The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Employees fired for willful misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. But what is willful misconduct? The term is broad and can include all kinds of behavior, such as refusing to cooperate with an employer’s rea­­sonable request for information.

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If an employer is sued for discrimination, harassment or retaliation, chances are all emails related to the employee will be shared with the em­­ployee’s attorneys. Anything said in those emails can then be used against you to prove discrimination—or that you tried to set up the employee for discharge because she filed a discrimination complaint.

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A federal judge has granted exotic dancers at a Harrisburg-area adult entertainment club class-action status in their wage-and-hour lawsuit against their employer.

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Warn supervisors that they shouldn’t comment on the time that employees take off for medical treatments. If the underlying medical condition is a disability under the ADA, such comments may come back later to haunt the employer.

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There are ways to discourage FMLA leave abuse. One is to make taking leave just a little inconvenient by requiring more than a simple call-in. You can, for example, require the employee to notify both his supervisor and someone in the HR or benefits office. That’s perfectly fine as long as everyone on intermittent leave has to do the same.

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Wage-and-hour issues could take center stage in 2015, with federal, state and local legislative battles looming over increases to the minimum wage, more wage-and-hour litigation and proposed regulations that could dramatically narrow the overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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Current and former employees of the Social Security Administration will receive $6.6 million to settle charges the agency failed to accommodate disabled workers and denied them promotions. A federal judge in Baltimore has given preliminary approval to the deal.

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An employee who doesn’t receive the commissions he believes he is owed can quit and still receive unemployment compensation.

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As long as you consider all candidates on their individual merits and not solely because of what sex, age, race or ethnicity they belong to, your efforts at diversity won’t get you in trouble.

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If you have a large enough HR office, it makes good sense to keep the FMLA request and approval process separate from the disciplinary process. Doing so ensures that someone with expertise in FMLA administration handles the entire process. But there is an additional benefit.

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