The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

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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If you sometimes need temporary help, you probably turn to companies that hire and manage day laborers. Keep the relationship strictly professional to avoid potential liability as an employer. Instruct supervisors to defer any questions on pay, hours and potential hiring to the temp agency and remind them not to promise anything.

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If you don’t terminate an employee for an obvious firing of­­fense but later use that reason to justify a discharge, you’d better have a good explanation for the delay. Otherwise, a jury may see the move as a pretext for some form of discrimination.

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Don’t let what you know is a meritless complaint keep you from disciplining an employee. If you can show the process was already under way and you had a solid business reason, go ahead and discipline the worker.

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous interpretation on Jan. 27 of the meaning of “changing clothes” in the FLSA is significant for unionized ­­employers in industries in which workers must change clothes to begin and end their work shifts.

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Do you have an employee who is so disruptive that co-workers repeatedly complain? You may have to fire her. Before you do, carefully document how her behavior negatively affects the workplace and what rules she is breaking.

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Gov. Tom Corbett told the Phila­­del­­phia Inquirer that he supports a bill extending anti-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers.

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Disabled employees who return to work before fully healed may be eligible for light-duty positions or other modifications as reasonable accommodations. However, employers that allow leave until the employee is fully healed don’t have that obligation.

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The current workforce consists of four generations with unique strengths, values, expectations and, perhaps, limitations. Used poorly, generation-specific employment practices could create legal liabilities.

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