Joseph Beachboard

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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