Michael Fox

Q. A former employee has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against one of my company’s subsidiaries. The suit names both the subsidiary and us—the parent company—as the responsible employers. Isn’t this charge just the subsidiary’s problem and not ours?

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Q. We just received a letter from an employee who has requested a copy of our medical plan. Are we required to provide this information to her?

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Q. One of our employees filed a sexual harassment complaint against another worker. After interviewing both parties, we are unable to resolve the credibility conflict. We asked the accused co-worker to take a polygraph exam, but he refused. Can we fire the employee for refusing to take the lie detector test?

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Q. We have an employee returning from FMLA leave. His physician has issued a fitness-for-duty certificate. However, we have doubts about the worker’s ability to perform his job because he wasn’t off work very long … Can we send him to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty examination?

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Q. Our company requires male employees to keep their hair short. However, a recent applicant has stated that his religion doesn’t 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. Several recent hires have suffered work-related injuries shortly after starting to work for us. As a result, our workers’ compensation premiums have soared. Our CEO, in an effort to avoid this problem, has directed managers to hire only “careful” workers in the future. Is this legal?

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Q. Our software company is considering hiring a Canadian citizen for a computer systems analyst position. Does the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allow us to hire this individual?

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Q. One of my employees has created his own web site and has been posting negative comments about our company. Specifically, he has accused the company of failing to provide adequate benefits and paying below-market wages. Can we fire this worker for this conduct?

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Q. When a job applicant took a post-offer physical, he learned he has hepatitis C. The position he is seeking at our oil refinery would expose him to chemicals that could be harmful to his liver. If we refuse to hire him and he alleges disability discrimination, will we be able to utilize the “direct threat” defense?

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Q. About once a month, one of our employees faints, is taken to the hospital by ambulance and is released to return to work—without restrictions. These recurring incidents are affecting our productivity, and we’re worried about the employee’s health. The employee has claimed the episodes are induced by workplace stress. What should we do?

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