Joseph Beachboard

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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Q. One of our employees is experiencing performance-related problems, which I believe are attributable to a mental disability. However, the worker has not notified anyone here that he suffers from an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. He hasn’t asked for any accommodations either. Should we nonetheless offer to reasonably accommodate this employee?

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Q. Our company is considering replacing sick leave and vacation benefits with a paid time off (PTO) system. Under a PTO plan, how should we handle it when an employee resigns or is terminated?

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Q. We are a national restaurant chain that pays our waiters and waitresses less than the minimum wage because they earn tips. We are planning to open our first restaurant in California. Can we continue to pay our tipped employees less than the minimum wage?

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Q. We would like to require employees in one of our departments to promptly answer their company-provided cell phones even when they are away from work. If we impose this rule, do we have to pay these employees around the clock?

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Q. Occasionally, we offer in-house training and development programs for our employees. The training is strictly voluntary and isn’t conducted during normal working hours. Our company has never paid employees for the time spent attending such training. Is that legal?

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Q. Right now, we don’t want to hire anyone permanently and think it would be more cost effective to require our employees to work overtime instead. Can we force employees to work overtime?

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Q. We have an employee who claims he has a learning disability and needs accommodations. What kind of documentation can we ask for? And do we have to pay for a medical assessment?

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Q. An employee has asked to have his wife present during his performance evaluation. Does he have the right to bring a representative?

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