Joseph Beachboard

Q. I have an employee who is a volunteer firefighter. Although I believe that volunteering is important, his absences to respond to emergencies have disrupted workplace productivity. Can I replace him on this basis?

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Q. We have an employee who claims to be a witch. She contends that witchcraft is her religion and has asked for time off on certain “holidays.” Are we required to accommodate this employee’s request?

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Q. Our company needs guidance on keeping up with our obligations with regard to employment eligibility. What resources are available?

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Q. Some of our employees speak to each other in their native language. We are worried that some workers will feel excluded. To boost employee morale, we would like to institute a policy prohibiting our workers from speaking any language other than English during the workday. Is such a policy legal?

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Q. Are we required to give our employees additional rest breaks in order to express breast milk?

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Q. One of our former employees has requested to see his personnel file. Are we required to allow him ­access to it?

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Q. We give our employees the opportunity to take up to a one-hour lunch break every day. However, several of our employees have requested to work through their lunch break in order to leave work earlier. Is this legal?

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Q. Several of our employees have requested time off for their children’s end-of-year school events. What is our obligation to grant workers this time off?

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Q. We are looking to hire several new workers in our receiving department. The job will require lifting heavy boxes. Can we ask applicants about any current medical conditions or disabilities that would prevent them from doing so? Can we ask applicants to pass a physical test to see if they can fulfill the requisite job duties?

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Q. Recently, several employees suffered work-related injuries shortly after we hired them. As a result, our workers’ compensation premiums have soared. The company’s CEO, in an effort to avoid this problem, has directed us to hire only “careful” workers in the future. Is this legal?

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