The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

To help control significant health care cost increases, many employers are trying to regulate employees’ off-duty behavior when they believe that it creates health risks. Although motivated by legitimate economic concerns, are these employers overstepping the boundaries of individual privacy? …

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Same work, fewer expenses and less hassle. That’s the perceived advantage of using independent contractors. But many employers have opted for freelancers only to find a new set of problems: lack of control, unreliable workers and, in some cases, litigation. It’s a complex issue that has invited wide scrutiny. A host of federal and state agencies are cracking down on employers that misclassify workers as independent contractors …

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A federal trial court has rebuffed attempts by a law firm to enforce an arbitration agreement against one of its own attorneys. The attorney, a woman, claimed that she had been paid less than male attorneys for the same work. She sued …

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Philadelphia funeral home directors Louis Garzone, Gerald Garzone and James McCafferty have been indicted for robbing bones, spines and tissue from 244 bodies. They allegedly sold the parts for transplantation …

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Preliminary figures from a state audit of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) revealed extravagant expenditures by the agency, including a $108,000 employee appreciation day at Hershey Park just a month after PHEAA promised to curb spending …

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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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