The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Q. Can I consider safety when deciding whether to hire a disabled applicant or retain an employee with a disability?

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When employees quit, always ask them for a written resignation.

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Bethlehem-based KGB-USA has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle charges it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when it misclassified 14,568 home workers as independent contractors.

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The EEOC has begun an effort to protect LGBT workers’ rights by broadly interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC’s newly released Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013-2016 lists “coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII” as one of its top six national en­­forcement priorities.

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When a new supervisor arrives and makes changes, criticizes work performance and otherwise challenges old ways of doing things, thin-skinned employees may complain about working in a hostile environment. But just complaining about workplace unpleasantness doesn’t make a winning lawsuit.

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Here’s a bit of good news. Just because an employee claims she was hurt at work and files for workers’ compensation doesn’t mean she automatically has a federal ADA retaliation case if she’s fired.

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The National Labor Relations Board’s Division of Advice recently released a memorandum that should hearten ­­employers. It concluded that requiring employees to sign an agreement that contains a noncompete clause or a “moonlighting” provision would not unlawfully interfere with an employee’s exercise of rights under Section 7 of National Labor Relations Act.

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Sometimes, an employee asks for schedule changes, extra hours or even permission to work from home now and then. If you grant such requests, track them carefully.

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Generally, simply calling in sick doesn’t trigger an employer’s obligations to offer FMLA leave. But what if the employee was very specific about his medical condition when he first called in and clearly was eligible for FMLA leave for that first absence? Does he have to be equally specific later?

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After the EEOC concluded that a female partner in the Philadelphia office of the Greenberg Traurig law firm had been underpaid by $50,000, she decided to get even.

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