The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

When a supervisor says something insensitive, employers must fix the problem and then make sure the comment doesn’t reflect some sort of deep bias. Follow up on the comment with appropriate discipline and then check to see that any discipline recommended by the supervisor is based on independently verifiable information.

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If an employee rebuffs your offers to consider her for ADA accommodations or FMLA leave, make sure you document her desires. That way, she can’t come back later and claim you didn’t accommodate her or give her leave.

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Remember: Pennsylvania employees have just 300 days to file an EEOC complaint.

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The EEOC has sued construction giant Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. for refusing to hire an apparently well-qualified backhoe operator after the company learned the man has diabetes.

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Paul Lesko was contrite when he appeared in Cumberland County court for sentencing following his conviction of embezzlement. While working for Westy Beer Distributor in Hampden Township, Lesko had taken more than $7,625 from owner James Yaple.

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Workplace investigations sometimes open a can of worms. What if, for example, you find out that an employee complaining about sexual harassment had engaged in wrongdoing, too? Even if the wrongdoing is related to the underlying sexual harassment complaint, you can and should punish the employee for that.

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If the EEOC thinks a complaint it receives may have national implications and wants more information, it has the power to expand its investigation. The agency can seek subpoenas to demand a long list of records from your company as it seeks to develop a broader, perhaps national case against you. The good news is that federal courts generally will scale down the request if you ask.

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According to the EEOC, Pittsburgh-based Lifecare Hospital showed a remarkable lack of compassion when it fired business manager Diana Altieri-Hand, who had cancer at the time. Saner heads prevailed once hospital officials contemplated the prospect of a hospital justifying to a jury why it mistreated a cancer patient.

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Are Pennsylvania employers ready for yet another category of protected employees? Another bill has been introduced in the General Assembly that would protect all Pennsylvanians from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

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Tullytown-based Meenan Oil has settled an age discrimination suit filed by 72-year-old Louis Ceccoli, who was fired and then replaced by a substantially younger worker. Ceccoli built his case on derogatory comments his sales manager made about older workers.

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