The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

It’s perfectly legitimate to prohibit recreational travel during any approved, paid sick leave. If you also happen to substitute paid sick leave for unpaid FMLA leave, you can still enforce the same no-vacations policy.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said it fired Steve Barto from his job as an environmental group manager because he intimidated employees, used racial slurs and behaved erratically. When Barto sued the DEP for allegedly violating his civil rights, he painted a different picture.

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You probably know you must document all disciplinary actions. Take that a step further by categorizing the discipline.

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Not every hiring preference is evidence of discrimination. You can limit the number of applicants by setting parameters—such as considering current employees first.

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A federal court considering the question for the first time has concluded that workers over a certain age can challenge the disparate impact a reduction in force may have on that age group.

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Let’s say one of your employees complains she’s been sexually harassed. If you conclude she may be right, it’s time to come up with an effective remedy. The harassment has to stop. If it doesn’t, it’s almost certain you will be sued. The key is following up with the complaining employee.

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Ordinarily, when employees claim their terminations were because of race or other protected characteristics, they try to prove discrimination by showing they were replaced by workers outside their protected class. But if the employer outsourced the work, the racial, sexual or other characteristics of the employees now performing the jobs isn’t relevant.

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When a supervisor recommends discipline or anything else that could be viewed as an adverse employment action, be sure to check the employee’s latest evaluation before you approve it. If what the boss says is currently going on appears inconsistent with the evaluation, find out why.

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The DOl  and IRS continue to aggressively enforce laws against misclassifying employees as independent contractors. But a major shift has taken hold in the past two years, with state legislatures and regulators actively taking a greater role in cracking down on companies that classify workers as contractors without properly documenting or structuring their relationships with those individuals.

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Intermittent FMLA leave can be a pain, especially in industries where attendance is crucial. That’s particularly true in nursing and related fields. But employees who are otherwise eligible for intermittent FMLA leave can’t be denied that right merely because it’s inconvenient for employers …

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