The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Employers are responsible for the way their employees behave. Threatening behavior toward fellow employees or customers that causes emotional or physical harm can lead to a negligent-supervision lawsuit.

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Q. If we suspend an employee “pending investigation,” what information must we provide to the employee?

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The financial meltdown has spelled job creation for one office: The Pennsylvania unemployment hotline recently hired 132 additional staffers.

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Philadelphia-based CIGNA has instituted a complete smoking ban at all of its 179 properties, effective April 1.

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As Valentine’s Day draws near, it’s time to take a loving look at that everlasting HR worry … the office romance. Supervisor-subordinate relationships can spell real trouble, and it’s no solace if—at least for a while—the subordinate welcomed the boss’s advances. More cheerfully, there’s good news about where our priorities are these days.

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The ongoing soap opera that is Philadelphia news broadcasting seems to be winding down. Former WCAU-TV news anchor Vince DeMentri has settled for an undisclosed sum for a sex discrimination complaint…

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Nieland Bynoe was hired as a driver for UPS Freight in 2007. He hadn’t even made it through orientation, however, before he was fired for refusing to shave his beard and cut off his dreadlocks … The EEOC has sued on his behalf.

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Don’t be surprised if your employees who are bicycling enthusiasts approach HR about a bicycle commuting benefit recently passed into federal law. The Bicycle Commuter Act allows employers of every size to deduct the cost of subsidizing bicycle commuting from their federal taxes.

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An unexpected visit from a government regulator such as OSHA is often unwelcome—and unsettling, too. If you have taken the time to prepare for an OSHA inspection, however, it need not be traumatic. Advance planning and preparation not only make the inspection proceed without difficulty, but also allow you to be in control.

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By now you know that employers can’t fire or otherwise punish employees because they’re pregnant. But what about employees who choose to have an abortion? Make sure your supervisors know it’s illegal to discriminate against them, too.

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