The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

A race discrimination lawsuit filed in 2011 by a former Pennsylvania State Police corporal got complicated late last year when allegations of other troopers’ overseas sexual hijinks surfaced.

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The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has begun sending Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters to federal contractors, warning that they may soon be subject to a compliance review or audit.

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When a good employee with no disciplinary record suddenly turns into a bad employee following FMLA leave, watch out. You may have on your hands a bitter supervisor who wants to punish the employee for disrupting workflow, creating scheduling hassles and otherwise making life more difficult. Before approving discipline or a poor evaluation, look deeper.

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The EEOC has great power and considerable autonomy when investigating employers. But that doesn’t mean the commission has carte blanche to do whatever it wants. In fact, courts have recently issued rulings that place significant curbs on some EEOC practices.

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The Rite-Aid drugstore chain, based in Camp Hill, will end 14 different over­­time lawsuits with one huge settlement of more than $27 million. Plaintiffs had alleged the company misclassified assistant managers and co-managers to avoid paying them overtime.

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As an HR professional, you’re probably used to mediating what seem like silly disputes between co-workers. If neither employee mentions race, chances are a simple personality conflict is at the heart of the matter. Leave it at that—with a note for the record.

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Usually, courts considering whether an employee worked in a hostile environment look at a period of weeks, months or years to assess whether the alleged har­assment was severe and pervasive enough to become truly hostile. But sometimes just a few days will do the trick.

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The next time you discipline an em­­ployee, consider how his conduct compares to others who broke a similar rule. Then detail the differences if the punishment varies. That way, you can later explain why two employees violating a similar rule deserved different punishments.

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The Point Brugge Café, in Pitts­­burgh’s East End, must pay $37,719 to 39 workers that the U.S. Depart­­ment of Labor says were stiffed by an illegal tip-pooling system.

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The parent company of na’Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse in Horsham will pay $110,369 to 42 workers following a DOL investigation that concluded the restaurant misclassified servers in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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