The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

How far can employees go when firing off comments on the web on their own time? What if the employee is a public servant? For Bernie Kieklak, chief of staff for state Sen. Lisa Boscola, the answer is pretty far …

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More and more employers are conducting criminal background checks on prospective and current employees, and that means employers are asking tough questions about prior arrests and convictions in the application process. To avoid potential liability, your company needs to develop practices and procedures for managing the process. You need to understand applicable state and federal laws concerning background checks …

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Immigration reform was a hot topic in Washington during the first half of 2007, but Congress ultimately failed to pass legislation to tighten enforcement of decades-old laws that regulate which foreign-born workers are eligible to work in the United States. Fairly or not, look for employers and the HR functions to bear much of the enforcement responsibilities. Your best bet: Make sure you document employees’ eligibility to work by thoroughly completing and maintaining up-to-date I-9 forms …

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Pennsylvania employees who quit their jobs when their employers move can sometimes collect unemployment compensation. The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review looks at individual situations and determines whether the move forced the employees to quit for “necessitous and compelling” reasons. Examples include a longer, more expensive commute or disruption of child care routines …

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To streamline the work force, some employers encourage early retirement and may even include an inducement in the form of enhanced benefits. But unless the employer informs the employee her job is endangered unless she signs up, the employee is probably not eligible for unemployment compensation …

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Winning Fair Labor Standards Act cases involving employees who claim they shouldn’t have been classified as exempt usually means being able to document exactly what employees do on the job and the conditions under which they work …

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A federal judge has ruled that a Philadelphia police officer does not have the right to wear a hijab, or head scarf, when she is in uniform. Kimberlie Webb, an officer since 1995, was suspended after showing up three times at roll call wearing her hijab, despite being told not to. The EEOC filed suit against the Philadelphia police department …

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After losing $50,000 in Las Vegas, Nestlé sales executive Henry Machinski, fearful of telling his wife, launched a scheme with gambling buddy Vincent Marchese, an Allentown grocer. They created a fictitious company, AP Foods. Machinski wrote checks to AP Foods for Nestlé promotional payments, which the pair then cashed and split …

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No doubt you’ve read recent accounts about the prevalence of identity theft and the use of Social Security numbers to obtain fraudulent credit cards and other documents. But the rise in such crimes does not excuse employees from giving their Social Security numbers to employers …

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Not every allegation of sexual harassment is well-founded, and some employees may be overly sensitive. That’s why your investigation should consider all sides, including the alleged victim’s reaction and treatment of the alleged harasser. As the following case shows, a thorough investigation may reveal that the problem is with the alleged victim’s perception and his or her response to the alleged harassment …

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