The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Two companies headquartered in Pennsylvania have made Fortune magazine’s 2009 “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. They are Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, headquartered in Allentown, and retailer Men’s Wearhouse, based in Pittston.

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Many disabled applicants choose not to reveal their disabilities during the selection process and don’t reveal the need for reasonable accommodations until after they have been offered a job. Don’t ignore that request, or you could wind up in court for violating the ADA.

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Some employees are more sensitive to criticism than others and may also be more likely to file hostile work environment lawsuits. Managers with difficult subordinates would do well to track the behavior. It can be used in court to show that those subordinates have a skewed perception of the workplace.

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When employees ask to be excused from working on the Sabbath, forget about questioning whether their religion actually requires the accommodation. What matters is that the employee sincerely holds the belief—not the source of the employee’s belief.

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A woman who was fired for allegedly secretly recording a conversation she had with a supervisor about harassment can still sue for sexual harassment, a federal court has ruled. It did not matter that secretly recording conversations may be a crime in Pennsylvania.

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The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has ordered Plum Entertainment, a New Hope theater production company, to pay $162,000 to Sharon Sheridan, a former personal assistant who claimed she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment.

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The borough of Ellwood City has agreed to pay $160,000 to former police chief Richard McDonald to settle charges of racial discrimination. Almost immediately after being hired in June 2007, McDonald clashed with Mayor Donald Clyde …

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Employers are responsible for the way their employees behave. Threatening behavior toward fellow employees or customers that causes emotional or physical harm can lead to a negligent-supervision lawsuit.

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Q. If we suspend an employee “pending investigation,” what information must we provide to the employee?

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The financial meltdown has spelled job creation for one office: The Pennsylvania unemployment hotline recently hired 132 additional staffers.

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