The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

If you’ve ever wondered whether allowing an employee to take medical leave will tie your hands if it comes time to challenge that employee’s disability claim, take heart. Just because you didn’t ask for medical proof of disability once, that doesn’t mean you can’t later …

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When you’re thinking about discharging a problem employee, consider running a criminal background check. In many cases, discovering a serious crime conviction can provide additional justification …

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Pennsylvania employers will have to go to greater lengths to keep employees’ and customers’ Social Security numbers private in the wake of new legislation signed by Gov. Rendell this summer …

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State Rep. Linda Bebko-Jones (D-Erie) has proposed a 10 percent payroll tax on businesses and a 3 percent personal income tax to provide universal health care coverage to Pennsylvanians. State Sen. Jim Ferlo, (D-Allegheny) proposed a companion bill earlier in the session …

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Gov. Rendell signed legislation last month that increases Pennsylvania’s minimum wage by $2 per hour phased in over the next two years, but smaller businesses will have more time before having to pay the higher rates …

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Because of a quirk in Pennsylvania law, employers may soon see an uptick in state-based employment lawsuits. Reason: A federal court clarified that all state employment claims must be filed within the appropriate state statute of limitations (one year, for example, on defamation cases). Employees can’t wait to file a state claim until the EEOC or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission completes its investigation, the court said …

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If your organization’s supervisors tend to ignore all that "HR talk" about FMLA leave, here’s one way to get their attention: Point out that, in addition to suing your organization, employees can sue their bosses (and HR directors!) personally for FMLA-related mistakes …

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Here’s one more reason to double-check your job descriptions: Some exempt employees may try to claim they’re entitled to overtime pay simply because they spend a fair amount of time on filing and typing …

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If economic conditions force you to downsize, be prepared for lawsuits. That’s especially true if no employees stand out as obvious poor performers who should be canned. In such cases, articulate that you have no choice but to fire "the worst of the best" …

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Pennsylvania law makes it easy to enforce noncompete contracts. But trying to make a business-interference claim against an ex-employee is almost a lost cause …

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