The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

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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Employees are supposed to file EEOC and Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) complaints that fully explain the discrimination claims they’re making. The idea is to let employers know early on what the complaint is all about so that the case can be settled or sent on to court. But courts are lenient, sometimes bending over backward to allow a late claim based on general language in the EEOC or PHRC complaint …

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Pennsylvania employers beware: The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) and Title VII require immediate action as soon as you learn about possible sexual harassment by a supervisor. That’s true even if the victim doesn’t come forward. If you wait until she complains, it may be too late …

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A Pennsylvania man has lost a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in which he sought to have the state erase his arrest record. He claimed that the arrest never resulted in a conviction because he was found “not guilty by reason of insanity,” and that the arrest record was keeping him from getting a job at the U.S. Postal Service …

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A former procurement-quality specialist for Boeing Company in Philadelphia does not have to accept reinstatement in lieu of front pay awarded by a jury in an age-discrimination suit, the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has ruled …

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Employers beware! Do your personnel policies—or how you enforce them—violate the National Labor Relations Act? The answer may surprise you, especially if you operate in a union-free environment. Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board heard oral arguments in a case that will determine whether employees have the right to use their company’s e-mail system, or other communications-based systems, to communicate with each other regarding union matters and terms and conditions of employment …

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Employers are legally obligated to maintain a safe work environment. When employees commit violent acts against co-workers or customers, employers can be held responsible through negligent-hiring and supervision lawsuits. Each year, roughly 1,000 people are workplace homicide victims. And research shows that killings are five to seven times more likely to occur at workplaces where guns are allowed …

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A director of nursing for the John J. Kane Regional Center, an Allegheny County long-term care facility in Glen Hazel, sued the county, alleging she was fired for reporting unsafe conditions to authorities after a resident drowned in a bathtub in June 2005 …

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Do your employees have to put on special uniforms or equipment before beginning work? If the law or your company policy requires it, chances are the time spent getting in and out of the clothing or equipment should be paid time …

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Employers must post a copy of the approved federal FMLA poster “conspicuously” in the workplace. Neglecting to do so opens the door for lawsuits if you discipline employees for absences that would have been covered by FMLA. Those employees may claim they didn’t ask for FMLA leave because they weren’t familiar with the law …

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