The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

When it comes to promoting employees, try to make sure everyone has a fair shot at opportunities. And if you ever bend the rules, realize that you may end up having that flexibility used against you if you don’t do the same for others.

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In cases where you may be concerned about a lawsuit over firing an employee, consider instead a last-change agreement. Think of it as hitting the reset button. Both the employer and the employee have one last chance to save the relationship.

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Employers with a robust anti-harassment policy can sometimes escape liability if employees unreasonably fail to take advantage of the policy to report alleged harassment. The idea is that employers should have a chance to fix the problem. But if your process is somehow stacked against alleged victims, don’t expect a court to let you off the hook.

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Sometimes, an employee may feel as if she has no viable option except to fight back against a bully or harasser. That puts you, as the employer, in a difficult spot. Do you launch a full-scale investigation, try to sort out which employee is telling the truth and then fire the one you believe most culpable? If that’s the employee who physically struck the other, you may be making the wrong choice.

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Business models that lean heavily on independent contractors are tempting a DOL investigation. Might you be in a targeted industry?

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New Castle-based pipe fitting manufacturer EZEFLOW USA has agreed to pay $65,000 to settle a disability discrimination suit filed by a former marine who had requested six weeks of unpaid leave to treat seizures resulting from his service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Gov. Tom Wolf has asked the legislature to send him a bill providing protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

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Carefully consider whether an employee really qualifies as disabled before providing reasonable accommodations. Don’t focus solely on the number of treatments an injury or condition requires. Focus instead on whether the condition substantially impairs a life function.

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A co-worker has confessed to shooting and killing the executive director of a Philadelphia nonprofit while she waited for her morning bus.

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It’s no secret: International news often upsets Americans, especially since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But frustration about terrorism and other threats shouldn’t be allowed to spill over in the workplace, especially if another staff member is unfairly singled out for abuse based on nothing more than his national origin or religion.

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