The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Government employees can’t be punished for exercising their First Amendment rights. But that rule has important restrictions. One of those is that, ordi­­narily, filing an internal grievance isn’t protected speech.

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Market Burgers, which owns a Checkers fast-food franchise in West Philadelphia, faces charges it pays women less than men and doesn’t let women work as many hours as men.

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Before you terminate an employee for breaking a company rule, be sure that you have someone else look at the situation. Never rely strictly on the supervisor’s view of events.

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Forward Air may have to go to court after it granted but then denied a request for FMLA leave from an employee at its Harrisburg air freight facility.

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The subject of an EEOC gender discrimination lawsuit claims he berates all his employees, not just the women. The owner of Ricardo’s Restaurant in Erie said so in a response to a sexual harassment suit filed against him by a former employee.

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When an employee cites her religion as a reason she can’t abide by a company rule or requirement, it’s not up to the you to judge the validity of that belief. As long as it’s a sincerely held belief, employers have to look for a reasonable accommodation that meets the employee’s needs.

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Don’t assume that just because a worker is an independent contractor, he can’t sue you when his contract isn’t renewed. While he may not be able to sue under Title VII for various forms of discrimination, he can still sue for alleged racial discrimination.

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Always double-check that an employee who has requested FMLA leave is actually eligible. It’s crucial if you operate out of several states or have multiple offices, since some locations may not be large enough to require FMLA coverage.

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In an effort to control health care costs, Pennsylvania State University is requiring covered employees and their spouses or partners to provide specific health information and submit to a battery of blood tests. Other­­wise, they’ll pay a $100 surcharge on top of their health premiums.

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Not everyone has an easy pregnancy, birth and recovery. Em­­ployers that refuse to recognize this reality and don’t offer accommodations for unusual circumstances face potential liability under both the FMLA and the ADA. What’s more, HR professionals and supervisors may find themselves personally liable for mistakes they make along the way.

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