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May 1, 2006

Many employers desire to impose dress and grooming standards for their employees to ensure their employees present a clean and professional image to customers. Generally, an employer has the right to establish standards for the personal appearance of its employees, as long as the standards do not discriminate on the basis of sex, religion or race, and the standards are applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.

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April 1, 2006

An employee handbook sets forth the policies of the business. Since it is given to all new employees upon starting employment, it is an important tool for establishing good communication between the company and the employee. There are many reasons for a company to have an employee handbook, including the following: Efficient Communication. An employee handbook will reduce the time that management spends answering questions from employees, since many of the answers relating to company policies will be set forth in the employee handbook.

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March 1, 2006

Under both federal and state law, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee based upon national origin or ancestry. However, a recent case shows that such discrimination does not have to be based upon the employee’s physical or genetically determined characteristics such as skin color or physical traits. In El-Hakem v. BJY, Inc., the claim of discrimination was based upon the chief executive officer’s repeated use of a non-Arabic name instead of the employee’s Arabic name. In this case, Gregg Young, the chief executive officer of BJY, Inc. repeatedly called Mamdouh El-Hakem, who is of Arabic heritage “Manny.” Young’s explanation was that he believed that a “western” name would increase El-Hakem’s chances for success and would be more acceptable to BJY’s clientele.

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