The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

The economic recovery and stimulus bill President Obama signed Feb. 17 features several provisions affecting HR. Most require federal agencies to write new administrative rules, so it’s difficult to predict now exactly how they will work on an everyday basis. Here are some key provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Employers aren’t allowed to count absences covered by the FMLA when they discipline employees. That’s why it’s important to segregate any such absences from performance reviews and any discussions about attendance.

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Here’s a lesson to pass on to managers and supervisors: Employees who win FMLA lawsuits after being denied the right to take leave can end up with a large pot of gold at the end of the litigation—a pot that has to be filled by the company.

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A recent report offers some ominous news for Pennsylvania employers. Pennsylvania is one of eight states that saw an increase in class-action wage-and-hour cases filed in state court last year, according to the Seyfarth Shaw law firm’s new Workplace Class Action Litigation Report.

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Carole Smith, who worked for property management firm Normandy Properties, sued the company for pregnancy discrimination, and a jury awarded her $600,000 in compensatory damages. Then it assessed the company $1.2 million in punitive damages.

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By now, most employers have heard of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the proposed legislation that would make it dramatically easier for unions to organize workers and obtain favorable terms in the initial collective-bargaining agreement. Is it time to panic? Of course not, but it is time to take action.

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Thanks to a new program, Lancaster County workers no longer will have an excuse for refusing to work odd hours. The Red Rose Transit Authority is trying to expand the number of low-income riders who use the company’s van service to get to and from work before or after regular bus hours.

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Williamsport Area School District elementary school teacher Beth Camp faces charges after police seized 72 pounds of marijuana from her Lycoming Township home.

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If you are planning to visit the Philadelphia regional office for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, make sure you have the correct address. The agency recently moved …

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Kitchen supply store Williams-Sonoma closed its Camp Hill call center in January. The company opted to pay its employees 60 days’ wages in lieu of providing the 60-day warning required by the federal WARN Act.

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