The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

The ongoing soap opera that is Philadelphia news broadcasting seems to be winding down. Former WCAU-TV news anchor Vince DeMentri has settled for an undisclosed sum for a sex discrimination complaint…

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Nieland Bynoe was hired as a driver for UPS Freight in 2007. He hadn’t even made it through orientation, however, before he was fired for refusing to shave his beard and cut off his dreadlocks … The EEOC has sued on his behalf.

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Don’t be surprised if your employees who are bicycling enthusiasts approach HR about a bicycle commuting benefit recently passed into federal law. The Bicycle Commuter Act allows employers of every size to deduct the cost of subsidizing bicycle commuting from their federal taxes.

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An unexpected visit from a government regulator such as OSHA is often unwelcome—and unsettling, too. If you have taken the time to prepare for an OSHA inspection, however, it need not be traumatic. Advance planning and preparation not only make the inspection proceed without difficulty, but also allow you to be in control.

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By now you know that employers can’t fire or otherwise punish employees because they’re pregnant. But what about employees who choose to have an abortion? Make sure your supervisors know it’s illegal to discriminate against them, too.

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Employees and their lawyers are always trying to find new ways to expand the claims they can make against employers. They try novel approaches to try to sweeten the recovery pot, as the following case shows.

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reports that bias complaints by Muslim workers increased by 18% in 2007, reaching a record 452 cases.

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After making strides in the ’80s and early ’90s, working women in Pennsylvania are losing ground in their earnings compared to men, a recent study by Keystone Research Center (KRC) found. The current wage gap is about $4 per hour, with women earning an average $13.25 per hour, compared to $16.97 per hour for men.

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Maybe Craig Whirlow, a temp agency employee from Connellsville, is a con man. Maybe he’s just a world-class slacker. Or maybe he’s a fan of comedian and director Woody Allen, who once famously observed, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

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Employees sometimes don’t want to give their employers personal details about an illness or a condition that may be covered by the FMLA. But if you find out they lied about the nature of their health problems, you can fire them for violating your honesty policy.

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