Joseph Beachboard

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

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