Joseph Beachboard

Q. Our company hires temporary workers to assist with various short-term projects. I recently read that a new law changes how these workers are paid. How does the new legislation affect employers? …

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Q. One of our employees will be taking a protected leave of absence to care for her ill mother. Are we required to pay her for the time off? …

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Q. A number of our employees are pregnant. What are our obligations to accommodate their need to breastfeed when they return to work? …

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Q. Are we required to allow employees to inspect their personnel files? Must these files be retained at each office (rather than at a centralized location)? …

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Q. Can we prohibit workers from discussing their pay with each other? This practice appears to be creating workplace conflict and damaging morale in the office …

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Q. I understand that many companies offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) as an added benefit for employees who may have drug or alcohol abuse problems. Are we required by law to do so? …

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Q. We suspect that one of our employees is a victim of domestic violence. What are the leave requirements for domestic violence under California law? …

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Q. With the upcoming presidential election, our employees have spent more time talking politics and debating candidates and their positions. Do we have an obligation to limit or prevent such conversations in the workplace? …

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On May 27, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court further expanded the ability of employees to sue for retaliation—an area of employment law that has exploded in recent years. Specifically, the court held that a federal statute enacted shortly after the Civil War, granting all citizens the right to enter into and enforce contracts (commonly referred to as Section 1981), can be used to bring a claim of employment-related retaliation …

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Q. What are employers’ obligations under the new law requiring drivers to use hands-free cell phones? …

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