The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

A Harrisburg area gentlemen’s club faces a federal lawsuit alleging it failed to pay exotic dancers the minimum wage and proper overtime. Four dancers filed suit in federal court charging the club violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

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Offering the option to resign or retire instead of facing an investigation into alleged wrongdoing doesn’t always block a later lawsuit if the employee accepts—but it usually does. Be prepared to show the resignation or retirement was truly voluntary.

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Employees who have a pending request for FMLA leave and are just waiting for their doctor to provide the required medical certification must still follow call-in rules. Have a clear policy in place so employees understand what is expected before, during and after their FMLA leave request.

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Wage-and-hour cases can drag on—and sometimes turn into class-action lawsuits. That’s why settling early may make sense. But settlements can spawn even more lawsuits. To minimize that possibility, consider using a confidentiality clause.

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Here’s a case that shows how important it is to keep good records of the interview and hiring process. When a rejected applicant sued, an employer ended up having to call in former applicants to whom it had offered jobs but who had turned down the offers. The employer won the case on the strength of those other candidates’ testimony.

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Some employees may be embarrassed when they experience sex­­ual harassment. They may feel too uncomfortable to come right out and repeat offensive comments they heard. What should HR do?

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Qualified employees who take FMLA leave for their own serious health conditions are entitled to return to their old jobs or equivalent ones once their leave is over. But that’s only true if they are fully healed and able to do their jobs.

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You may have read that stray comments aren’t enough to create liability. That’s true. However, when those comments are “pervasive and regular,” it’s another matter. And the line between stray and regular is anything but clear.

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What do you do if an employee has used up her FMLA leave and her doctor has placed limits on the kind of work she can do? It’s fine to let her return with the restrictions. You won’t later lose an FMLA retaliation case for placing her on light duty.

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“Bring Your Own Device” policies are a growing trend, but can they bite back against employers?

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