“I find your poor work performance disturbing.” – May the Fourth be with you 2023

One of my stormtroopers won’t wear the uniform! Can I write them up for a dress code violation?

Answer: If were talking work performance dress code DOES count! Anyone who has ever managed a team of employees knows, getting everyone to conform to the desired “look” of your business can be tough, especially if there isn’t a consistent policy on what that look is. Establishing a dress code policy in your handbook allows you to spell out what your employees must do—and what they may NOT do—to look professional in your office. Further, in your specific instance, OSHA requires that all Storm Troopers be adequately protected during periods of PEW PEW!! Therefore it is incumbent upon them to wear the property videos and helmets in order to prevent their brains or eyes from being vaporized.

First, you must be sure you’re not discriminating based on any protected class. Treat your troopers from all galaxies equally and do not discriminate based on national origin, race, age, etc. So, if you require a dress code, be sure you are addressing all employees that are not participating in it, not just one or two.

Next, we suggest you ask your employee why they are not wearing the uniform. The main thing we want you to keep in mind here is that you must make reasonable accommodations for religious or disability considerations (such as allowing a trooper with a medical condition affecting their feet to wear different boots).

If there are no reasonable accommodations or protected reasons why they are not wearing the uniform, you can use your dress code policy within your handbook to course-correct them.

Can I ask Yoda when he is going to retire already!? His work performance has slowed down a lot lately. We’ve noticed that he’s started speaking backward.

Answer:The answer to this is quite simple: no. Don’t ask Yoda, who is 900 years old, any question you wouldn’t also ask their younger colleague.

Making any age-based assumptions, even for your 900-year-old humanoid aliens, can get you sued for age discrimination. What you want to do here is address the actual work performance (the fact that he may be getting work done slower than normal) and figure out how to course correct and realign with your policies and procedures.

If Yoda’s performance has dropped off, you can address performance-based considerations just like you would with a younger alien whose performance has declined. Having a conversation with your employee is a great place to start; point out objective observations about their performance (such as them not submitting patient records on time) and work together to figure out a solution. Document this conversation, and be sure to check in later to see how the progress is going. Don’t forget to celebrate successes when Yoda’s performance improves! If it doesn’t, you can continue documenting conversations and corrective coaching down the line. Keep your radar on for any medical needs that may present themselves, but do not bring up retirement if Yoda doesn't bring it up himself.

Please also note that Yoda has always spoken backward, and therefore, singling out that trait now as a “gotcha” is ill-advised. For more on why Grand Master Yoda speaks backward, please see the linked fact sheet.

My employee brought a Wookie to work, claiming it's an emotional support animal. Do I have to allow this? It is VERY cute, somewhat like a walking carpet, and is very tall, and some of the patients appear to be afraid that it will sit on them.

Answer: This question is a little more complicated… the short answer: It depends.
State and federal disability laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employee medical needs. This could include the use of a service animal if that animal allows the employee to perform the essential functions of their position and this was supported by documentation from their physician. Fact sheet #3 from the Department of Labor and Data Mining goes on further to explain that your Wookie is named Chewbacca and is quite verbal. Learn more about Wookies here.

Importantly, in some settings, an employer may deny the request for an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation if it would cause undue hardship to their business. The bar is very high for proving that something is an undue hardship, so employers should carefully participate in the accommodation process, document, consider alternatives, and come to the best solution for both them and the employee. In your case, please get those patients to email their concerns in writing and make sure you document any instances of it sitting on patients.
If the employee with the Wookie were a pilot (let’s say Chewbacca), it may be reasonable to say allowing a Wookie into the cockpit would be reasonable and not present an undue hardship for the rebel forces. On the other hand, if the employee with the Wookie were Obi-Wan Kenobi, allowing a Chewbacca to be present for his duties would perhaps be too annoying and distracting for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Other questions from the galaxy that we are working on… (a little more complicated than our usual HR questions!)

I just lost 3 employees to my pet Rancor who escaped his chains; what's my liability?

I asked my employees to commit genocide by blowing up a planet and I've gotten some back talk. Can I fire them?

Our CEO (Padme) is dating our new young employee (Anikin). Is that going to cause liability for us?

My new stormtrooper still can't hit anything he shoots at after 90 days. Can I terminate him?

May 4, 2023

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance based on applicable local, state and/or federal U.S. employment law that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.

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