General Business

Ask the Experts: Sleeping, LinkedIn and No Shows

In the latest installment of New Jersey Business Magazine’s Ask the Experts column, HR professionals working with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association respond to executives’ inquiries on three interesting workplace issues:

We’ve discovered that an employee is using a title on LinkedIn that is not the title we use at our organization. Should we say something?

It depends. There are many reasons an employee may choose to use a job title on LinkedIn that is different from their official job title with your organization. For one, employees may feel that their job title doesn’t accurately or meaningfully describe the work they are doing. A job title that makes perfect sense internally may not be easily decipherable outside the organization.

On the flip side, you may have reasons for wanting your employees to use the title that you have chosen for their position.

Before talking to the employee, you should decide if their title use is something that really needs to be addressed. If the title makes sense for the role and isn’t overinflated, you may not want to do anything.

If you decide to reach out to the employee, we recommend a neutral approach. Be curious with them. Mention you saw the job title they were using on LinkedIn and were wondering why they chose that title. Listen and consider their reasons. You can share with the employee that you would prefer that their job title on LinkedIn better reflect the title they have within the organization.

I have an employee who hasn’t shown up to work the last few shifts and isn’t responding to messages. Can we make a policy that employees who quit without notice won’t get their final paycheck?

No, federal law requires you to pay employees for all hours they have worked. While you can and should have a policy defining job abandonment (e.g., if an employee no-shows and no-calls three days in a row, you’ll take that as a resignation), you are not allowed to deduct or withhold pay because an employee quits without notice.

Unless job abandonment happens regularly, it’s probably not something you need to worry about discouraging.

We discovered that an employee has been sleeping during lunch breaks. Can we ask employees not to sleep in the office during their lunch break (or any other unpaid break)?

It depends. Generally, employees can use unpaid breaks as they see fit. However, if the employee sleeping is affecting their work, disrupting others, or otherwise negatively impacting the business, you could (and should) address those issues. For example, if the employee is sleeping at the front desk where customers can see them, you could tell them not to nap there. If they’re routinely late returning to work, you could discipline them for their tardiness. But, if the naps aren’t affecting their work or disrupting the workplace, it may not be worth addressing at all.

If you raise the issue with the employee, we recommend that your first step be to ask why they are sleeping during the day. If it’s related to a disability, you are required to engage in the interactive process and will need to allow the employee to nap somewhere as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, unless it creates an undue hardship or direct threat, or another effective accommodation is available.

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