The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

It can happen before anyone in HR even realizes it: Managers or supervisors begin hiring applicants with ethnic or national backgrounds similar to their own. If you notice an unusually high number of similar employees concentrated in a division or section, it’s time for real efforts to make sure your staff fairly reflects the makeup of the overall work force …

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Employees who agree that they want an arbitrator to handle their absenteeism claims shortly after they have been disciplined can’t later file a federal FMLA or New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) claim …

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If your organization uses seniority as a factor in making promotion decisions, make sure you think through what sort of seniority you really want to use—company seniority or job seniority. Make sure managers and employees alike understand which type of seniority counts for promotions …

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As the 2008 election cycle intensifies, organized labor is devoting substantial resources to support candidates who will advance its ambitious legislative agenda in 2009. That agenda includes passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Employers must understand what EFCA passage would mean and what they can do now to ensure that union organizers do not target their employees …

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Courts are naturally suspicious when employers trot out subjective discharge reasons like “not a team player” or “fails to inspire subordinates,” which may mask an underlying discriminatory attitude. One way to add credibility to subjective evaluation criteria is to ask co-workers and subordinates for their confidential assessments …

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It’s not discrimination for an employer to offer training to some employees but not others—if the training doesn’t lead to greater pay, advancement opportunities or other tangible benefits. Simply put, employers don’t have to worry about discrimination lawsuits if their decisions are based on solid business reasons …

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Good—and somewhat obvious—news: Job applicants who are not members of a protected class can’t sue for discrimination on the basis that an employer’s hiring practices discriminate against minorities …

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In tight economic times, you may have to trim staff to save money. Undoubtedly, some of those RIF victims will be older. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be on the losing end of an age discrimination lawsuit. To check where you stand, do a quick age audit …

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One of the easiest ways for employees to win discrimination cases is to allege that their employers punished them for complaining about alleged discrimination. Often, employees win those retaliation cases even while losing the underlying discrimination complaint. But employers can defeat retaliation charges by showing that the employee never complained in the first place …

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Employers covered by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act don’t have to worry about being sued separately under the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment …

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