Salary cut allowed
Q: Is it legal for a company to cut salaries? I work as a host for a restaurant chain. After 10 years, I was making $11.50 an hour, but I was recently cut back to $9.50.
A: It’s legal as long as the cut doesn’t violate a union contract or employment agreement and as long as the reduction doesn’t take you below the state and federal minimum wage. Your wage cut doesn’t violate minimum wage. So it is legal on that score.
I’m sure the reduction doesn’t seem fair because in this age of lean staffing, employees are asked to do more while in many cases earning less. But labor laws are concerned with what is “legal,” and that doesn’t always translate into what is “fair.”
— By Carrie Mason-Draffen
Work getting copied
Q: I am extremely angry with a colleague who keeps copying my work. When “Jody” was hired three years ago, I let her use my project documents as a model. But she is now quite capable of creating her own. Although I have hinted that I don’t like having my work copied, Jody continues to do it. We used to be friends, but now I try to avoid her. How can I stop this without creating a conflict?
A: If you are angrily avoiding a former friend, then a conflict already exists. Your refusal to communicate directly makes it impossible to resolve. You drop “hints” about your feelings, then become resentful when no one picks up on them.
Since you originally allowed Jody to copy your documents, she may have no idea that your feelings have changed. Try expressing your concerns like a mature adult.
For example: “Jody, I gave you permission to copy my work when you were new, but now I feel sure that you can do a great job on your own. Although I prefer not to have my documents duplicated, I will be glad to help if you should run into any roadblocks.”
If imagining this conversation makes you queasy, then you will have to choose between taking an emotional risk and accepting the status quo. The only unacceptable alternative is to continue acting like a passive-aggressive child.
Q: I have a 2005 Mercury Sable with 15,000 original miles. Over the years I have had to replace the battery four times. If the car is not driven for three or four weeks, the battery is completely dead. This leads me to believe I have more than bad luck with batteries. How does one find a parasitic circuit that is draining the battery?
A: I’m not so sure you’re having bad luck with batteries. With so many computers, modules, keep alive memories and electronic systems on today’s vehicles, the typical parasitic current drain is in the neighborhood of 30-50 milliamps (.030-.050 ampere). While that doesn’t seem like much, if the battery is not fully charged to begin with, it’s unlikely this battery would start a vehicle after 30 days.
So, here are three suggestions. Drive the vehicle more often or for longer periods of time. Connect or hard-wire a battery tender/charger to the battery and plug it in while the vehicle is parked. Or — and this is less convenient because of the loss of all radio presets, etc. — install a master switch on the battery and disconnect the battery while the vehicle is parked.
— Paul Brand
Minneapolis Star Tribune