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The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical marijuana use, even though the federal government continues to classify marijuana as an illegal drug. Pennsylvania hasn’t yet enacted a medical marijuana law, but that could change thanks to legislation that has been introduced in the General Assembly.

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Morgantown-based Morgan Truck Body has been cited for 24 safety and health violations at a factory in Georgia. The citations result from OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which scrutinizes industries with high occupational illness and injury rates.

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Matrix Integrated Facility Management, one of the Philadelphia area’s largest commercial janitorial firms, will pay $450,000 to 15 former employees to settle EEOC race discrimination and retaliation charges.

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Employers that don’t post internal promotion opportunities are risking unnecessary lawsuits. The fact is, when jobs aren’t posted, employees can sue over the lost opportunity to apply.

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If you terminate subpar workers, it goes without saying that you must be prepared to show they were, in fact, poor performers. Do so by using objective performance measures. Let the facts and figures speak for themselves.

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You may think that a long-term arrangement with an independent contractor to provide professional services will never be considered an employment relationship. But that’s not true if you exert too much control over the way the work is done. And according to a recent Commonwealth Court decision, it doesn’t take all that much control.

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Ten years of litigation has finally come to an end now that a federal appeals court has tossed the last claims of an employee who acted as her own lawyer.

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When an employer doesn’t have a set policy on whether an employee can change his mind about retiring, refusing to rescind a retirement request isn’t enough to support a discrimination or retaliation lawsuit.

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If your sexual harassment policy is comprehensive, any complaint may trigger an investigation that uncovers many violations—perhaps even by the complaining employee. When that happens, the best policy is to let the investigation take its course and document everything. Then discipline everyone who violated the policy.

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If an employee isn’t working as hard as you expect, reducing his pay might conceivably provide enough of a kick in the pants that he’ll pick up the pace. As long as you carefully document why you are making the pay cut, he won’t win a discrimination case even if his pay puts him at a lower level than others outside his protected class who perform the same job.

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