The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Workers alleging disability discrimination generally have to show that they have a condition that substantially limits a major life function. But they don’t necessarily have to drag a doctor into court. They can prove a condition such as alcoholism by showing that they underwent inpatient treatment and suffered withdrawal symptoms while there.

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Life can be unfair. When an em­­ployee complains about unfairness at work, make sure you document the complaint and make some notes on exactly what she said. If you can show she never mentioned sex, race, age or some other protected characteristic as the underlying reason for the “unfair” treatment she complained about, she hasn’t engaged in “protected activity” and can’t bring a retaliation claim against her employer.

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The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas faces an EEOC age dis­crimination lawsuit after it dismissed a 70-year-old employee.

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Even a single comment can be enough to keep a sex discrimination case going—especially if the commentator happens to be a supervisor with firing authority.

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If you are going to oppose a former employee’s unemployment compensation application, determine what reasons you will present and stick to them. If you offer alternative reasons during the appeal process, chances increase that the court will allow the benefits.

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Here’s something to include in supervisory training sessions: Warn that negative comments about military service may put the employer on the defensive in the event the employee is terminated.

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Legislators are creating new protections for those who report vio­lations to regulatory agencies.

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A former lawyer in the Delaware County Public Defender’s Office who considered himself a zealous legal advocate has lost his appeal for unemployment compensation in Commonwealth Court.

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Employees who take protected FMLA leave are only entitled to return to their jobs after leave if they are cleared to perform that job. Employers that want a specific fitness-for-duty certification must ask for more than just the certification. They also have to provide the employee with a list of the job’s essential functions for the doctor to use when assessing fitness for duty.

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A federal judge has ruled that Radio Shack owes overtime to its salaried employees even though the overtime calculation method the company uses is legal under federal law. Radio Shack uses the fluctuating workweek method to figure overtime when worker hours vary week to week.

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