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The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

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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Pepsi Beverages will pay $3.1 million to resolve EEOC charges that it discriminated against minorities when it refused to hire applicants with arrest records.

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The Milton Hershey School, founded by chocolate magnate Milton Hershey to help underprivileged children, faces discrimination charges after it refused to admit a 13-year-old boy who is HIV-positive.

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Philadelphia-based Imperial Security will pay $50,000 to settle EEOC charges it discriminated against a woman and fired her because of her religious attire.

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A former manager at a Pittsburgh-area Panera Bread shop is suing the chain, claiming he was fired in retaliation for refusing to implement his boss’s racist directive.

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Here’s some comfort if you discover a supervisor has made unwise comments to employees: Ambiguous statements probably aren’t enough to form the basis of a hostile work environment claim.

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Plenty of employers vigorously en­­force their work rules when employees break them. But not every employee deserves exactly the same punishment if there are differences in their conduct. That’s why it’s important to document every detail.

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