The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Citing last June’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Windsor v. US, federal district judge John E. Jones has invalidated Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. The decision could eventually force employers to revamp benefits programs to include employees’ same-sex spouses.

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Sometimes, there are several ways to  accommodate a disabled employee. As long as the one the em­­­­ployer chooses is reasonable, the employee can’t claim an ADA violation.

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Prompt, fair resolution of harassment complaints is the best way to prevent litigation—and defend yourself if a lawsuit happens anyway.

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Here’s yet another reason to stop employees who sexually harass female co-workers, subordinates or customers: Men who work in that environment but refuse to join in can also sue for sexual harassment. It’s not just the harassed women who have claims.

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Employees have to file EEOC complaints within 300 days of alleged discrimination or lose the right to sue. Similarly, they have to file state claims within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. If they miss those deadlines, they can’t sue. Repeatedly changing one’s mind about a situation involving an allegedly discriminatory act doesn’t extend or revive the deadline.

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Some workplace behavior is so outrageous that employers must take immediate action. While a complete and thorough investigation is ideal, don’t be afraid to act fast when necessary.

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A long-time security guard in the Philadelphia School District has filed a religious discrimination suit following the district’s decision to change its grooming policy. The new policy says male employees’ beards can be no longer than a quarter of an inch.

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A Pottstown, Pa. teacher who quit rather than accept a transfer won’t receive unemployment benefits following a Com­­mon­­wealth Court ruling.

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Good news for state agencies: If a terminated employee requests a hearing before the Civil Service Commission and later files an FMLA claim in Commonwealth Court, he can’t also file a federal FMLA claim.

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Many companies fail to align their handbooks with the realities of their business. As a result, they end up with a handbook that does more harm than good. Here’s what they should include.

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