DEAR CARRIE: Who is responsible for paying for employer-mandated training? The new owner of a nursing-home rehabilitation facility requires all employees to take a CPR course, something that was previously required. But unlike the previous owner, the new employer expects the workers to pay for the training. If an employer requires training, shouldn’t it foot the bill? — Who Pays?
DEAR WHO: I checked with the state Labor Department, and the answer was simple:
“If an employer requires certain training, then they may not charge workers for it,” a spokesman said.
For more information call the Labor Department at 516-794-8195 or 212-775-3880.
DEAR CARRIE: I started a new job as an exempt employee of a major utility company on a Monday. During that week I received a better job offer from another company and told the utility company I would resign on Friday, which I did. Later, I inquired when I would be paid for the week I worked there. The company told me it did not intend to pay me because I worked for only a week. I countered that I fully expected to be paid, and the company eventually paid me. Would the company have had any legal basis for not paying me because I quit after the first week? — Short-Timer
DEAR SHORT-TIMER: No, it would have had no legal basis, and that is probably why it eventually paid you. You worked for the week, and the company had to pay you. I imagine its initial decision not to pay you was said out of anger because many companies these days have trouble finding qualified employees in such a tight, local labor market. The employer was probably upset that it had to fill your position again so soon.
But since New York is an employment-at-will state, not only can employers fire an employee at any time for any reason, unless a contract is involved, employees, in turn, can also quit at any time, again unless a contract forbids it. Your employer may not have liked the fact that you exercised that right and were still entitled to receive your pay. But it’s the law.
DEAR READERS: Last week I ran reader reaction to the Help Wanted column about an employee who didn’t return his former employer’s T-shirts and key fob after promising several times to leave them outside on his deck. It drew several responses from readers, all in support of the worker who was recovering from prostate cancer. They criticized the business owner as being petty when the employee was dealing with a serious illness. In the reaction column, I maintained that the owner had a right to her property and that the employee could have just said he couldn’t deal with her request at the time. Here is a take on the situation from a business owner:
“Once uniforms or T-shirts are given to an employee, he has to return them after he leaves because they emphasize that he works for the company. And the key fob should be returned as well. It’s not the value of the items, it’s the access they enable. If a crazy person has those things and is fired and refuses to return a key, then he’s got full access to your business. Yes, the worker mentioned in the column was ill, and I sympathize with that, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t put the items on his deck for the company to pick up. An employee that I fired didn’t return a key because he said he had lost it. He later let himself into my motorcycle shop and damaged and stole a few items. That’s why the readers’ reactions disturbed me as a business person. “
Thanks to all who wrote.
Go to http://bit.ly/atwillLI for more on the state's employment-at-will doctrine.