Joseph Beachboard

Q. I’m aware that California law generally does not allow employers to use noncompete agreements. Are there any noncompete agreements that California courts will enforce?

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Q. We suspect that one of our employees has filed a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim. We would like to hire a private investigator to gather information on his activities. By doing so, are we subject to the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

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Q. An employee recently confided to us that he has a drug problem and would like to take several weeks off to check into a rehabilitation program. May we deny his request?

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Q. With the new school year under way, can you ­give me a rundown on the rules governing our obligation to grant workers time off to participate in their children’s school-­related activities?

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Q. Our company requires male employees to keep their hair short. However, a recent applicant has stated that his religion does not allow him to cut his hair. Will requiring him to cut his hair to get the job violate federal law?

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Q. Our company recently hired a deaf employee who communicates exclusively by written notes. We are finding that this process is time consuming and adversely affects productivity. May we require that both the deaf worker and his supervisor learn sign language and terminate their employment if they refuse?

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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. Occasionally, when we receive a big order, our nonexempt employees are required to work through their lunch break. Although we do not pay them overtime for this work, we buy pizzas and sodas for all the affected workers. Is this lawful?

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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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