The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Good news for federal employers: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) doesn’t give your employees additional rights to practice their religion. Instead, when an employee claims an employer’s grooming policies interfere with his right to practice his religion, only Title VII applies …

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The East Brunswick School District has sued high school football coach Marcus Borden to force him to stop praying with players. Borden argued successfully in lower court that the district violated his free speech rights by ordering him to stop actions he considers secular signs of respect …

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The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against employees because of their “association” with disabled people. But what about disciplining an employee for taking time off to care for the disabled person? According to a recent Pennsylvania case, that’s perfectly OK—as long as FMLA leave is not involved …

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No matter what you do, the workplace will never be free of tensions and annoyances. Although it’s a good idea to encourage courtesy and cordiality, you don’t have to worry that every little slight might come back in the form of a lawsuit …

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Employers nationwide breathed a sigh of relief when the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that employees must promptly bring discrimination claims. But the decision in the Ledbetter case isn’t as simple as press coverage may have suggested. In fact, any move a supervisor makes that could be interpreted as retaliation for the earlier, expired claim may be seen as retaliation for earlier complaints …

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Employees are supposed to file EEOC and Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) complaints that fully explain the discrimination claims they’re making. The idea is to let employers know early on what the complaint is all about so that the case can be settled or sent on to court. But courts are lenient, sometimes bending over backward to allow a late claim based on general language in the EEOC or PHRC complaint …

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Pennsylvania employers beware: The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) and Title VII require immediate action as soon as you learn about possible sexual harassment by a supervisor. That’s true even if the victim doesn’t come forward. If you wait until she complains, it may be too late …

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A Pennsylvania man has lost a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in which he sought to have the state erase his arrest record. He claimed that the arrest never resulted in a conviction because he was found “not guilty by reason of insanity,” and that the arrest record was keeping him from getting a job at the U.S. Postal Service …

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A former procurement-quality specialist for Boeing Company in Philadelphia does not have to accept reinstatement in lieu of front pay awarded by a jury in an age-discrimination suit, the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has ruled …

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Employers beware! Do your personnel policies—or how you enforce them—violate the National Labor Relations Act? The answer may surprise you, especially if you operate in a union-free environment. Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board heard oral arguments in a case that will determine whether employees have the right to use their company’s e-mail system, or other communications-based systems, to communicate with each other regarding union matters and terms and conditions of employment …

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