The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

It’s frustrating to deal with employees who call in on short notice to say they won’t be able to make it to work. Even so, don’t let it get to you. An angry reaction could launch an FMLA lawsuit. That could happen if you are already thinking about terminating the employee.

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Make sure managers and supervisors understand that belittling name-calling has no place in the workplace and won’t be tolerated. Bans on obscenity aren’t enough. You must also stop other sexist terms, such as referring to a woman as “Barbie.”

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Supervisors who handle employee return-to-work requests following FMLA leave must know what they are doing. Otherwise, your legal risk could rise significantly.

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You will never know which employee will sue or for what reason. That’s a good reason to carefully track all discipline and make the records easy to access.

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When an employee takes FMLA leave because her physician says she’s too sick to work and needs to stay home, it’s natural to assume she’ll follow the doctor’s orders. But what if you discover that she isn’t—and is instead working for someone else during her leave? Can you terminate her? Of course.

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Employees are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits if they were fired for creating a hostile work environment. That usually amounts to willful misconduct, which disqualifies them from collecting unemployment. But not every crude or stupid action is serious enough to bar benefits, as this case shows.

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A Western Pennsylvania cardiology practice has agreed to settle EEOC sexual harassment charges alleging that its doctors routinely made sexually offensive and debasing comments to women who worked there.

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Philadelphia employers that do business with the city had to begin providing paid sick leave to their employees on July 1, when new provisions of the city’s “21st Century Minimum Wage Standard” went into effect.

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A Fayette County grocery store will pay $95,000 to settle four sexual harassment complaints filed by female employees who alleged the store’s meat manager harassed them by constantly making crude remarks and touching them.

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One of the most dangerous smartphone functions (from the employer perspective) is also one of the simplest: sending text messages. Considering the rise in harassment claims based on texts, employers should develop policies addressing textual harassment in the workplace.

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