The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

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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By now, most employers have heard of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the proposed legislation that would make it dramatically easier for unions to organize workers and obtain favorable terms in the initial collective-bargaining agreement. Is it time to panic? Of course not, but it is time to take action.

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These difficult economic times could get worse. As you think about your labor budget, consider that many Pennsylvania employers are already taking steps to reduce staff. Some are cutting the wages of those who are lucky enough to keep their jobs. This last tactic even has a new name—“wage adjustment.”

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has levied a $65,000 fine on Chicago-based Exelon Nuclear, after someone videotaped sleeping guards at its Peach Bottom nuclear plant and turned it over to the media.

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Thanks to a new program, Lancaster County workers no longer will have an excuse for refusing to work odd hours. The Red Rose Transit Authority is trying to expand the number of low-income riders who use the company’s van service to get to and from work before or after regular bus hours.

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Williamsport Area School District elementary school teacher Beth Camp faces charges after police seized 72 pounds of marijuana from her Lycoming Township home.

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If you are planning to visit the Philadelphia regional office for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, make sure you have the correct address. The agency recently moved …

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Kitchen supply store Williams-Sonoma closed its Camp Hill call center in January. The company opted to pay its employees 60 days’ wages in lieu of providing the 60-day warning required by the federal WARN Act.

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