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Legal Clinic

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FMLA Obligations to Independent Contractors
Are companies required to save an independent contractor's job after he or she returns to work after addressing a medical condition?
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Working Through a Natural Disaster
Are employers required to remain closed in areas where the government has declared a state of emergency during a natural disaster?
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Can We Require Our Workers to Speak English?
Can an employer require its employees to speak only English while at work? One company recently enacted an English-only rule and several employees have already complained.
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Is It Legal to Ask for Only Male Applicants?
Our company is comprised of predominantly female employees and we want to increase the number of male workers on our staff. Would we run into any legal issues if we placed an advertisement for our vacant positions and requested that only male applicants apply?
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Recording Conversations with the C-Suite
We have just learned that some employees have been secretly tape recording conversations they have with management. Is there something we can do to prohibit this?
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Requirements for Religious Holidays
With a lot of religious holidays coming up, are employers required to give employees days off for their religious holidays? If so, do they have to give them paid time off?
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The Difficulties of Discussing Hygiene
How do you best handle an employee who comes to work with offensive body odor? My HR department has been receiving complaints about this employee and I believe we will need to speak with her.
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Requesting a Criminal-Background Check
In what stage of the hiring process can employers request an applicant to submit to a criminal-background check? Can they ask for it early on in the interview (to see how he or she reacts) or do they have to wait until they give the applicant an actual offer?
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HR Legal Terms Explained
A helpful glossary of legal terms explained, from cat's paws to the difference between disparate impact and disparate treatment.
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Companies That Sue for Defamation
Companies -- not just people -- are capable of being defamed, which means they can file defamation suits against ex-employees who make disparaging public statements against their former employer.
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Disclosing Medical Information on Reference Calls
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer's ability to legally disclose medical information on a reference call turns on whether the medical information was obtained by the employer because the employee voluntarily disclosed the information to his employer, or whether the medical information was obtained by the employer through a medical inquiry that the employer made to the employee.
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Child Pornography at Work
Possessing or viewing child pornography is illegal under federal law. Therefore, if your company's employees use your company's computers and servers to possess child pornography, both the employee and your company could potentially face liability.
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Drafting Effective Confidential Agreements
Agreements that limit the ability of a former employee to find work because of access to proprietary information may be challenged in court. Restrictive covenants and noncompete agreements must balance the interests of the organization and the former employee.
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Classifying Employees
While there are substantial benefits derived by an employer when workers are independent contractors instead of employees, there are also substantial risks. And to make it more difficult, there is no easy way to determine which classification is the correct one.
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On Leave -- and Out of a Job?
When an organization seeks to fire an employee receiving long-term-disability benefits, it's important to ensure the employee -- and his or her co-workers -- do not perceive such a termination as disability discrimination.
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Inspecting Personnel Files
While employers in some states have no legal obligation to provide inspection of personnel files or provide copies of reprimands, there are some good reasons for doing so anyway.
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Every Dog Has Its Day ... At the Office
The state and federal legal issues associated with permitting service animals in the workplace revolve around the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations and what constitutes undue hardship.
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Dressing for Success
Having a dress code -- and not having a dress code -- can pose potential problems for employers. When creating such a policy, be prepared to offer work-related reasons for the rules and to treat the genders equally -- although that does not mean the rules need to be identical.
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