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Ask the Attorney Archives

Must we give employee access to her personnel file?


Q. I run a medical practice in Florida. An employee who has been counseled for numerous recurring errors on the job is demanding a copy of her personnel file. I just want to give her copies of documentations pertaining to her counseling issues. Is there a law that will oblige me to provide her with everything in her personnel file? – Anonymous, Florida

Can we do drug tests on employees because our client requests it?


Q. We are a California security guard company currently working under contract for a public utility. Our contract states that we must drug test guards and make available the results if requested by our client. I know we can test applicants before they are employed, but we need to test current employees as well to be compliant with our contract. Many weren’t tested before being hired. Can we test current guards who were not tested before being employed because our client requests it? Can I give a copy of a drug test of one of my employed guards if my client requests it?  Lisa, California

New EEOC rules on criminal checks: What’s a ‘job-related’ conviction?

Q. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance on employers’ use of criminal history information. In the guidance, the EEOC recommends that employers not ask about convictions on the job application, and, if it does ask, to limit those questions only to those that are job-related. This seems like a very difficult task to determine whether a given conviction is job related or not.  Would you recommend any procedures for an employer to follow to ensure they comply with the EEOC guidance? – Charlie, Arkansas

What are the rules for hiring non-residents or people with green cards?

Q. Where can I find out information regarding the hiring requirements for non-residents or someone with a green card? – Mike, New Jersey

Can we ask applicant’s date of birth for a background check?

Q. Is it illegal (state or federal law) to ask a candidate their date of birth on a background check prior to an offer letter being sent to that candidate? – Linda, Mississippi

Employee is always calling off sick for family issues: What can we do?

Q. An employee is constantly calling off for family issues. Today, she called off again for today and tomorrow, saying her mother is ill. What can we legally do about her absenteeism? – Anonymous, New Jersey

Suspended employee wants medical leave: Must we grant it?

Q. We recently suspended an employee for failing to complete his continuing education units to satisfy licensure requirements. He is now requesting to take a medical leave of absence. Are we obligated to honor this request? – Saundra, Missouri

New employee in skimpy attire: Can we create a dress code without singling her out?

Q. Our company is very casual and currently has no dress code in place. A recent hire is a young woman who is very well endowed and who wears very revealing attire–low cut tops and very short skirts. Our staff is predominantly male, and this has become not only a distraction, but a frequent topic of conversation amongst them. How can we implement a dress code now without appearing to be singling anyone out? – Jeanne, Florida

Does time in alcohol rehab count for FMLA leave?

Q. If an employee is admitted to a nonmedical facility for alcohol addiction, can this leave qualify under FMLA. If so, what documentation is acceptable? Can a letter from the facility be substituted for medical documentation? – Kathryn, New York

What’s the law on accommodating breastfeeding mothers?

Q. I would like to confirm that the state of Georgia allows but does not require employers to accommodate breastfeeding mothers when they return to work. Does the federal law so require? Jenny, Georgia