Joseph Beachboard

Q. With the upcoming presidential elections, conversation among our employees has increased concerning the candidates and their positions on certain issues. I overheard an employee supporting Donald Trump, a candidate who goes against all of my core beliefs. Can I tell him that any employee of mine cannot support Trump?

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Q. A former employee asked me to provide a reference to a prospective employer. While he left our company on good terms, he had lateness problems, his performance was substandard, and I was not fond of him. Can he sue me for giving him a bad reference?

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Q. My company is headquartered in San Francisco, but I have several employees throughout California, including in Los Angeles. What are my obligations with regard to the new Los Angeles minimum wage ordinance?

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Q. Our company needs to hire computer programmers to create, maintain, and update internal software, and to develop apps to give to our clients. I have heard about a “computer workers” exception from overtime. What exactly is the exception and can I apply it to my computer programmers?

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Q. Does the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriages have any effect on us with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act?

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Q. I heard that there have been increases in the IRS penalties that employers have to pay for failing to file (or filing incorrect) tax documents?

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At some point the question becomes not whether you need to dig deep into a case of workplace misconduct, but who you’re going to get for the task. Here are some guidelines.

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Q. As a California employer, I realize that I cannot discriminate against employees who belong to protected groups. But what if I mistakenly think that an employee is or is not a member of one of these groups, and accidentally treat him or her in a way that is discriminatory?

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Q. I hand a brochure titled “Job Information and Requirements” to each new hire I bring on board to my construction company. With the addition of new positions, I need to draft new brochures with job descriptions, but am having trouble determining the essential job functions. Is there a specific method that I can use to decide whether a job function is essential?

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Q. I recently posted want ads to hire new employees. Recently, I received a letter from someone who wants to sue me for “deterring applicants.” The ads that I sent out simply stated my company’s name and address, the position available and that applicants who are younger and live nearby are preferred. What did I do wrong?

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