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The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

You may think that what your employees do on their own time—at work or socially—is their business. That could be a big mistake. Your company culture may end up as evidence in a race discrimination lawsuit someday soon unless you do something about institutional and social segregation.

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While you may think it isn’t necessary because it seems so obvious, you must warn supervisors that making fun of any impairment is asking for trouble. Remind them that they must focus on performance when criticizing work, even if they believe that an impairment is affecting performance.

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Some jobs require co-workers to get along and support one another. An employee who isn’t a team player may cause enough problems to warrant termination. But “team player” is a subjective term.

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Even if an internal discrimination complaint proves unfounded, you must still ensure that the em­­ployee who complained isn’t punished for doing so. Remind supervisors and the employee that you won’t tolerate any type of retaliation.

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Here’s some advice on creating good disciplinary records: When employees break the same or similar rules but end up with different dis­cipline, make sure your records specify why you believed one deserved harsher punishment than another.

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Fortune magazine has listed its 100 best companies to work for in 2014 and Altoona-based Sheetz convenience stores is the sole Pennsylvania-based company on the list.

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Lancaster-based Horizons Healthcare fired a nurse after she refused to have a flu vaccine. The company requires its employees to get flu shots to limit potential epidemics. The nurse offered to wear a mask while on duty, instead. It’s a case that has yet to result in a lawsuit—but it could.

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Here’s some good, sensible news. If you hire a consulting firm and that company works on site, you won’t be liable for harassment between consulting firm employees.

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Employees who lose a job often don’t believe the discharge reason their employer provides. They look for some apparent underlying illegal discrimination and sue. Smart employers are ready to explain the entire discharge process from beginning to end.

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The NLRB has ordered the Pitts­­burgh Athletic Association to forward union dues it collected from its employees to UNITE HERE Local 57, the union that represents club workers. The union’s NLRB complaint alleged that the club stopped remitting the dues in Novem­­ber 2012.

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