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The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

The current workforce consists of four generations with unique strengths, values, expectations and, perhaps, limitations. Used poorly, generation-specific employment practices could create legal liabilities.

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A waiter at a Philadelphia area Apple­­bee’s will have to go it alone against the company after a federal judge reluctantly admitted the man signed away his right to litigate in federal court when he joined the company.

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A former special needs therapist has lost her bid for unemployment compensation after a supervisor testified that the therapist told students she needed therapy herself because of the way the students behaved. The incident occurred while the supervisor was observing the class.

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Make sure you understand exactly when and how employees receive their pay. Reason: You could be personally liable for violating the Penn­­syl­­vania Wage Payment and Col­­lec­­tion Law (WPCL).

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Does your organization have a supervisor who frequently interviews and wants to hire younger applicants at the expense of older ones? That supervisor’s “dream team” may end up as Exhibit A in an age discrimination lawsuit.

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Before approving an employee’s request to telecommute from her home in a different state, consider that you may have to follow a different set of employment laws. If she ends up suing your company, she may do so in the state where she performed her work.

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For many years, employers felt safe denying accommodations for allegedly disabled employees when it was clear that their medical conditions were temporary and not permanent. That’s no longer the best approach.

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If you’re ready to fire an employee for missing too much work, be sure to document the absences and pinpoint when you made the termination decision. Your records may come in handy if she sues and claims her leave was FMLA-protected.

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By some estimates, more than a million people participate in internships each year in the United States, as many as half of them unpaid or for less than the minimum wage. That can be a problem for em­­ployers: Misclassifying employees as unpaid interns can result in costly litigation, civil fines or both.

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Employers are free to run FMLA leave concurrently with other paid leave. Just make sure you tell employees exactly how you are accounting for their FMLA leave.

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