You are correct to have your medical or mental health professional provide your employer or HR section with a letter stating that you have a chronic situation which is being treated. That is especially the case if you may need accommodation from your employer about it. (For example, use of sick time or perhaps an occasional flex-schedule or time to meet with your counselor or doctor.)Letting your employer or the HR section of your organization know about it is also a way to ensure that both you and they are aware of rights and responsibilities about the illness and the treatment. It will also allow your HR person or others to clarify what accommodations can be made if needed and what cannot. (I am assuming your work is not of the nature that would have specific limitations on various mental and physical conditions, due to safety or security.)I’m sure your mental health professional has prepared similar notifications for others, but if not, ask him or her to look for resources within a mental health association in your city or region or among his or her colleagues.

read more

How To Talk To Boss Aout Unfair Pay?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworker who get equal pay and cheats on her time:

I work in a small dental office. There is just the dentist, his assistant, one hygienist and I, the office manager. When I was hired 5 yrs. ago, I was being paid $2 more an hour than the dental assistant. The problems began shortly thereafter because she decided to get a divorce. She complained to the boss about her bills and he allowed her to come in on the off day and clean so I had to fire the cleaning lady. Next thing she was allowed to work all day 7.5 hours at her regular pay when the office is closed. Then he gave her a raise so that she was making more than I was.

read more

Why Is My Pay Less?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unfair pay: I feel so depressed at work because cleaners, securities and cooks earn triple times what I earn.

I work with a reputable mining firm as an administrative assistant. I feel so depressed at work because cleaners, securities and cooks earn triple times what I earn. I always feel sad at work and the hurtful thing is no one appreciates my efforts at work. What do I do? I need encouragement.

Signed, Sad On The Job

Dear Sad On The Job:

Your sadness has a long history, at least as far back Biblical times. Employers tend to pay what they have to, and frequently employees learn that others are paid more. The pay is different for many reasons: length of time employed, difficulty of finding people with the desired skills, type of mental and/or physical labor, and amount accepted when hired.

read more

No Sick Time?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about no sick day until after a year:

My wife works for a private day care center and was told that she does not get sick day until after a year of working. I have never heard of any company making employees wait a year. Is that legal?

Signed, It’s Not Right

Dear It’s Not Right:

Small businesses make their own rules when it comes to absences, sick days, and vacation time. It would be good for her to get a written policy statement about absences, pay, benefits, vacation, and more particularly rules concerning dos and don’ts for her job. You might also contact your state’s department of labor to learn if there are any rules concerning vacation length and time.

read more

Should Depression Be An Excused Illness?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about warning during time off because of depression.

I had been signed off work for 2 weeks with depression. Can my employer give me any warnings for being off sick during this time?

Signed, Concerned

Dear Concerned:

Your specific situation needs to be reviewed between you and your HR section. Warnings about using sick time are sometimes given as a matter of routine, to remind people not to abuse it. But, if you were diagnosed with a condition and your employer agreed to give you the time off, it would seem you should be completely cleared for that time.

read more

Problems At Work After Maternity Leave

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about maternity and work from home:

Since returning from maternity leave, my boss has rescinded the offer to let me work from home part time and get paid on an hourly basis. It seems like they are trying to make me quit so I do not collect unemployment (in NYS) At this point I am an emotional wreck.They are making inappropriate/hurtful comments and making it emotionally impossible for me to do my job. Is this grounds for leaving and filing for unemployment? I have some proof but not much.

read more

Federal Holidays

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about federal holidays:

I am wondering what are the federal holidays for an hourly employee who working part time?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

Federal holidays refer to holidays for federal employees, not holidays that are nationwide or that private business has to acknowledge by closing.  So, the only way to know what “federal holidays” you will be given as a day off, would be to ask your own HR or personnel office, or your manager. It may be that you won’t have any of those days off–or you may have some of them, but not all of them. Ask at your work about the holiday and vacation schedule for part time employees, and I’m sure you’ll find out what you need to know. Best wishes with this.

read more