The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Murphy Ford of Chester will pay $244,000 to settle sexual harassment complaints from three female employees. According to a complaint filed with the EEOC, the women complained to management about the dealership’s service manager who used to grab his private parts and make sexually explicit comments.

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A hearing examiner for the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board has ruled the Loyalsock Township School District engaged in an unfair labor practice when it failed to release the salary scale the district and teachers’ union agreed upon in the final contract.

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President Obama has issued four executive orders that fundamentally change the government’s policy on federal contracting—in ways that dramatically favor organized labor. Obama signed the four new orders less than 30 days after taking office.

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The federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently ruled that UPS’ policy of requiring injured employees to be fully healed before they can return to work constitutes discrimination under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

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Normally courts are pretty lenient in allowing poor plaintiffs to file lawsuits. But the federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently decided a disabled man who had filed 11 lawsuits in that court since 1999 no longer deserved the court’s indulgence.

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An arbitrator has ruled that the EEOC willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing employees to take comp time instead of overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours a week. The EEOC will be liable for back pay, plus liquidated damages that so far haven’t been determined.

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Your business has crunched the numbers, considered the alternatives and come to the conclusion that layoffs are necessary if the business is to remain afloat during these challenging economic times. But how much thought have you given to your remaining employees who are about to watch their friends and colleagues lose their jobs?

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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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